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Interpretation Response #12-0250 ([Southeast Testing & Engineering] [Mr. Charles Radev])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Southeast Testing & Engineering

Individual Name: Mr. Charles Radev

Location State: GA Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

February 8, 2013



Mr. Charles Radev
Southeast Testing & Engineering
1325 Capital Circle, Suite D
Lawrenceville, GA 30043

Ref. No. 12-0250

Dear Mr. Radev:

This responds to your November 5, 2012 email requesting clarification of the testing requirements for a combination packaging containing fireworks (UN0336) authorized by special permit DOT-SP 15615 and transported in accordance with conditions of this special permit and the requirements of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180).  In your email, in addition to single firework items placed in the authorized 4G box, you describe the following consolidations of fireworks that will be shipped in the 4G box:  1) a product tray (from 1-5 kgs) containing 12-24 small fireworks; 2) a display tray (up to 20 kgs) containing up to 24 large fireworks; 3) a folding carton (from 10 g to 1 kg) containing multiples of one type of small firework; and 4) a clear plastic bag 1 mil thick (from 10 g to 1 kg) containing up to 12 small fireworks.  The variation in these consolidations and in the potential number of combinations of fireworks of different shapes and sizes (e.g., cones, cubes, cylinders, etc.) may call for multiple tests to be conducted on completed packages.  As permitted in § 178.602(c) for preparation of packages for testing, you intend to substitute the fireworks with bags (packed with sawdust) of two different sizes to replicate both large and small fireworks.  Your questions are paraphrased and answered as follows:

Q1.  For purposes of packing fireworks in this combination packaging, what is considered the inner packaging?  Is it the actual firework article or is it the means of containment for the fireworks (e.g., a bag, carton or tray)?

A1.  The bag, carton or tray is considered the inner packaging.  According to the operational controls of DOT-SP 15615 (see 7(b)), the fireworks must be in inner packagings suitable for retail sale (e.g., plastic wrapped boxes or plastic bags).  Furthermore, under Packing Instruction 135, UN0336 fireworks must be packaged in inner packagings (i.e., bags, receptacles, or sheets) with no intermediate packaging necessary and placed in an outer packaging (e.g., a UN4G fiberboard box).  The completed package must be tested as a combination packaging (see the § 173.62(b) Explosives Table and the § 173.62(c) Table of Packing Methods).  Thus the bag, carton, or tray you describe is considered the inner packaging under your packaging scenarios.  Note that single firework items must also be contained in some manner of inner packaging. 

Q2.  Does § 178.601(g)(6) provide authorization to use the sawdust-filled bags enclosed in the largest size bag, carton, or tray?

A2.  No.  Section 178.601(g)(6) is not applicable to your packaging scenarios.  It authorizes the application of selective testing Variations 1, 2, and 4 to packagings containing articles where the provisions for inner packagings are applied analogously to the articles.  Although your packaging will contain fireworks, which are defined as articles under section § 173.59 (see fireworks), the firework itself is not the inner packaging.  As directed in our response in A1, the bag, carton or tray you described is considered the inner packaging.

For purposes of your testing, § 178.602(c) authorizes the (hazardous) material (i.e., the fireworks) to be replaced for test purposes with a non-hazardous material (i.e., the sawdust-filled bags).  You may then combine this with the selective relief from testing of combination packagings offered under § 178.601(g).  For example, under Variation 1 (§ 178.601(g)(1)), variations are permitted in inner packagings of a tested combination package, without further testing of the package, provided an equivalent level of performance is maintained.  One such variation is that inner packagings of equivalent or smaller size may be used without further testing of the package provided conditions of § 178.601(g)(1)(A) through (F) are met. 

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


Robert Benedict
Chief, Standards Development Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division

178.601. 178.602

Regulation Sections

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