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Shipment of Empty Division 2.2 Compressed Gas Cylinders

Shipment of Empty Division 2.2 Compressed Gas Cylinders

When transported in commerce, a Division 2.2 Non-Flammable Gas must comply with all of the requirements of the Hazardous Material Regulations (HMR) of the US Department of Transportation.  When empty, a packaging of Division 2.2 Non-Flammable Gas is allowed to use an exception found at 49 CFR 173.29 that allows for the transportation of the empty packaging as a non-hazardous material, not subject to the HMR.  This is important, because 49 CFR 173.29(a) states the US DOT’s position that, besides exceptions to the regulation, like this one, an empty packaging containing residue is regulated the same as if the packaging was full; it reads,

Except as otherwise provided in this section, an empty packaging containing only the residue of a hazardous material shall be offered for transportation and transported in the same manner as when it previously contained a greater quantity of that hazardous material.

To use this exception to the HMR, the packaging must meet the following conditions:

  1. Packaging contains only the residue of a Division 2.2 Non-Flammable Gas.
  2. The gas is not ammonia, anhydrous.
  3. There are no subsidiary hazards associated with the gas.
  4. The gas is at a gauge pressure of <200 kPA (29.0 psig); at 20°C (68°F).
  5. No material in the packaging is a Hazardous Substance, Hazardous Waste, or a Marine Pollutant as defined at 49 CFR 171.8.

This means that as long as it meets the above 5 conditions, an empty Division 2.2 Non-Flammable Gas may be shipped off-site (eg. returned to the supplier for reuse) without the need for shipping papers, placards, labels, markings, trained personnel, etc.

As the shipper of an empty packaging of a Division 2.2 Non-Flammable Gas you are responsible to ensure that all markings, labels, and placards that identify the empty packaging as a hazardous material are removed, obliterated, or securely covered.  This is not necessary if…

  1. The packaging is not visible in transportation, and;
  2. The packaging is loaded by the shipper and unloaded by the shipper or consignee.  Per 49 CFR 171.8, “Consignee means the person or place shown on a shipping document, package marking, or other media as the location to which a carrier is directed to transport a hazardous material.”

The transportation of hazardous materials can be tricky.  Sometimes there is an exception like this one for certain hazardous materials, and sometimes there isn’t.  It’s up to you to know which regulations apply to your operations and how to comply with them.  Attendance at my HazMat Employee Training is a good way to learn what you need to know in order to safely ship hazardous materials.