Have you ever wondered what the most common mistakes are that shippers and carriers make when transporting Hazardous Materials? According to the United States Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the most common violations are failing to properly communicate what hazardous material is within the package. Here is the list in order of frequency:

  • Failing to enter the proper description of the hazardous material (HM) [172.202(a)]
  • Failing to make or sign a “shippers certification” on the shipping paper [172.204(a)]
  • Failing to properly label the hazardous material container or package [172.400(a)]
  • Offering a HM in an unauthorized package [173.22(a)(2)]
  • Failing to mark the overpack with the shipping name, etc. when required [173.24(a)(2)]
  • Failing to properly identify hazardous materials on a shipping paper that also contains non hazardous material entries [172.201(a)(1)]
  • Failing to enter the basic description of the HM in the proper sequence [172.202(b)]
  • Failing to mark a non bulk package of HM with the shipping name and/or Identification number [172.302(a)]
  • Failing to list the emergency response number for an individual who assumes responsibility for said function [172.604(b)]
  • Failing to properly mark the HM as required [172.304(a)]
  • Labels not clearly visible or the labels are obscured [172.406(f)]
  • Failing to enter the technical name in association with the proper shipping description [172.203(k)]
  • Failing to mark the package with orientation arrows as required [172.312(a)(2)]

So how can you avoid these common problems? Get training to insure that you understand how to use the Code of Federal Regulations for Hazardous Materials and what is required of you as a shipper or carrier. One way is to attend the Hazardous Material training offered by the North American Transportation Management Institute (NATMI). They have just completed a “how to” comply book for Hazardous Materials transportation called “Hazardous Materials Awareness”. Proper training is the best way to understand your responsibilities and the best way to keep your name off the list of those who received a “Top 20 Citation”. For information on the HAZMAT Awareness Training Guide (ISBN# 1-4018-1245-7, $14.95) or the HAZMAT Awareness Video (ISBN# 1-4018-7182-8, $75.00) please call 1-800-477-3692, visit, or send an Email to