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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Interpretation Response #11-0282R ([Ms. Kathy S. Gentry])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name:

Individual Name: Ms. Kathy S. Gentry

Location State: IL Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

January 2, 2013

Ms. Kathy S. Gentry                                                         
P.O. Box 244
Sadorus, IL   61872

Ref. No. 11-0282R

Dear Ms. Gentry:

This responds to your October 24, 2011 letter requesting clarification on the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180), and provides additional clarification on your question 3 and our response to that question.  Specifically, in your initial letter, you asked for clarification on the package testing scenarios as follows:          

Q1.   An open head steel drum is purchased with the marking UN1A2/X30/S/.  It is your understanding that when a material is placed directly into the drum, the package is considered a "single package."  No additional package testing is needed if the material is compatible with the drum and the gross weight is equal to or less than 30 kg.  However, if any other type of packaging is used (bottles, vials, cans, etc.) for the material and then this packaging is placed into the drum, then the package is now a "combination package."  Combination packages must be tested to ensure the inner packaging and outer packaging together are of sufficient means to safely contain their contents and must be retested every 24 months.  You seek confirmation that your understanding is correct?

A1.  In accordance with § 178.602(a), each packaging and package is required to be closed in preparation for testing and tests to be carried out in the same manner as if prepared for transportation.  It requires testing in both the single and combination packaging configuration.  You must ensure that it has been tested for your material and in the configuration which you are using.  However, it should be noted that an authorized single packaging for a hazardous material may contain inner receptacles which are compatible with the lading and do not affect the performance of the specification packaging.  This packaging may remain marked as a single packaging and need not be retested.  The completed package must meet the general packaging requirements of Part 173, Subpart B.  (See §§ 173.21(e) and 173.24).

Q2.  A UN4GV box is purchased.  None of the components used in the original testing are purchased for use.  The shipper wants to use its inner containers and components.  It is your understanding that the 4GV must be used with the components that it was tested with.   Although in some instances the shipper may use their own inner container, the other components (tape, vermiculite, dividers, etc.) have to be used.  You seek confirmation that your understanding is correct?

A2.  Your understanding is correct.  However, a  UN4GV is a variation packaging.  Section 178.601(g)(2) provides for selective testing of combination packaging that differ only in minor respects from a tested type.  The UN4GV combination packaging must adhere to the provisions in § 178.601(g)(2).

Q3.  When a UN certified package is used, the testing limits are set not by the total quantity of material, but by the number of units.  It is your understanding that if the 4GV from Q #2 has been tested for one 16 oz bottle, then only 1 unit of up to 16 oz can be shipped in the package. You cannot ship 20 units of lesser amounts to add up to 16 oz or less OR any other combination that adds up to 16 oz.  You seek confirmation that your understanding is correct?    

A3.  Your understanding is correct.  Section 178.601(g)(2)(ii) does not authorize this as the combined gross mass of the inner packaging would need to be reduced to not exceed one half of the inner packaging used for the drop test. 

Q4.  If someone is filling a container that is to be used as an inner packaging, but they are not given a choice as to which container to use (inner packaging has already been decided and is not changed without consent), do they have to be trained on packaging? 

A4.  Yes.  Filling a hazardous materials packaging is a function that directly affects hazardous materials transportation safety, which is included in the definition of a hazmat employee in § 171.8.  All hazmat employees require training in accordance with part 172, subpart H.

I hope this answers your inquiry.  If you need additional assistance, please contact this office at (202) 366-8553.


Ben Supko
Senior Regulations Officer
Standards and Rulemaking Division

178.602, 178.601

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
178.601 General requirements
178.602 Preparation of packagings and packages for testing