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Interpretation Response #24-0011

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Ohio Public Commission

Individual Name: Tom Forbes

Location State: OH Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

May 2, 2024

Tom Forbes
Chief, Motor Carrier Enforcement
Ohio Public Commission
180 E Broad Street
Columbus, OH  43215

Reference No. 24-0011

Dear Mr. Forbes:

This letter is in response to your February 28, 2024, email requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to emergency response information requirements. Specifically, you describe a scenario where emergency response information is made available by a shipper on a safety data sheet (SDS) and includes the statement "safety data sheet available from the terminal for these products on request" printed on the shipping paper. Additionally, you state that if a carrier were to leave the facility without a printed SDS, the reverse of the shipping paper has a website where persons may access the shipper's SDS information for the hazardous material in transport.

We have paraphrased and answered your questions as follows:

Q1: You ask whether adding the statement to the shipping paper, as indicated above, satisfies the § 172.602(b) requirement of providing emergency response information.

A1: The answer is no. The HMR requires that all persons offering for transportation, accepting for transportation, transferring, storing, or otherwise handling hazardous materials during transportation have emergency response information immediately available for use at all times that the hazardous material is present. Additionally, the HMR defines the beginning of transportation in commerce as when a carrier takes possession of the hazardous material for purpose of transporting it—see § 171.1(c)—and specifies providing and maintaining emergency response information as a pre-transportation function—see § 171.1(b). Thus, the emergency response information must be provided with the shipping paper in a form required in § 172.602(b).

Q2: You ask whether providing a website on the back of a shipping paper for carriers to access a SDS for a hazardous material satisfies the requirement of providing emergency response information.

A2: The answer is no. The emergency response information provided by a shipper must be in the form of a physical document  printed legibly in English—see § 172.602(b)(3)—and must include all the information required by § 172.602(a). Further, the electronic display of emergency response information—via a website—does not meet the HMR requirement.

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

171.1(c), 171.1(b), 172.602(a), 172.602(b), 172.602(b)(3)

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
171.1 Applicability of Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to persons and functions
172.602 Emergency response information