Shipping Hazardous Materials

The U.S. Department of Transportation requires training and certification before shipping hazardous materials, including hazardous chemicals, infectious substances, radioactive materials, compressed gases, dry ice, liquid nitrogen, lithium batteries and more.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT) requires that you be trained and certified before you ship hazardous materials. The requirements cover packaging and labeling of hazardous materials, the associated documentation, fines for non-compliance, and potential legal action if you are found to have willfully ignored hazardous materials shipping regulations.

Even if someone else handles your shipment for you, you are responsible because you know what the hazardous material contains.

Hazardous materials include hazardous chemicals, infectious substances, radioactive materials, compressed gases, dry ice, liquid nitrogen, lithium batteries and more.

EH&S provides training (see below for more information) and we ship radioactive material; contact Radiation Safety at 206.543.6328 for more information.

We are required to notify the U.S. Department of Homeland Security if you ship certain listed substances governed by the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Title 6 CFR Part 27.

International shipments may also be subject to Import/Export requirements. Information on these requirements and contact information can be found on the UW’s Office of Sponsored Programs website.

Training for shipping hazardous materials

EH&S offers a Shipping Hazardous Materials training class, which meets US DOT requirements. You must be re-certified every two years.

We also offer online classes for those who only ship certain dangerous goods such as dry ice, Biological Substances Category B or dangerous goods in excepted quantities.

These materials are referred to in our online shipping training classes:

How you can get help

Assistance with shipping hazardous materials

EH&S, in coordination with several other departments around campus, offers assistance for trained UW students, faculty and staff who need to ship hazardous materials.

For assistance in shipping radioactive materials, contact Radiation Safety, 206.543.6328.

For assistance with all other hazardous materials, contact the Hazardous Materials Shipping Coordinator at 206.685.2849 or email


Services available

EH&S provides the following services:

  • Training on shipping hazardous materials

  • Hazardous materials shipping consultation and assistance, including hazardous materials classification, labels, assessment and regulatory interpretations

  • Regulatory liaison between Federal agencies and the shippers, in the event of an audit or investigation

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

For those who ship hazardous materials, January 1, 2017, brought some big changes. A complete list can be found in the document: Significant Changes and Amendments to the 58th Edition of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations.

Most of the changes are in the requirements to ship lithium metal and lithium ion batteries, by themselves or packed with or in equipment.

  1. For those of you who ship internationally, January 1, 2017, brought a requirement for all hazard labels to have a 2mm border. That means old labels can no longer be legally used on packages shipped internationally. Domestically, you can continue to use the older style labels until December 31, 2018.

shipping label 3
The difference is the width of the border surrounding the label.

  1. There have been changes to the requirements for the shipment of lithium batteries:

  • Training: Previously those who shipped small lithium batteries under the section II requirements of Packing Instructions 965-970 only needed to have received "adequate instruction," but the rules didn’t specify what that meant. Now, new section 1.6 spells out the things this training should cover, such as classification of the type of batteries, and documentation and labeling requirements.

  • UN 3480 Lithium Ion batteries shipped by themselves can only be shipped at a state of charge not exceeding 30 percent of their rated design capacity. Guidance and methodology for determining the rated capacity can be found in Section of the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, 6th revised edition.

  • Starting Jan. 1, 2017, a new label (see below) can be used for shipments of class 9 lithium batteries under UN3090,UN3091, UN3480, and UN3481. You can continue to use a regular class 9 label for these shipments until the end of 2018.

shipping label 9


3. Shipments of Methanol are now required to have both the flammable (class 3) and the toxic (class 6) label.

If you have any questions about any of these changes, you can contact us at 206.685.2849 or at

Federal Express has implemented many changes in the shipment of dangerous goods with them. The biggest change is a requirement that all Shipper's Declarations for Dangerous Goods (DDG) be prepared using one of the following methods:

  • FedEx-approved vendor software applications
  • Pre-approved shipper-proprietary software
  • FedEx Express automated shipping solutions with dangerous goods edit checks

FedEx has also changed its rules for shipping lithium batteries. If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact FedEx directly at the FedEx Dangerous Goods/Hazardous Materials Hotline at 1.800.GoFedEx or 1.800.463.3339 (say "dangerous goods" when prompted).


All UW locations use a contractor (currently CHEMTREC) to provide Emergency Response information. You must provide their 24-hour emergency contact: 1.800.424.9300.

You may be asked to include a contractor name and customer number. We have 26 different customer numbers for different UW locations. Email for the contract number that applies to your location. You must also include "University of Washington" in your shipper address, which is how CHEMTREC would identify you in the event of an emergency response.

In addition to a 24-hour emergency response number, US DOT requires you to provide additional emergency response information. To comply with this requirement, either provide the material safety data sheet (MSDS) [link to Safety Data Sheets page] for the material along with your shipping paper (Declaration for Dangerous Goods) or provide the proper Emergency Response Guidebook pages for your material based upon its UN number.

In either case, whether you use the MSDS or the Emergency Response Guidebook pages, the following information must be present:

  • Basic description and technical name of the hazardous material
  • Immediate hazards to health
  • Risks of fire or explosion
  • Immediate precautions to be taken in the event of an accident or incident
  • Immediate methods for handling fires
  • Initial methods for handling spills or leaks in the absence of fire
  • Preliminary first aid measures

If you use the Emergency Response Guidebook pages to meet the above requirements, then you need to indicate the "basic description and technical name of the hazardous material" (its proper shipping name and UN number) found on the guidebook pages.


You cannot transport hazardous materials in your personal vehicle for work-related activities. If you have any questions about this policy, please contact the Hazardous Materials Shipping Coordinator at 206.685.2849 or email

More Information


EH&S Hazardous Materials

(206) 685-2849