Mexican Standards and Guidance
The Official Mexican Standards (Normas Oficiales Mexicanas or NOMs) augment the Mexican Regulation for the Land Transport of Hazardous Materials and Wastes (link on the right). The Mexican Secretariat for Communications and Transport (SCT) is responsible for publishing and maintaining the NOMs. In addition, other Mexican government agencies have published standards relevant to the transportation of hazardous materials within Mexico.
The below table contains a listing of Official Mexican Standards which have been published by the Mexican Secretariat for Communications and Transport for the land transportation of hazardous materials and wastes within Mexico. In some cases, English translations have been provided. The English translations are provided for information only and in some cases may not be up to date. The year has been indicated to assist in identifying which English versions are current. Official Mexican Standards in Spanish may be downloaded from http://www.economia-noms.gob.mx. For detailed instructions on downloading the official versions of the Mexican Standards click the link to the right.
English language translations may be out of date and are provided for informational purposes only.
|List of Hazardous Materials Most Commonly Carried in Transport. Note: The English translation does not include the list of hazardous materials; for the actual list consult the Spanish version.|
|Labeling Requirements for Hazardous Materials Packagings Used for the Land Transportation of Hazardous Materials and Wastes.|
|Placarding Requirements for Transport Units Engaged in the Land Transportation of Hazardous Materials and Wastes.|
|Emergency Response Information for the Land Transportation of Hazardous Materials and Wastes.|
|Requirements for the Daily Visual Inspection of Transport Units Involved in the Transportation of Hazardous Materials and Wastes.|
|Marking Requirements for Hazardous Material and Waste Packagings (UN Package Markings).|
|Compatibility for the Storage and Transportation of Class 1; Explosives.|
|Compatibility and Segregation Requirements for the Storage and Transportation of Hazardous Materials and Wastes.|
|Limited Quantity exceptions for the Transportation of Hazardous Materials and Wastes.|
|General Provisions for Cleaning Transport Vehicles Containing Hazardous Materials or Waste Residues.|
|Requirements for the Construction of Cargo Tank Vehicles Used for the Transportation of Hazardous Materials and Wastes.|
|General Requirements for Transporting Goods other than Hazardous Materials and Wastes within Vehicles Designated to the Transportation of Hazardous Materials and Wastes.|
|Technical Information that Must Be Indicated on a Plate Affixed to Cargo Tank Trucks, Metal IBCs and Packagings with a Capacity Greater than 500 Liters.|
|Requirements for the Construction, Reconditioning and Testing of Hazardous Materials and Waste Packagings.|
|Special Requirements for Class 1 (Explosives).|
|Requirements for Packaging and Transportation of Division 5.2 (Organic Peroxides).|
|Special Requirements for Class 3 (Flammable Liquids).|
|Requirements for the Construction Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs).|
|Requirements for the Construction of Portable Tanks Intended for Multimodal Transport of Refrigerated Liquefied Gases.|
|Requirements for the Construction and Portable Tanks Designated for Multimodal Transport of Classes 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9.|
|Requirements for the Transport Document Used for the Transportation of Hazardous Materials and Wastes.|
|Characteristics and Specifications for the Construction and Reconstruction of Multimodal Tank Containers Destined to Transport Pressurized Non-Refrigerated Liquefied Gases.|
|Requirements for Packages Containing Infectious Substances of Division 6.2.|
|Requirements for the Design and Construction of Cargo Tanks for the Transportation of Compressed Gases, Specification SCT 331.|
This document provides general guidance for transporting hazardous materials to Mexico. The Mexican Regulation for the Land Transport of Hazardous Materials and Wastes (click link to the right) was published on March 7, 1993. To date at least 22 Official Mexican Standards supporting the regulation (referred to as Normas or NOMs) have been published in final form. Additional standards are being developed by the Mexican Secretariat for Communications and Transport. In addition, other Mexican government agencies have authority to publish and are developing standards relevant to the transportation of hazardous materials within Mexico. The information contained in this document is intended to provide guidance to shippers and carriers engaged in or planning to transport hazardous materials to or within Mexico. The information is subject to change consistent with the development of new standards or amendments to existing Mexican hazardous materials standards.
