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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 #20-0074

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Clark Hill PLC

Individual Name: Justin J. Marks

Location State: DC Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

December 16, 2020

Justin J. Marks
Clark Hill PLC
1001 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC  20004

Reference No. 20-0074

Dear Mr. Marks:

This letter is in response to your September 3, 2020, email requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to marking and labeling requirements for propane tanks. In your email, you state that your client is a company that manufactures large propane tanks ranging in size from approximately 6 feet long and 3 feet high, to approximately 24 feet long and 5 feet high. You state that your client ships these propane tanks new, empty, and with shrink-wrapped valves. You also state that your client would like to adhere an accompanying label/marking to each propane tank, and you have included a picture of the label/marking along with your email. As shown in the picture, the top of the rectangular label/marking has a large red banner that contains an exclamation mark inside of a white triangle and the word "DANGER," the left-hand side has a black and white flame symbol, and the right-hand side contains an "explosion hazard" warning as well as additional warnings for other problems owners should be aware of described in plain text. Specifically, you ask whether it would be a violation of the HMR to adhere the warning label/marking described above to a propane tank.

The answer is no. Section 172.401(b) prohibits a person from offering or transporting a package bearing a marking or label which by its color, design, or shape could be confused with or conflict with a label in the HMR. Based on the information provided in your email and review of the picture of the label/marking itself, it is the opinion of this Office that the label/marking would not be in violation of the HMR. However, please note that the "flame" symbol is similar to the Globally Harmonized System labels regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and may frustrate the transportation of the shipment.

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


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
172.401 Prohibited labeling