Common Federal Regulations
Some common issues regarding the use and transportation of hazardous materials are listed below. The list is intended to be a starting point for understanding common regulatory issues rather than a definitive list of everything needed to be in compliance. User/Transporters are urged to consult the appropriate regulatory agency for questions regarding their specific situations.

Department of Transportation (DOT)
The Federal DOT regulates the transportation of hazardous materials in the US. Complete DOT regulations can be found in Volume 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The Code of Federal Regulations is available from any government bookstore or library serving as a Federal Repository. The DOT code can also be found on line at At this website, clicking on a diamond will take you to the corresponding regulations. For example, the diamond labeled "Security" will take you to the regulations regarding Security, including who must comply and what steps must be taken to comply.

Some of the more common DOT regulations are described below. Note that these descriptions generally apply to domestic ground shipments. Air and international shipments may have slightly different requirements. Air shipments are generally regulated by the IATA (International Air Transport Association) and international shipments are generally governed by international IMF (intermodal freight) regulations.

Hazardous Materials

Any material listed in the table of hazardous materials (49CFR172.101) or by definition in the section preceding the table. For example, anything flammable or under pressure. The hazardous materials table will also describe the proper shipping name for the material, the class, packaging group and approved containers.


Required for employees who handle, prepare for shipment or ship hazardous materials. Specific requirements are found at 49CFR171.700

Shipping Papers

Shipments of hazardous materials by common carriers require accompanying paperwork indicating the shipment contains hazardous materials, the quantity, proper shipping name, hazard class, packaging group, emergency contact number and a certification that the shipment has been prepared in accordance with DOT regulations. Specific requirements are listed in 49CFR172.200


Placarding of the truck with the appropriate warning placard is required for hazardous materials shipments exceeding 1,000lbs gross weight. It is the shipper's responsibility to provide the placards to the carrier to place on the truck. If two hazard classes are shipped together (eg, a flammable liquid class 3 and a flammable gas class 2) a “Dangerous” placard can be used instead of two separate placards as long as less than 5,000lbs gross weight of any hazard class is shipped. Individual placards must be used when shipping greater than 5,000lbs gross weight for any hazard class. Specific placarding requirements, including a description of the placards can be found at 49CFR172.500 Placards are commonly available from many sources including McMaster Carr.


Registration with the DOT is required for shipping amounts requiring placarding, and for certain other requirements. Registration requirements can be found at 49CFR.107.601

Security, including a written plan and documented employee training is required for shippers of hazardous materials. HAZMAT security requirements can be found at 49CFR172.800. Shipping amounts requiring placarding would trigger the security requirement.

Emergency Response Number
Hazardous materials offered for transport also require a 24 hr emergency response number on the accompanying shipping papers. Specific requirements can be found at 49CFR172.604

Occupational Saftety and Health Administration (OSHA)
OSHA generally regulates health and safety in the worklplace. Specific standards can be found in Volume 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations or by going to and clicking on “standards”.

The most common OSHA standard is the Hazard Communication Standard, which can be found in 29CFR1910.1200. This standard applies to workers using hazardous materials in the workplace and describes training and MSDS requirements. The HCS applies to manufacturers, importers, and distributors of hazardous chemicals.

OSHA also has specific standards for certain workplace hazards, including use of electrical equipment, standards for exposure to certain chemicals, scaffolding, use of forklifts, and so forth. Employers should consult the OSHA standards for any that may specifically apply to their workplace.

Note that OSHA only covers worker safety and exposure in the workplace. Northstar products are sold for industrial use and would be governed in the workplace by these requirements. Products sold to consumers (i.e., the general public) are governed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. These safety requirements can be different from general OSHA requirements and are found in Volume 16 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Consumer Product Safety. Anyone selling direct to consumers should consult these regulations.

Enviromental Protection Agency (EPA)

The EPA regulates the quality of the air, water, and land, including the release and disposal of hazardous materials. Specific EPA regulations can be found at by clicking on a particular topic, such as “air”.

Most states have implementation plans approved by the EPA that regulate air, water, and ground quality within their borders. State plans can be more restrictive than the EPA but can not be looser. Therefore, users of hazardous chemicals should consult their specific state plans for any regulations that might apply.

Always consult your local, state, and federal laws and regulations.