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Interpretation Response #13-0230 ([Universal Well Services, Inc.] [Mr. Tom Cloud])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Universal Well Services, Inc.

Individual Name: Mr. Tom Cloud

Location State: PA Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

January 27, 2014

Mr. Tom Cloud
Universal Well Services, Inc.
18360 Technology Drive
Box 4
Meadville, PA  16335

Ref. No. 13-0230

Dear Mr. Cloud:

This responds to your November 19, 2013, request for clarification of the placarding requirements under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180).  Specifically, you ask if placing a sign to designate a non-hazardous material being transported in a placard holder is authorized under the HMR.

In your incoming letter, you state that you intend to use a placard holder to indicate a non-hazardous material, a type of sand, being transported on sand haulers.  The placard holder will be positioned in a square rather than a square-on-point orientation.  You will insert clear plexiglass with the grade of sand printed on the plaxiglass into the placard holder (See enclosed photographs).  The purpose of the sign is, during the unloading process, to alert the driver of a vehicle behind the sand hauler of the specific type sand to be unloaded.  You ask if this is authorized under the HMR.

Section 172.502(a)(2) provides that:  [N]o person may affix or display on a packaging, freight container, unit load device, motor vehicle or rail car…any sign, advertisement, slogan (such as “Drive Safely”), or device that, by its color, design, shape, or content, could be confused with any placard prescribed in this subpart.

This prohibition is intended to limit the potential dilution of hazard communication provided by the appropriate hazardous materials placards.  The display described in your letter and shown in the enclosed photographs is not similar to hazardous materials placards, and would not be confused with prescribed placards in the HMR.  Therefore, the display described in your letter and shown in the enclosed photographs would not be prohibited under § 172.502(a)(2).

I hope this answers your inquiry.  If you need additional assistance, please contact this office at (209)366-8553.


Robert Benedict
Chief, Standards Development Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
172.502 Prohibited and permissive placarding