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The Shipper’s Certification on a Hazardous Materials Shipping Paper

The Shipper’s Certification on a Hazardous Materials Shipping Paper

The transportation in commerce of a hazardous material will require a description of the HazMat on a shipping paper unless an exception is identified in 49 CFR 172.200(b).  Pursuant to 49 CFR 172.204, the HazMat shipping paper must include a certification by the Shipper that the hazardous material offered for transportation is in compliance with all applicable regulations.  The purpose of this article is to describe the requirements for the Shipper’s Certification on a shipping paper for the transportation in commerce of a hazardous material.

Unless an exception from the requirement to provide a certification is identified at 49 CFR 172.204(b), one of two options must be used for the shipper’s certification, they are found at §172.204(a)(1) & (2) respectively:

(a)(1)  “This is to certify that the above-named materials are properly classified, described, packaged, marked and labeled, and are in proper condition for transportation according to the applicable regulations of the Department of Transportation.”

Note:  In line one of the certification the words “herein-named” may be substituted for the words “above-named”.

(a)(2)  “I hereby declare that the contents of this consignment are fully and accurately described above by the proper shipping name, and are classified, packaged, marked and labelled/placarded, and are in all respects in proper condition for transport according to applicable international and national governmental regulations.”

Question:  When I'm signing the shipper's certification on a HazMat shipping paper, is the scope of my certification limited to the shipping paper itself?
Answer:  No.  Read the certification statement(s) carefully; it refers to (1) the classification of the hazardous material, (2) its description (on the shipping paper), (3) how it is packaged (which includes the selection of the proper packaging and its filling and closing/sealing per the manufacturer's instructions), (4) the marking and labeling of the completed packages, (5) in one version [(a)(2)] the placarding of the vehicle, and finally (6) an all-encompassing statement about compliance with all applicable regulations.

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Question: Why are there two options for the shipper's certification? Is one preferred by the USDOT/PHMSA?
Answer: Neither is preferred by the USDOT/PHMSA and both are acceptable for domestic transportation of hazardous materials. However, the certification (actually, a declaration) found at §172.204(a)(2) is required by the regulations of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), and the International Air Transport (IATA).
Conditions for and Exceptions to the Shipper’s Certification:
  • General exceptions to the shipper’s certification are identified at §172.204(b).  The scope of the exceptions is much broader than I initially thought, read this article I wrote on the subject:  Exceptions to the Shipper’s Certification on a HazMat Shipping Paper.
  • For shipments of HazMat by rail the shipper’s certification may be provided verbally over the telephone or by an electronic signature per §172.204(a)(3).
  • Shipments of HazMat by air must consider the following from §172.204(c):
    • An optional shipper’s certification at §172.204(c)(1):

I hereby certify that the contents of this consignment are fully and accurately described above by proper shipping name and are classified, packaged, marked and labeled, and in proper condition for carriage by air according to applicable national governmental regulations.

Note to paragraph (c)(1): In the certification, the word “packed” may be used instead of the word “packaged” until October 1, 2010.

    • Two copies of the certification must be provided to the aircraft operator.
    • There is an additional certification that is mandatory and specific to air transportation and has been required since October 1, 2006:

I declare that all of the applicable air transport requirements have been met.

    • Additionally, §172.204(3)(i) requires a Shipper of HazMat by air to ensure the following:
      • HazMat is not prohibited for transport by air.
      • HazMat is properly classified, marked and labeled and in full compliance with Hazardous Material Regulations for air transport.
      • HazMat are properly packaged for air transportation.
    • Radioactive material aboard a passenger-carrying aircraft (yikes!) requires an additional certification stating that the shipment contains radioactive material intended for use in, or incident to, research, or medical diagnosis or treatment.
Question:  Are we done with the shipper's certification?
Answer:  No, we haven't yet addressed the Generator's/Offeror's certification on the Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest.  But that will have to wait for another article.

So, unless an exception exists, a shipment of HazMat must be described on a shipping paper and that shipping paper must have – again, unless excepted – a certification by the Shipper that the shipment meets all of the requirements of the HMR.

Question:  Is it OK to make any changes, modifications, or additions to the shipper's certification?  Say for example I want to add text to the end that reads, "and the requirements of Daniels Trucking Services."?
Answer:  Nope.  Can't do it.  The shipper's certification on a hazardous materials shipping paper must appear exactly as indicated in the HMR.  However, there is nothing stopping you from adding an additional certification with wording of your choice elsewhere on the shipping paper (01-0105).

You won’t be seeing similar articles for the carrier’s certification or the receiving facility’s certification, why not?  Because there isn’t one.  While many persons may be required to sign a shipping paper, only one certifies the shipment’s compliance with all of the HMR, and that’s the Shipper.

Question:  Must I provide HazMat Employee training for an employee whose sole responsibility is to sign a HazMat shipping paper, including a Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest?
Answer:  Didn't you read the article?!  Yes.  You must provide HazMat Employee training for all employees involved in the transportation of hazardous materials and that especially includes anyone who signs the HazMat shipping paper since they are certifying compliance with all of the HMR.

If your a Shipper of HazMat contact me to discuss the training that you must provide for your HazMat Employees.

Daniels Training Services