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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 #21-0094

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson & Feary, P.C.

Individual Name: Timothy W. Wiseman

Location State: IN Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

October 8, 2021

Mr. Timothy W. Wiseman
Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson & Feary, P.C.
10 West Market Street
Suite 1400
Indianapolis, IN  46204

Reference No. 21-0094

Dear Mr. Wiseman:

This letter is in response to your September 20, 2021, letter requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to handling of sharps containers. Specifically, you provide the following information about a lidded tray carrier intended for use in handling of sharps containers that otherwise meet the requirements of the HMR and ask whether it may be used for transportation of sharps containers:

  • Your client packages sharps into sharps containers that meet § 173.134(c);
  • Up to two 8-gallon, six 2-gallon, or six 3-gallon sharps containers are placed into a lidded tray carrier;
  • While in the lidded tray carrier, each individual sharps container remains fully closed and lidded;
  • The lidded tray carrier is used to "prevent the individual sharps containers from falling over and/or spilling in transit;" and
  • The lidded tray carrier does not obscure any markings on the individual sharps containers.

The answer is yes, subject to conditional requirements. As defined in § 171.8, an overpack "means an enclosure that is used by a single consignor to provide protection or convenience in handling of a package or to consolidate two or more packages."

Therefore, when the lidded tray carrier meets the definition of an overpack and the overpack requirements of § 173.25—including package mark and label visibility (see § 173.25(a)(2))—the lidded tray carrier may be used for transportation of the sharps containers.

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


Dirk Der Kinderen
Chief, Standards Development Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division

171.8, 173.25, 173.25(a)(2), 173.134(c)

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
171.8 Definitions and abbreviations
173.134 Class 6, Division 6.2-Definitions and exceptions
173.25 Authorized packagings and overpacks