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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 #99-0088 ([Ms. Carolyn Kossik])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name:

Individual Name: Ms. Carolyn Kossik

Location State: WA Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

May 21,1999


Ms. Carolyn Kossik                              Ref. No. 99-0088
P.O. Box 91500
Bellevue, WA 98009-2050

Dear Ms. Kossik:

This is in response to your letter dated March,26,1999, regarding clarification of the definition of “offeror” under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180).

You provided the following scenario:

A company's receiving dock staff are unloadinga third party transporter’s truck. After a pallet of drums containing hazardous materials is removed, it is noticed that one of the
containers is leaking. The receiver places the pallet back onto the truck, notifies the driver of the condition of the container, and refuses receipt of the pallet. If the driver decides to transport the leaking container, is the receiver now considered an “offeror” under the HMR?

As provided in 171.1, the HMR apply to any person who transported or shipped hazardous materials in interstate, intrastate, or foreign commerce, by highway, rail, air, and vessel. Any person who performs, attempts to perform or, under the circumstances involved, is contractually or otherwise responsible to perform, any of the functions of an “offeror" is responsible under the HMR  for performance of those functions in compliance with the regulations. In many cases, more than one person may be responsible for performing “offeror” functions.

With regard to the particular circumstances described above, since the leaking pallet was refused by the consignee, it  remains in possession of the carrier. Having refuseed receipt of the leaking pallet, the consignee or receiving dock staff have no responsibility to perform “offeror” functions in this case. However, the HMR  forbids any carrier to transport hazardous materials for transportation in commerce which have not been prepared in compliance with the regulations.

Therefore, packages of hazardous materials that are damaged or leaking may not be transported unless placed in a metal or plastic removable head salvage drum that is compatible with the lading and shipped for repackaging or disposal in accordance with the requirement in 173.3(c). In addition, the packaging must be marked “SALVAGE” or “SALVAGE DRUM.”

I hope this information is helpful. If we can be of further assistance, please contact us.



Delmer F. Billings
Chief, Standards Development
Office of Hazardous Materials Standards


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.22 Shipper's responsibility