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Interpretation Response #16-0020 ([Nebraska State Patrol] [Sgt. Brad Wagner])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Nebraska State Patrol

Individual Name: Sgt. Brad Wagner

Location State: NE Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

December 15, 2016

Sgt. Brad Wagner
Hazardous Materials Coordinator
Nebraska State Patrol
3920 West Kearney
Lincoln, NE  68524

Reference No. 16-0020

Dear Sergeant Wagner:

This letter is in response to your February 2, 2016, email requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to hazard communication.  Specifically, you ask about the consistent display of identification (ID) numbers on shipping papers, bulk package markings, and placards.  In your letter, you provide two scenarios and ask whether they conform to the requirements of the HMR.  

Scenario 1:  The § 172.101 Hazardous Materials Table (HMT) lists two entries for diesel fuel.  One entry has an “I” in column 1 and the ID number UN1202 in column 4 indicating its use for international and domestic U.S. transportation.  The other entry has a “D” in column 1 and the ID number NA1993 in column 4 indicating its use for domestic U.S. transportation only.  We have paraphrased and answered your questions as follows:

Q1. May a person mix and match ID numbers in transportation?  For example, the shipping paper indicates ID number UN1202, but the cargo tank motor vehicle (CTMV) indicates ID number NA1993.  Is this practice permissible under the HMR, or must the ID numbers be consistent?

A1. As prescribed in § 172.302(a), no person may offer for transportation or transport a hazardous material in a bulk packaging unless the packaging is marked as required by § 172.332 with the ID number specified for the material in the
§ 172.101 HMT.  Nevertheless, although the practice is not explicitly prohibited by the HMR, ID numbers on shipping papers and package markings should be consistent.  This consistency is especially critical for emergency responders involved in an incident.

Q2. If ID numbers are required by the HMR to be consistent and are not, is such practice considered a misrepresentation of the hazardous material being transported even though both ID numbers refer to diesel fuel?

A2. The answer is no.  See A1.

Q3. If a compartmented CTMV contains diesel fuel in two different tanks and the shipments are described on a shipping paper with both ID numbers UN1202 and NA1993, are both ID numbers required to be marked on the CTMV?

A3. The answer is no.  Because diesel fuel is considered a petroleum distillate, the exceptions provided in § 172.336(c) require that only one of the two ID numbers be displayed on the CTMV.  Otherwise, because both shipments are indicated separately on the shipping paper, both ID numbers would normally be required to be marked on the CTMV.
Scenario 2:  Section 172.338 addresses the replacement of ID numbers on placards, orange panels, and white square-on-point configurations and permits them to be handwritten under certain circumstances.  Along with your letter, you attached several photographs of handwritten ID numbers displayed on white square-on-point configurations that were not replacements.  We have paraphrased and answered your questions as follows:

Q4. When displaying an ID number on a white square-on-point configuration in an instance that the marking is not a replacement, must it be commercially printed, or is it permissible to hand-write the ID number with an indelible marker?

A4. If the white square-on-point configuration meets all the requirements for ID number markings prescribed in § 172.336(b), the HMR allow it to be handwritten.  This includes the font size prescribed in paragraph (c)(1).

Q5. Does the ID number displayed on a white square-on-point configuration need to be in proximity to its corresponding placard?

A5. The answer is yes.  Section 172.336(b) requires that ID numbers be displayed on orange panels or the plain white square-on-point display configuration in association with the required placards.  Although “in association with” is not defined in the HMR, it is understood to mean as close as practicable.

Q6. If the answer to Q5 is yes, are the ID numbers depicted in the attached photographs considered to be in proximity to their corresponding placards?

A6. You included three photographs with your letter.  It is the opinion of this Office that only the second photograph meets the proximity requirements of the HMR.  In photographs one and three, the ID numbers are located excessively distant from their corresponding placards.

Q7. Under the HMR, what distance is considered to be in proximity to the placard?

A7. The HMR do not prescribe specific distances between the hazard communication required of bulk packagings.  Generally speaking, next to each other would be considered in association with or in proximity to the placard.

Q8. What are the size requirements for ID numbers displayed on a white square-on-point configuration?

A8. Section 172.336(b)(1) requires that the 100 mm (3.9 inch) by 215 mm (8.5 inches) area containing the ID number must be located as prescribed by                  § 172.332 (c)(1) and (c)(2) and may be outlined with a solid or dotted line border.  In accordance with § 172.332(c)(1), the ID number must be displayed across the center area of the placard in 88 mm (3.5 inches) black Alpine Gothic or Alternate Gothic No. 3 numerals on a white background.  For your information, we realize that there may be some ambiguity in the regulatory language prescribed in this paragraph and intend to clarify its intent in a future rulemaking.

I hope this information is helpful.  Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.


T. Glenn Foster
Chief, Regulatory Review and Reinvention Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division

172.101, 172.302(a), 172.332, 172.336(c), 172.336(b), 172.336(b)(1), 172.332 (c)(1) and (c)(2)

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
172.101 Purpose and use of hazardous materials table
172.302 General marking requirements for bulk packagings.
172.332 Identification number markings
172.332 Identification number markings
172.336 Identification numbers; special provisions