Hazmat Package Testing
At Southeast Testing we have over 22 years of experience with Hazmat testing and certification. Our mission is to keep our customers out of trouble and always in compliance with on-time certifications.
When you need advice or have difficulties, we also offer consulting, research and training your personnel involved with Hazmat shipping. So far we are the most experienced Hazmat Package testing lab with the best DOT record in the Southeast United States.
We will test your Hazmat package per the 49 CFR requirements and certify it in one of two ways:
- With our III-rd Party Lab Symbol (+BZ) or,
- With your “M” number or under your shipper name and address (also known as self-certification).
While the effort involved in making a report in the A or the B approach differs significantly, the value to you as a shipper between these two certifications is not very different. This is what you should know:
- The first time (III-rd Party certification), also called "design qualification" is more cumbersome and will require a significant amount of detail about all package components to be reflected in our certification report. Our “+BZ” mark will be placed at the end of the certification string followed by our sequential test number. This report has to be fully compliant with the CA Approval requirements (the rulebook for all III-rd Party Labs). Caution: If you are not fully prepared to provide all the detail of each and every package and product component (drawings, specifications, manufacturer and location of that manufacturer, including means of closure, all closure details and assembly sequence all the way down to the tape, band, cable tie, poly bag, bubble wrap or staple with manufacturer and their location), please consider using the second option of self certification by either using the shipper name and address or getting your own “M” number (also called “Shipper Number”) from the DOT. Getting an “M” number costs nothing and is a no-hassle process which takes less than five minutes of writing an application email or a hard copy letter to the DOT and close to two to three weeks to get the reply (see below “Getting your “M” number from DOT”).
- The second option (self-certification) is somewhat less demanding on report requirements – in this case report must be compliant with the 49 CFR requirements which are very clearly laid out, and your “M” number or shipper name and address will be used for the certification string instead of the third party symbol. This option will cost you less, report will be faster to generate and handling the related information will be less demanding on your Hazmat staff down the road. This report will follow the same format and calculations as the III-rd Party lab report, and will be less cumbersome to prepare both for shipper and laboratory. Overall – if your buyer or your home office does not mandate you to have a III-rd Party Lab certification with a “+” symbol, you might be better off with using an “M” number.
The validity of both report types is 24 months for combination packages and 12 months for bulk packages, large packages and bags.
What we will need from you to perform a III-rd Party test if you are a first time customer (fear not - we can guide you over the phone through the parts that bother you):
- Request Form filled out by your Hazmat Specialist/ Point person only for a first time product test (see below)
- Your Company name, address
- Name of your Hazmat Specialist/ Point person and email and a phone number where he/she can be reached quickly. They should have a valid Certificate of Level 1 Hazmat training - within last 3 years
- Listing of the packaging components used (e.g. outer packaging, pallet, pads, dividers, trays, bags, inner packagings, closures i.e. caps, closure tape, staples, bands, cable ties, etc.)
- MSDS of the most dangerous (PG I or PG II) product with the highest Specific Gravity to be shipped
- Complete set of drawings and specifications of each and every packaging component (these have to be readable and not scrambled or copy of fax from fax, etc. Carton drawings MUST include Inside Dimensions of cartons, and NOT scoreline-to-scoreline dimensions)
- 10 empty outer cartons complete with partitions/pads
- Enough empty Inner packagings (or articles) to fill five outer cartons
- A roll of carton tape (if outer is a carton) with manufacturer name and spec number
- Torque for closing bottles if inners are closed with a twist cap of any kind (inch pounds of torque)
- A detailed step-by step assembly instruction of your package, written by the Hazmat Specialist
- Purchase order for the test and billing contact
- What happens if and when a package pails during testing: Many times the packages will show leaks, carton opens after drops, Cobb Size test fails, etc. We will have to retest an improved package and a reasonable retest charge (between $100 to $250) will be added to the invoice.
- What can I get away with? Keep in mind, DOT inspectors are very knowledgeable and must be taken seriously!!! It is much much better to for you and us to get things done in compliance and on time, than create a reason for them to come and visit you! Please help us help you - the faster you can provide us with all info and box tape, the sooner we can test and the faster we can produce report, with less errors and corrections!
- How can I find drawings or specs of my package components? Even though testing some Hazmat packages takes less than a week, generating a report for some has taken several months until all information detail is compiled. Most bottle and cap drawings we already have in our database. We are very familiar with online search tools and are capable of making most part drawings. In the event this is required of us, we will have to charge an additional fee to find your package component drawings/specs online or make them ourselves.
- How can I get an “M” Number from DOT: that is explained very clearly in 49 CFR 178.3(a)(2), see also: http://www.phmsa.dot.gov/hazmat/regs/sp-a/approvals/m-symbols.
An M number will permit your company to certify packaging under that identifyer symbol and may be obtained without cost by sending a written request to DOT (a list of existing “M” numbers is on the PHMSA website, link below). The time frame for securing an M number is 30 days or less.
To view a list of existing "M" Numbers, click here, then in the choice box under "M# Symbol" and next to "IN THIS ARTICLE" select the lower line that says "Manufacturer's Symbols" : https://www.phmsa.dot.gov/hazmat/regs/sp-a/approvals/m-symbols/
Applicants also have the option of submitting request via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mailed to:
[Department of Transportation, East Building, PHH-33, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590]
- Where can I find some in-depth Hazmat Resources? A vast amount of Hazmat Resources are provided by the US Government online for free:
Link to the online Hazmat Table in 49 CFR (part 172.101): https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=d494c1a2d759b260f5a6d381a2baba3c&mc=true&node=se49.2.172_1101&rgn=div8
You can also call the DOT Hotline at 1-800-HMR-4922 during normal business hours (EST). Be prepared to provide your name and your phone number once you are talking to the DOT Specialist. They are well trained DOT employees, and can answer a lot of questions for you free of charge and without repercussions to you.
Suggestion: You should try to discuss your topic in reasonably good Hazmat terminology, to avoid frustration and unnecessary errors. It may be helpful for you to keep notes and records of your conversation with the Hotline.