USA Banner

Official US Government Icon

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure Site Icon

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

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

Interpretation Response #17-0004 ([Law Offices of Paul A. Lange, LLC] [Mr. Paul Grocki])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Law Offices of Paul A. Lange, LLC

Individual Name: Mr. Paul Grocki

Location State: CT Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

August 22, 2017

Paul M. Grocki
Law Offices of Paul A. Lange, LLC
80 Ferry Boulevard
Stratford, CT 06615

Reference No. 17-0004

Dear Mr. Grocki:

This letter is in response to your January 13, 2017, e-mail and letter requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to the signage requirement in § 175.26. Specifically, you ask if Office Depot, Inc. (Office Depot) is required to display notices informing persons who offer hazardous materials for transport by aircraft of the requirements for transporting these materials and the penalties for non-compliance. You note that Office Depot does not accept packages that contain hazardous materials, a policy that is made evident via in-store signs, advisory statements in the intake package processing system, questions from store staff, and contractual agreement with FedEx. You also state posting notices in conformance with § 175.26 may create an adverse effect on aviation and public safety.

The answer is yes. Section 175.26 requires those who receive cargo for transport by aircraft to display notices that inform all persons who offer cargo for transport by aircraft of the requirements for transporting hazardous materials by aircraft and the penalties for violating these requirements. The intent of these notices is to provide these persons with information that may help avert potential risks in aviation caused by undeclared hazardous materials.

You further question whether Office Depot meets the definition of a "person" as defined in 49 CFR 171.8. Office Depot undoubtedly qualifies as a "person" under the HMR when conducting its normal business activities pertaining to selling office products. The HMR do not allow for a company to be considered a person for some purposes, but not others. Even if this were not true, however, Office Depot would unintentionally become a person if it were to accept an undeclared shipment for air transportation not knowing that it contained hazardous materials.

You may wish to submit an application for a special permit or a petition for rulemaking to obtain the requested relief from the § 175.26 requirement. See 49 CFR 106.95–106.130 and 107.101–107.127, respectively. Special permits may authorize relief from the requirements in the HMR provided the applicant demonstrates an equivalent or greater level of safety to that intended by the regulation. You may obtain information on the special permit application process from our Web site at, or by calling the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration's (PHMSA's) Approvals and Permits Division at (202) 366-4511. An applicant may also request PHMSA add, amend, or delete a regulation in the HMR by submitting a petition for rulemaking. You may obtain information on the petition for rulemaking application process from our Web site at, or by calling PHMSA's Standards and Rulemaking Division at (202) 366 8553.

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

175.26, 171.8, 106.95-106.130, 107.101-107.127

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
171.8 Definitions and abbreviations
175.26 Notification at cargo facilities of hazardous materials requirements