The U.S. Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 100-180) and the Mexican Regulation for the Land Transportation of Hazardous Materials and Wastes are based on the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods. As a result, the HMR and the Mexican Regulation are closely aligned. However, there are differences between the regulations of which shippers and carriers should be aware. For example, the HMR incorporate requirements which are not covered in the Mexican Regulation or Official Mexican Standards. In the same regard, Mexico does not observe all of the exceptions provided to shippers and carriers in the HMR. These differences are being addressed by the NAFTA Land Transportation Standards Hazardous Materials Working Group (LTSS Group 5) and through amendments and restructuring of the UN Recommendations. At present, since differences still exist between U.S. and Mexican Regulations, shippers must be careful to ensure that their shipments are in full compliance with the applicable regulations of each country.
The following information is provided as guidance for preparing trans-border shipments of hazardous materials. The information is not intended as a means for compliance with U.S. or Mexican regulations but to highlight key information relative to trans-border transportation of hazardous materials.
Importing Hazardous Materials
The key to importing hazardous materials into the United States from Mexico is quite simple. All shipments of hazardous materials must comply with the U.S. Hazardous Materials Regulations without exception.
Exporting Hazardous Materials
Hazardous materials shipments exported to Mexico must fully comply with Mexican Regulations, which, as noted previously, are fairly consistent with U.S. Regulations. However, some differences do exist, and the following information is provided as guidance for exporting hazardous materials to Mexico.
Shipping Papers and Emergency Response Information
- Trans-border shipments between the U.S. and Mexico should be accompanied by shipping documents in English and Spanish. Although not a regulatory requirement, when shipping hazardous materials to Mexico the shipping papers should be provided in Spanish to facilitate hazard communication and for emergency response purposes in the event of a spill or incident. Shipping papers used for transport in the U.S. must be provided in English according to the HMR (see HMR, Subpart C - Shipping Papers; '172.201). To satisfy the emergency response information requirements in the U.S. or Mexico a shipper may attach a copy of the appropriate guide page from Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) to the shipping papers (any version of the ERG is acceptable). The information must be provided in Spanish when the material is shipped in Mexico and in English when shipped in the U.S. so that emergency responders in each country will be able to understand the appropriate initial response procedures in the event of a hazmat release. The ERG is available in English, French and Spanish (see http://phmsa.dot.gov/hazmat/library/erg).
- Currently many of the domestic shipping descriptions and exceptions identified in the HMR §172.101 Hazardous Materials Table (e.g. descriptions preceded by a "D") are not authorized for use in Mexico. North American (NA) identification numbers are not authorized for use in Mexico. Only proper shipping names and identification numbers indicated in NOM-002-SCT/2003 are authorized. NOM-002 is consistent with the 12th revised edition of the UN Recommendations, therefore shipping names based on more recent editions of the UN Recommendations may not be acceptable for transport within Mexico.
- Mexico has no requirement for declaring reportable quantities of hazardous substances.
Labels and Placards
- For trans-border shipments, labels and placards should comply with those specified in the UN Recommendations or the HMR. HMR; §172.401(c)(1) permits labeling in accordance with the ICAO TI, IMDG Code, Transport Canada TDG Regulations and UN Recommendations. Considering that Mexico has adopted the UN labels it is recommended that these be used for trans-border shipments. The international regulations authorize, but do not require, the insertion of text (other than the class or division number) in the space below the symbol as long as the text relates to the nature of the hazard or precautions to be taken in handling. If words appear on the placards or labels they may be provided in English or Spanish as long as the information is provided in the space below the symbol and is restricted to information regarding the risks posed by the material and relevant handling precautions.
- When shipping Packing Group III poisons a shipper should be aware that the Mexican regulations do not authorize the Stow Away from Foodstuffs label. In this case the Poison or Toxic label should be used.
- The Mexican standards do not authorize the use of the Dangerous Placard.
- Many of the domestic labeling exceptions provided in the HMR are not authorized in the Mexican labeling requirements.
- The bulk packaging labeling provisions in HMR §172.400 are not consistent in the Mexican labeling standard (NOM-003).
- The labeling exceptions for 1.4S explosives in HMR §172.230 are also not covered in the Mexican labeling standard (NOM-003).
- Mexico requires placards for shipments of Limited Quantities when the mass of limited quantities per vehicle exceeds 450 kg. Limited quantities include "consumer commodities" (ORM-D materials). The 450 kg is an aggregate weight and not a "per material" weight. For example, a shipment of limited quantities containing 300 kg of flammable limited quantities and 200 kg of corrosive limited quantities would require both a flammable and a corrosive placard. The US has commented to Mexico that this requirement is not in harmony with the UN Model Regulations or the U.S. HMR, and Mexico has agreed to further consider the issue.
- Package markings are consistent except that the proper shipping name should be provided in Spanish in addition to English when the hazmat is transported in Mexico. NOM-002-SCT2/1994 provides the official Mexican proper shipping names.
