Any person who offers for transportation or transports any hazardous material shall comply with 172 of Subpart F of the 49 CFR code. Part 172 is perhaps the most important of the Hazardous Material Regulations due to the fact it contains the Hazardous Materials Table, List of Hazardous Substance, List of Marine Pollutants as well as subparts on marking, shipping papers, labeling, emergency response, training, security and placards.

Before anyone can transport any type of Hazardous Material, they must first determine if the product that they are going to transport requires placards. Placards play a critical role in the identification process of the hazard class.

There are nine different classes of Hazardous Materials.

Class 1- Explosives

Class 2- Gas, non-flammable, oxygen, flammable gas and poison gas

Class 3- Flammable, combustible

Class 4- Flammable solid, spontaneously combustible and dangerous when wet

Class 5- Oxidizer, organic peroxide

Class 6- Poison and inhalation hazard

Class 7- Radioactive

Class 8- Corrosive

Class 9- not required for domestic transportation

Once the product has been identified on the shipping papers as a hazardous material, when is it required to place placards on your tractor trailer for identification and how many placards do I need. Each freight container containing any quantity of a hazardous material must be placarded on each side and each end with the specific type of placards specified in tables 1 and 2.

Table 1 requires all vehicles transporting any quantity of table 1 “MUST” have placards.

Table 2 requires all vehicles transporting a hazardous material over 1,001 pounds “MUST” have placards.


HAZMAT Placards

Table 1
Category of material (Hazard class or division number and additional description, as appropriate) Placard name Placard design section reference (§)
1RADIOACTIVE placard also required for exclusive use shipments of low specific activity material and surface contaminated objects transported in accordance with §173.427(b)(4) and (5) or (c) of this subchapter.
1.1 EXPLOSIVES 1.1 172.522
1.2 EXPLOSIVES 1.2 172.522
1.3 EXPLOSIVES 1.3 172.522
2.3 POISON GAS 172.540
4.3 DANGEROUS WHEN WET 172.548
5.2 (Organic peroxide, Type B, liquid or solid, temperature controlled). ORGANIC PEROXIDE 172.552
6.1 (material poisonous by inhalation (see §171.8 of this subchapter)) POISON INHALATION HAZARD 172.555
7 (Radioactive Yellow III label only) RADIOACTIVE1 172.556

Table 2

Category of material (Hazard class or division number and additional description, as appropriate)

Placard name

Placard design section reference (§)

1.4

EXPLOSIVES 1.4

172.523

1.5

EXPLOSIVES 1.5

172.524

1.6

EXPLOSIVES 1.6

172.525

2.1

FLAMMABLE GAS

172.532

2.2

NON-FLAMMABLE GAS

172.528

3

FLAMMABLE

172.542

Combustible liquid

COMBUSTIBLE

172.544

4.1

FLAMMABLE SOLID

172.546

4.2

SPONTANEOUSLY COMBUSTIBLE

172.547

5.1

OXIDIZER

172.550

5.2 (Other than organic peroxide, Type B, liquid or solid, temperature controlled)

ORGANIC PEROXIDE

172.552

6.1 (other than material poisonous by inhalation)

POISON

172.554

6.2

(None)

8

CORROSIVE

172.558

9

CLASS 9 (see §172.504(f)(9))

172.560

ORM-D

(None)

The above table was from the CFR code 49


Commonly Asked Questions Regarding Hazmat Placards:


Question: If the carrier transports a Hazardous Material by Highway and the product is from the Class 5.2 and it weighs 1 pound, are placards required on this transport vehicle?

The answer is YES. The reason for placards on this unit is because the product which is being transported is from table 1. Remember any amount from table 1 needs to have placards.

Question: If the carrier transports a Class 4.1 product and the amount of hazardous material weighs 40 pounds, are placards required.

The answer is NO. The 4.1 class is from table 2. Remember the product has to weigh more than 1,001 pounds. In this case the product weighed 40 pounds.

The Dangerous placard can also be used when transporting a non-bulk package with two or more classes of a hazardous material which are required different placards, may use the Dangerous placard. You may use this if only the products are from” table 2”. You cannot use the Dangerous placard for products from table 1. There is also a limit of 2,205 pounds aggregate gross weight allowing the use of the Dangerous placard.

Question: Can the carrier use the Dangerous Placard for 3 different classes, one from a table 1 product and two from table2 and the weight is 2,000 pounds.

The answer is NO. The only way the carrier may use the Dangerous Placard is by having the products from table 2. Since the total amount was under the limit of 2,205 pounds, one of the products was from table 1, which disqualifies the use of the Dangerous Placard.