Shipping and Transporting Hazardous Materials

In order to protect the public at large, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) regulates the shipping and transportation of hazardous chemicals in commerce on roadways and airways. Non-compliance with these standards is subject to fines up $27,500 per violation, and in some cases, imprisonment. These requirements can be found in 49 CFR 171-178 and cover the documentation, packing, marking and labeling of hazardous materials as well as the training of shippers, carriers and handlers.


Shipping Biologicals & Infectious Substances

The Office of Biological Safety (OBS) provides a training program for shipping infectious substances and other biological materials with an emphasis on laboratories and research groups. Among the topics covered are: Federal regulatory definitions of infectious substances, patient specimens and biological products; use of the Dangerous Goods Table to locate proper shipping instructions; requirements for shipping biologicals with dry ice; proper packaging; and correct completion of the shipping documentation.

Shipping Hazardous Chemicals

The Office of Chemical Safety provides a training program for shipping/transporting hazardous chemicals.Topics covered include the preparation of chemical shipments and the loading and unloading of chemical shipments.

Bio HazMat Shipping Certificate of Training

INITIAL - To receive a Bio HazMat Shipping Certificate of Training for the first time through our training program:

  1. Complete Biosafety 205 online course through Learn@UW
    • You must log in with your NetID and self-register for this course.
    • Instructions for logging into Learn@UW are located on Biosafety's training page.
  2. After completing Biosafety 205, you will find information regarding how to register for a Biosafety 206 Workshop session. Complete the Biosafety 206 Workshop.

    RENEWAL - If you hold a current Certificate of Training through the Office of Biological Safety and would like to renew:

    1. Complete Biosafety 207 online course through Learn@UW
      • You must log in with your NetID and self-register for this course.
      • Instructions for logging into Learn@UW are located on Biosafety's training page.
    2. If your previous certification is more than 2 years, 3 months old, you are ineligible for recertification and will be asked to complete certification as a "New Trainee".
    3. If you have been previously certified for hazardous materials shipping through another agency and you want to renew certification through EH&S, you will be asked to complete the training as if you are a "New Trainee".
    4. We offer concentrated infectious & biological hazardous materials shipping training as a service to UW employees, staff, faculty and students.

      After completion of the training, individuals will receive a Bio HazMat Shipping Certificate of Training which is valid for 2 years.  These individuals are eligible to be certified by their employers to ship these substances* in compliance with the DOT and IATA training requirements. Training Certificates will be sent via a PDF email attachment within 10 days of completion of required training elements.  Date of the Certificate will reflect the date training is completed, not date the email is issued.

      Important Notes

      Certification of a HazMat employee is granted by the employer not the training entity.
      The certificate issued by EH&S's Office of Biological Safety (OBS) certifies completion of compliant training on a specific date by the employee; your individual employer (e.g. department, group, laboratory, manager, PI, etc.) may accept this training as adequate for your designation as a certified hazmat employee.  Each Hazmat employer is responsible for compliance with the requrements of DOT regulation 49CFR Part172.700 regardless of whether the training required by these requlations has been completed.

      Any Hazardous Materials Shipping Training program (here at OBS or through an external agency) provides compliant materials and information which are adequate for hazmat shipping certification. The training program will issue documentation to confirm training has been completed; this documentation must be supported by your employer's consent that you are a certified hazmat shippping employee.

      HazMat Shipping training is available from many sources outside the UW-Madison.
      Federal law requires training in the regulations so your employer can certify you to ship hazmat. You and your employing department or laboratory group may choose training outside of UW.   For more information go to the US DOT HazMat Transportation Regulations webpage

      Hazardous Chemical Shipping Regulations

      The regulations are extensive and at times, difficult to understand. Here are some main points covering how these rules affect the shipping and transportation of hazardous chemicals at the UW:

      -Under the current regulations, the UW is considered a government agency. This means that UW employees transporting hazardous chemicals from building to building and on roadways are exempt from the DOT Hazardous Material Regulations. The normal packaging, labeling, placarding and documentation do not apply.

      -Hazardous Waste is regulated by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 40 CFR 260-265. The transportation of Hazardous Waste requires special marking, training and documentation. Hazardous Waste should only be transported by UW EH&S employees and approved contractors.

      -UW employees that load, unload, prepare, or ship hazardous chemicals are subject as “hazmat employees” to DOT regulations and must receive training every 3 years. This training must be function specific depending on the employee’s role in affecting the transportation of the hazardous chemical.

      All employees that perform shipping must be trained on how to identify, mark/label and package hazardous chemicals as well as security and emergency response information.

      On-Campus Movement of Hazardous Materials

      Transport of Biologicals on Campus or in Campus Vehicle (PDF)

      As stated in the previous section, UW employees are considered government employees and are exempt from the hazardous chemical regulations when transporting hazardous chemicals (non-waste) on roads. However, whenever such chemicals are moved, some basic precautions need to be taken:

      • The employees involved in moving the chemical should be trained and familiar on its hazards and basic handling properties.
      • Before moving the chemical, have an emergency plan and spill kit ready in case of an accident or environmental discharge.
      • Avoid moving things by hand when a cart is available, and always use secondary containment.
      • The employees moving the chemical should wear the proper clothing and personal protective equipment (PPE) relative to the hazards that the chemical represents.
      • When using a vehicle, make sure that the container containing the chemical is well secured, and not in the passenger section of the vehicle. Take care to make sure liquids are sealed appropriately to avoid leaks. Gas cylinders must be transported with the cover on.

      If you are moving chemicals outside of the building, contact the Chemical Safety Office for more specific information.


      Campus Resources

      US DOT HazMat Shipping Regulations

      IATA Dangerous Goods (DG) Shipping Regs