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A Brief Look at U.N. and DOT Hazmat Packaging Classes & Codes

March 31st, 2016 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat

Skolnik drums are built thicker, stronger and heavier to exceed industry standards and ensure an unrivaled level of quality and U.N. packaging compliance. Laws and regulations governing the use, handling, shipping and storage of hazardous materials differ depending on the intended transport or activity of the material and the material itself. It can be a lot to keep track of, but at Skolnik, we keep a steady hand on the pulse of DOT and UN Packaging regulations so our customers can rest assured that their containers are compliant and their materials, facilities and staff are safe.

DOT and UN regulations are particularly stringent when it comes to hazardous materials. The term hazardous material, or hazmat, is used almost exclusively in the United States. Internationally, these materials are known as “dangerous goods.” Dangerous goods are any solid, liquid or gas that can harm people, other living organisms, property or the environment.

There are numerous organizations tasked with governing the use, storage and, especially, the transportation of dangerous goods. Some of the most widely applied and adhered to regulations come from The Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods of the UN Economic and Social Council and the appropriate regional or international transportation agency (e.g. the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Maritime Organization and/or our very own U.S. Department of Transportation).

The U.S. DOT follows the UN regulation model, dividing dangerous goods into nine classes, sub divisions and requiring such materials to be properly labeled and transported in specific packaging. The major UN hazard classes are as follows:

  • Explosives

  • Gases

  • Flammable Liquids

  • Flammable Solids

  • Oxidizers and Organic Peroxides

  • Toxic Materials and Infectious Substances

  • Radioactive Materials

  • Corrosives

  • Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods

Trailers and transport containers are usually marked with a four digit UN code number indicating the nature of their contents to any first responders in case of emergency. Not all countries use precisely the same label and coding protocol in their national regulations, so it is important to refer to the Dangerous Goods Transportation Regulations of the country of interest to ensure your materials are properly labeled and packaged. At Skolnik, UN packaging and compliance is always a top priority. You can be confident that if it is a Skolnik barrel, it will meet all necessary DOT and UN regulations and then some.