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What You Need to Know about the Code of Federal Regulations Title 49 for Transportation: Basic Requirements, Label Specifications, and More

Last Updated: July 2, 2019

The Code of Federal Regulations Title 49 for Transportation, sometimes referred to as CFR Title 49, is one of 50 total United States CFR titles. Specifically, Title 49 sets forth the rules and regulations issued by the Departments of Transportation and Homeland Security regarding transportation and its related security. The unofficial version of the CFR is available online.

CFR Title 49 for Transportation includes 12 chapters involving various regulatory entities including: The U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration, the Federal Railroad Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Transit Administration, the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (AMTRAK), the National Transportation Safety Board, the Surface Transportation Board, the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, and the Transportation Security Administration. Because CFR Title 49 for Transportation encompasses parts 1 – 1699, it can be daunting to read and understand. We highlight the most pertinent information about the regulation for you, including:

Read on to gain a better understanding of the Code of Federal Regulations Title 49 for Transportation.

The Code of Federal Regulations Title 49 for Transportation at a Glance

It is in your best interests to read and understand all parts of the CFR Title 49 if you transport goods in the United States. We shipping containerprovide a short introduction to Title 49 here, to give you an overview of the regulations and what they mean for your organization.

The Code of Federal Regulations Title 49 for Transportation governs the domestic transportation of hazardous materials for all forms of transportation to, from, and within the United States. Title 49 includes nine volumes. Parts 100-185 of Title 49 relate to transporting hazardous materials, which are overseen by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration under the helm of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Because CFR 49 addresses regulations and requirements for preparing, shipping, and handling dangerous goods, anyone handling them should read, understand, and comply with every element of Title 49. Some of the most critical components of CFR Title 49 include:

  • Descriptions of hazardous materials by class
  • The amount of hazardous materials permitted in specific containers in addition to the total volume allowed in each shipped package
  • The types of packages and packaging required for the safe transport of hazardous materials
  • Testing requirements for reaching specific performance standards
  • Required documentation for shipping hazardous materials
  • The markings and labels required on packaging and placards required by carriers
  • Training and safety plan requirements

If You Move Goods in the U.S., You Must Comply with CFR Title 49

CFR Title 49 is word-heavy, at best. The most important thing to know about the regulations is that you must abide by them if you move goods in the U.S., because Title 49 encompasses regulations for domestic transportation. It especially is critical for you to be familiar with Title 49 and have the most up-to-date version of the regulations because they include stringent rules for transporting hazardous materials. You are subject to penalties for noncompliance if you are not informed about the latest requirements of CHR title 49. One of your responsibilities under CFR 49 is to use hazmat hazard shipping labels that comply with the guidelines.

If you are shipping in the U.S. by ground, you will need to concern yourself with parts 100-185 of CFR 49. These parts specifically outline the rules for shipping dangerous goods. Many shippers using internal U.S. waterways also use CFR 49. According to U.S. law, CFR 49 parts 100-185 take precedence over regulations found in international regulations. To comply with CFR 49 parts 100-185, make sure you and everyone involved in shipping have the specified mandatory training for shippers of dangerous goods. You should receive training for the type and level of expertise required for the dangerous goods you ship and the types of transportation you use to do so. Also, document your training because auditors will want to see these records.

Understand CFR 49 Label Specifications

If you are shipping dangerous goods, you need to know the CFR 49 label specifications, as detailed by 49 CFR 172.407. You should read the specifications and become familiar with the requirements to select transportation labels that are fully compliant. We highlight a few of the specifications below:

  • Durability – Each label must be durable and weather-resistant, regardless of whether it is printed on a package or affixed to it. The label must be able to withstand 30 days of exposure to conditions that are common in transportation without deteriorating or having a substantial change in color.
  • Design – Each label must contain the text, inner border, and symbol as shown in 49 CFR 172.411-172.448 as appropriate
  • Size – Each label must be a diamond, or square set on a point, and at least 100 mm (3.9 inches) on each side. Each side must have a solid line inner border 5mm inside, measuring from the outside edge of the label to the outside of the solid line forming the inner border, and parallel to the edge. The solid line forming the inner border must be at least 2mm wide. Please note, the label dimensions and its features may be reduced proportionately if the size of the package deems it necessary to do so, as long as the symbol and other label elements remain clearly visible.
  • Color – The background color of each label must be as specified in 49 CFR 172.411-172.448 as appropriate. Please note, black and any label color must be able to withstand a 72-hour fadeometer test without substantial change.

The Code of Federal Regulations Title 49 for Transportation is a lengthy set of regulations. However, you must comply with the regulations if you ship goods to, from, or within the United States. You especially should become familiar with CFR 49 parts 100-185 for transporting dangerous goods and know the label requirements to avoid penalties for failing to comply with the regulations.

Images via Pixabay by mortenhjerpsted and Flickr by IAEA Imagebank

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