Whether the goal is to prevent accidents, preserve human lives, minimize adverse consequences, or ensure a timely emergency response, the rules and regulations outlined by laws governing the transportation of hazardous materials (HAZMAT) are complex and apply directly to shippers and carriers.
That means whether shipping hazmat by highway, rail, air or water, any company whose goods fall into the HAZMAT category must adhere to these rules or risk fines, penalties, bad publicity and other potential exposure.
Sometimes a company’s HAZMAT shipping papers contain incomplete or inaccurate information, meaning that there’s potential that shipments are noncompliant with hazardous materials regulations.
These discrepancies may range from minor issues such as no package type or unit of measure listed for each HAZMAT entry on the shipping paper, up to more concerning violations such as incorrect or no shipping descriptions listed, missing or incorrect HAZMAT placards offered and improper load securement - all of which are violations of U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations.
Moreover, violations listing both the shipper of goods and the carrier are recorded within the DOT database.
To further complicate things, not all hazardous materials regulations are congruent or aligned with one another.
For example, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), state laws address some or all of the following key benchmarks within the HAZMAT supply chain: