Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Placards and Labels


  • The U.S. Government through the Department of Transportation requires placards and labels on vehicles and containers used to store and transport chemicals.
  • A placard is required if there is a net weight of 1000 pounds or greater.
  •  However there are certain chemicals that are required to be placard regardless of much is being transported.

Placards are 10 ¾” × 10 ¾” in size, diamond shape.
Placards should be placed on all four sides of vehicles transporting hazardous materials according to regulations.

Labels are 4” × 4” in size, diamond shape, and are used on individual containers of hazardous materials with a net weight less than 1,000 pounds.

Highway tank trucks and railroad tank cars must remain placarded, once the hazardous material has been off loaded, with the same placard as when loaded, until he hazard is no longer present in the container, (vapors and residue).

Placard & Label Recognition Information
 The colored background
The symbol on top
The United Nations class number at the bottom
The hazard class in words or the four digit identification number in the center

Colored Background
 Orange indicates explosives
Red indicates flammable/combustible
Green indicates nonflammable compressed gases
Yellow indicates oxidizing material
White indicates poisonous materials
White with vertical red stripes indicates flammable solids
White over black indicates corrosive material
White with black vertical stripes indicates miscellaneous

Bursting ball indicates explosives
Flame indicates flammable material
Slashed W indicates water reactive material
Skull & crossbones indicates poisonous materials
Burning ball indicates oxidizers
Cylinder indicates non-flammable gas
Propeller indicates radioactive material
Test tube/hand/steel bar indicates corrosive material

U.N. Number:
United Nations four digit identification number or worded hazard classification. The center of the placard contains a word or a four digit number to identify the commodity.
 Bulk shipments, as a minimum, must contain the four digit placard on two sides with the worded placard on the two ends.
 Non-bulk shipments must contain the worded placard, as a minimum, on all four sides.

* The new limited quantity marking designates hazardous material packages prepared for air transport (Y) and packages not prepared for air transport (all other modes). The ORM-D classification and the use of packagings marked “Consumer commodity, ORM-D” is authorized until December 31, 2020, for domestic highway, rail, and vessel transportation. Transitional exception—Square-on-point with Identification Number: except for transportation by aircraft and until December 31, 2014, a package containing a limited quantity may be marked with identification number, preceded by the letters “UN” or “NA”.

DOT Nine Hazard Classes:

1. Explosives
2. Compressed Gases
3. Flammable & Combustible Liquids
4. Flammable Solids
5. Oxidizers
6. Poisons
7. Radioactive
8. Corrosives
9. Miscellaneous

Class 1 ( Explosives)
Major hazard: Explosion
Definition- Explosive means any substance or article, including a device, which is designed to function by explosion (i.e. an extremely rapid release of gas and heat) or that, by chemical reaction within itself, is able to function by explosion.
Class 1 has six divisions
 Class 1.1 Mass explosion that affects almost the entire load
Black powder
Blasting caps

Class 1.2 Projection hazard but not a mass explosion hazard
Aerial flares
Detonation cord
Power device cartridges
Class 1.3 Fire hazard and either a minor blast or a minor projection hazard
Liquid-fueled rocket motors
Propellant explosives
Class 1.4 Presents a minor explosion hazard
Practice ammunition
Signal cartridges

Class 1.5 Very insensitive explosives with a mass explosion hazard
Prilled ammonium nitrate fertilizer
Blasting agents
 Class 1.6 Extremely insensitive explosives
Does not have a mass explosion hazard.

Class 2 (Compressed Gases)
Major Hazard: Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion (BLEVE)
Sub Hazards:

Divided into 3 divisions
Class 2.1 A material that is a gas at 68 degrees F or less at 14.7 psi or has a boiling point of 68 degrees or less at 14.7 psi.
Ignitable at 14.7 psi in a mixture of 13% or less by volume
Has a flammable range of at least 12% regardless of the lower limit.                                       
Class 2.2 Any material or mixture that exerts an absolute pressure of 41 psi at 68 degrees F.
Compressed gases, including liquefied gas,  pressurized cryogenic gas, and compressed gas in solution.                

Class 2.3 Vaporize easily and very dangerous to life, even in small amounts.

Known to be so toxic to humans as to pose a hazard to health during transportation.

Presumed to be toxic because of laboratory testing.

Class 3 (Flammable Liquids)
Major Hazard: Burns readily
Flammable and Combustible liquids
All material that is classed as flammable/combustible the material is also toxic.