- The "HOT" mark used for elevated temperature materials in the U.S. is not authorized in Mexico. In Mexico the elevated temperature mark provided in the UN Recommendations must be used.
- The Mexican regulations do not require the marine pollutant mark for surface transportation.
- The Mexican standard regarding the classification of flammable liquids (NOM- 028-SCT2/1994) does not incorporate provisions for combustible liquids. Combustible liquid requirements end exceptions only apply in the U.S.
- Any hazardous material listed in NOM-002 must be considered as subject to the SCT regulations unless specifically excepted in writing by SCT.
- Quantity limits for inner packagings are substantially harmonized, however the Mexican NOM-011 should be consulted to ensure the quantity limits are met.
- Consumer commodities may also be transported to or within Mexico without documentation. The proper shipping name and UN number need not appear on the package. The ORM-D/Consumer Commodity marking, while not required, may appear on the package.
- NOM-011 requires placards for shipments of Limited Quantities when the mass of limited quantities per vehicle exceeds 450 kg (see discussion under "Labels and Placards" above).
Cargo Tank Truck Requirements
- Although Mexico intends to adopt the DOT Specification 400 series cargo tank truck requirements, currently only 300 series cargo tank requirements have been addressed in the Mexican Standards.
- Commercial drivers who transport hazardous materials (hazmat) within the United States must be trained and retrained every three years as a hazardous material employee. Each person, who transports or offers for transport hazardous materials, is a hazmat employer or employee. The HMR require hazmat employers to train, test, and maintain records of this training for all their hazmat employees. This includes any employee who has responsibility for preparing hazmat for transportation or for transporting the hazmat shipment.
- Mexico has similar training requirements for commercial drivers but not for all hazmat employers or employees. Commercial drivers are required to be licensed and tested by the SCT. For U.S. drivers operating within Mexico the CDL with a hazmat endorsement is considered sufficient to meet SCT's driver training and certification requirements.
- Under the Federal Hazardous Material Transportation Law (49 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.), certain offerors (shippers) and transporters of hazardous materials are required to register with the U.S. Department of Transportation and to pay an associated registration fee ($300 for those registrants meeting the U.S. Small Business Administration criteria for defining a small business and $2,000 for all other registrants). The program is administered by PHMSA. The registration fee is used to support planning and training of emergency response personnel. Motor carriers must have a copy of their certificate of registration or a document bearing the current year's registration number identified as the "U.S. DOT HAZMAT Reg. No." available in every truck or truck tractor used to transport hazmat. Foreign-based carriers must designate a permanent U.S. resident to serve as "agent for service of process" in accordance with 49 CFR 107.7. U.S. Federal, State, or local officials may impose penalties for failing to register or failing to meet the record keeping requirements. Mexico does not have a similar registration requirement.
Hazmat Spill, Release, or Incident
- If a hazmat release occurs in the United States, the spill must be reported to the U.S. Department of Transportation. This may be accomplished by telephone (800) 424-8802 for immediate notification. A written report is required within 30 days thereafter. In Mexico, incidents should be reported to SETIQ or CENACOM using the contact information appearing in the Emergency Response Guidebook.
- Get a list of publications from PHMSA's Office of Hazardous Materials Safety at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Contact the Hazardous Materials Information Center for hazardous materials questions. The toll free number is 1-800-467-4922
Documents Available Online
- Mexican NOMs Official Mexican standards are available online at http://www.economia-noms.gob.mx/. The standards may be downloaded and printed via this site. For instructions on how to download the standards click the link at the right.
- Translated versions of most NOMs related to hazardous materials transportation are available on the previous page.
Note: The translations provided are not official translations and have been provided as an aid only.
The "Catologo de Normas" website is hosted by the Mexican Secretariat for the Economy and provides standards for all Mexican regulatory agencies. The easiest way to download SCT¿s hazardous materials NOMs is as follows:
- Check the Box for "Dependencia"
- Click "Aceptar"
- For NOMs in final form click on the thin blue line for SCT under "Definitiva"
- For emergency NOMs click on the thin blue line for SCT under "Definitiva"
- For draft NOMs published for public review and comment click on the thin blue line for SCT under "Proyecto"
- In the table that appears, select the NOM you would like to download by clicking on the NOM's title in the column titled "Clave de Norma"
- In the table that appears, click on the link to the downloadable version of the NOM in the table cell titled "Nombre de archivo". This is the official document as published in the Mexican Diario Official (Federal Register).