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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 #12-0116 ([The Valspar Corporation] [Mr. Eric Barcaskey])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: The Valspar Corporation

Individual Name: Mr. Eric Barcaskey

Location State: MN Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

Mr. Eric Barcaskey
The Valspar Corporation
P.O. Box 1461
Minneapolis, MN 55440

Ref. No. 12-0116

Dear Mr. Barcaskey:

This responds to your May 18, 20 12 email requesting clarification of the overpack requirements of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180). In your email, you describe a shipping configuration of four 55-gallon drums placed on a pallet and banded together by a single 3/4 inch wide band in the upper third of the drums but" not secured to the pallet. The drums are banded for purposes of warehouse and dock safety and en route securement. The preferred manner of orientation of the drums on the pallet causes the UN specification markings on the sides of the drums to face inward. You indicate, however, that these markings are clearly visible looking downward in between the drums without having to handle the drums. Based on this description of the shipping configuration, your questions are paraphrased and answered as follows:

Q1. Is the shipping configuration of four drums on a pallet and banded together (but not to the pallet) considered an overpack?

A1. The answer is yes. An overpack is defined in § 171.8 as an enclosure that is used by a single consignor to provide protection or convenience in handling sofa package or to consolidate two or more packages. It is our opinion that the shipping configuration you describe constitutes an overpack.

Q2. What if the 3/4 inch wide band is removed from the drums?

A2. Specific to the shipping configuration you describe, if the banding is removed, it is our opinion that the shipping configuration is no longer considered an overpack as defined by § 171.8 because the banding served as the means to consolidate and secure the drums placed on the pallet. In light of the questions you presented we plan to review the definition of overpack for opportunities to further clarify the intended meaning of an overpack.

Q3. What if either or both of the shipping configurations are an overpack, where is the required "OVERPACK" marking best located?

A3. Section 173.25(a)(4) requires the overpack to be marked with the word "OVERPACK" when specification packagings are required, unless specification markings on the packages are visible. Based on your description, we consider the UN specification markings on the drums to be visible and thus, the "OVERPACK" marking is not required.

I hope this information is helpful. If you have further questions, please contact this office.


Standards Development Branch 
Standards and Rulemaking Division

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
171.8 Definitions and abbreviations
173.25 Authorized packagings and overpacks