Any liquid having a flash point of not more than 141 degrees F.
Three divisions:
3.1 - FP < 0 degrees F
3.2 - FP 0 to < 73 degrees F
3.3 - FP 73 to < 141 degrees F
Combustible Liquid
Any liquid that does not meet the definition of any other hazard class and has a flash point above 141 degrees F and below 200 degrees F. 
NOTE:  A flammable liquid with a flash point at or above 100 degrees that does not meet the definition of any other hazard class except 9, may be reclassed as combustible.

Class 4 (Flammable Solids)
 Major Hazard: Rapid combustion with a liberation of mass quantities of smoke (toxic).

Divided into 3 divisions:
 Class 4.1  Three types
Wetted explosives
Self reactive materials
Readily combustible solids
Class 4.2 Self heating materials- a material that, when in contact with air and without an energy supply, is liable to self-heat.
Class 4.3 Material that, by contact with water is liable to become spontaneously flammable or to give off flammable or toxic gas at a rate of greater than 1 l/kg.

Class 5 (Oxidizers)
2 Divisions:
Major Hazard 5.1: Supports combustion, intensifies fire.
Major Hazard 5.2: Unstable/reactive explosives

The new Organic Peroxide placard became mandatory January 1st 2011 for transportation by rail, vessel, or aircraft and becomes mandatory January 1st 2014 for transportation by highway. The placard will enable responders to readily distinguish peroxides from oxidizers.

Class 6 (Poisons)
Major Hazard: Infectious
2 Divisions:
NOTE: Poisonous gases are class 2; division 3
Class 6.1 A material, other than a gas, that is either known to be so toxic to humans as to afford a hazard to health during transportation, or in the absence of adequate data on human toxicity, is presumed to be toxic to humans, including irritating materials that cause irritation.
Class 6.2 Infectious Substances   A viable microorganism, or its toxin, that causes disease in humans or animals. Infectious substance and etiologic agent are the same.
Class 7 (Radioactive Materials)
Major Hazard: radioactive poisonous burns
Def: Materials having a specific activity greater than 0.002 microcurie per gram.
Fissile Class I - White I - has a radiation level of < 0.5 millirem per hour (mrem/h)
Fissile Class II - Yellow II - 0.5 mrem/h < radiation level < 50  mrem/h
Fissile Class III - Yellow III - radiation level is >  50 mrem/h
Class 8 (Corrosives)
Major Hazard: Burns/emulsification skin damage.
Definition - A Liquid or solid that causes visible or irreversible alterations in human skin tissue at the site of contact, or a liquid that has a severe corrosion rate on steel or aluminum. 
Class 9 (Miscellaneous Hazardous Materials)
A material that presents a hazard during transport, but that is not included in another hazard class
Other Regulated Materials  (ORM-D)
A material that presents a limited hazard during transportation due to its form, quantity, and packaging

Material That Require Placarding at Any Amount:

Hazard Class or Division                                   Placard Type:
1.1                                                                       Explosives 1.1
1.2                                                                       Explosives 1.2
1.3                                                                       Explosives 1.3
2.3                                                                       Poison Gas
4.3                                                                       Dangerous when wet
6.1 (assigned to packing group 1, inhalation hazard only)    Poison
7    ( radioactive label III only)                                              Radioactive

Note: All other materials do not require a placard unless there is more than 1,001 pounds.


The key to survival on a hazardous material incident is good information gathering.
All the information that you gather through recognizing and identifying the clues that are on just about  every hazardous material incident, does you no good if you don’t manage the information, and pay attention to it.
Never rush up to the scene, take your time and Recognize and Identify all the clues that are present. Use the clues that you have gathered to keep your self safe.


 All three stations on all three shifts will need to go out in your district to locate and take at least three photos of placards or labels. At least two must be in a transportation and at least one at a fixed facility. Once you have taken photos please share them with the whole department via email and include which fixed facility location your photos were taken at.

For each Placard or Label you locate, also determine the appropriate PPE level and which suit material we should wear for that hazard.

Once these skills have been completed the officer can sign off  on the following skill objective in your hazmat task book.
Grading Criteria


Instructor Signature & Date
Given three examples of various hazardous materials, determine the protective clothing construction materials for a given action option using chemical compatibility charts.

Instructor Remarks:                                                                                                                                                                  

Chemical Compatibility Charts:

Kapper Link:

If you have any questions feel free to contact me.

John Shafer
Division Chief Of Training & Safety