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Interpretation Response #00-0342 ([Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation] [Mr. Richard M. Thomas])

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation

Individual Name: Mr. Richard M. Thomas

Location State: IL Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

AUG 17, 2001


Mr. Richard M. Thomas                Ref. No. 00-0342
Packaging Performance Specialist
Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation
910 Pasquinelli Drive
Westmont, Illinois 60559

Dear Mr. Thomas:

This responds to your December 6, 2000 letter requesting clarification of specification packaging requirements under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180). Specifically, you ask a number of questions on packaging manufacturing and testing requirements.

Your questions are paraphrased and answered as follows:

Q1. How detailed do you require fiberboard packaging specifications to be in the test report?


A1. The description of the packaging design type in the packaging test report required by § 178.601(1) must be sufficiently detailed to assure that the packaging represented as meeting UN standards can be identified by the test report.

Q2. Must a complete wet board analysis be conducted for all fiberboard components as part of the design qualification or periodic retesting? In other words, must the fiberboard be taken apart to determine the weight of each layer of fiberboard and corrugate?

A2. No, a complete wet board analysis is not required under the HMR. However, a wet board analysis could be used in the future to determine the exact type of fiberboard used in a particular packaging.

Q3. If a package testing laboratory submits a test report to its customer listing two completely different board combinations for the intended fiberboard components without indicating which board combination should actually be used in producing the certified package, which board combination should the manufacturer of the packaging use to produce the component?

A3. If the packaging was tested with both combinations, then either combination could be used for manufacture of the packaging.

Q4. How can a shipper of hazardous materials ensure that they are using a packaging correctly if the package testing laboratory does not provide enough detail in the test report required by
§ 178.601 (I)?

A4. A manufacturer must produce and a shipper must use a packaging identical to the one tested.
If the test report inadequately described the packaging, there is potential for non-compliance on the part of the manufacturer or shipper. If you become aware of an instance of non¬compliance with the HMR, you should notify the Office of Hazardous Materials Enforcement (OHME) in writing at DHM-40, 400 7th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20590 or by telephone at (202) 366-4700.

Q5. If party "A" self-certifies a specification packaging, which is then manufactured by party "B," who is responsible for the certification? Would party "B" be held responsible for packaging violations providing the packaging is certified by party "A"?

A5. Generally, if party "A" certifies a packaging, they are responsible for assuring the packaging meets required specifications. Party "B" is responsible for following the specifications for the packaging provided by the certifying party or party "A.II However, while the person certifying a packaging is generally responsible, others may have some responsibility based on the functions they perform and any contractual responsibilities they may have.

Q6. If there are multiple test reports reflecting different UN specifications for an outer packaging with different size inner receptacles, can the heaviest gross weight be used for the specification marking and then any of the different inner receptacles be used with the outer packaging?

A6. The heaviest gross weight specification marking may be used in the case where the largest inner receptacles comprise the packaging with the heaviest gross mass. In this case, one specification marking may identify the packaging. The packaging may then be used as provided by § 178.601 (g)(1) with smaller receptacles or fewer inner receptacles. For combination packagings an inner receptacle may not be larger than the inner receptacles that were tested with the same outer packaging and you may not place more inner receptacles in an outer packaging than what were tested with the same outer packaging.

Q7. If a combination packaging was previously design qualification tested with several inner packagings all the same size and weight making up the gross weight of the packaging, can the outer packaging upon retest contain an increased number of inner packagings?

A7. No. (See § 178.601(c)(4).)

Q8. If a combination packaging was previously design qualification tested with several inner packagings all the same size and weight making up the gross weight of the package, can the outer packaging upon retest contain a different size inner packaging (diameter and/or height)?

A8. Yes, if inner packagings conform to Variation 1 in § 178.601(g)(1). The inner packagings must be: (1) equivalent in size or smaller than the tested inner packagings; (2) similar in design to the tested inner packagings; (3) constructed of material that offers the same or greater resistance to stacking forces as the tested inner packaging; (4) constructed with the same or smaller-sized openings and with closures that are similar in design to the tested inner packagings. In addition, sufficient cushioning must be provided to fill void spaces and prevent significant movement of the inner packagings, and the inner packagings must be oriented in the same manner as the tested packagings. Further, the gross mass of the entire
package may not exceed that of the originally tested package. (See § 178.601 (g)(l).)

Q9. If a package was previously design qualification tested with several inner packagings all the same size and weight making up the gross weight of the package, can the outer packaging upon retest contain fewer inner packagings, but a heavier net weight of inner packagings?

A9. Yes, provided the gross mass of the packaging does not exceed the originally tested package (see A10).

Q 10. What is the responsibility of a testing lab or a manufacturer of a packaging if a customer does not properly class one of their materials and ships a hazmat as a non-hazmat?

A1. Under the HMR, a shipper is responsible for properly classing a hazardous material that is to be offered for transportation. A packaging manufacturer or its testing laboratory cannot be held responsible if its packaging is used by a shipper to transport a hazardous material that has not been properly classed and identified. However, if a shipper relies on a testing laboratory to class the hazardous material, then the testing laboratory could be cited for a violation of the HMR if the material is classed incorrectly.

I hope this satisfies your inquiry. If we can be of further assistance, please contact us.



Edward T. Mazzullo
Director, Office of Hazardous
Materials Standards

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
178.601 General requirements