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DOT Regulations on Hazardous Materials

[box type=”shadow”]The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is one of the agencies that regulate the transportation of infectious materials. The DOT refers to infectious substances as those materials capable of posing an unreasonable risk to health, safety and property when transported in commerce. These regulations are necessary to prevent any accidents that may result in exposure to the infectious materials. [/box] [box type=”shadow”]Infectious Substances The DOT’s Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR parts 171-180) list the rules applicable to the transportation of infectious materials that it has classified under different categories. Infectious substances are specifically materials known to or expected to contain a pathogen that can cause diseases in human beings or animals. Such pathogens include viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungi. Supplier Compliance Companies that provide transportation services for hazardous waste are required to ensure that they have met any and all government regulations prior to transit. If multiple companies or suppliers are involved in the transportation process, each company must insure that their segment of the process is in accordance with government law. Suppliers or companies that are not the first to handle the hazardous waste are required to check the compliance of the previous companies if they feel that the security of the hazardous waste has been compromised. Permit Compliance Companies and suppliers who transport hazardous waste must act in accordance with the permit they have been given. If they no longer meet the requirements of their original permit, they must file an exemption form. Individuals who have not gone through the permit or exemption process may under no circumstance accept hazardous waste for transit purposes. Container Requirements Prior to the shipment of a hazardous material, federal regulations require that the material be handled correctly. This handling includes properly classing, describing, packaging, marking, and labeling the material. The hazardous material must also be legally deemed to be in proper condition for shipment. Individuals or companies are not allowed to tamper or alter any label or placard that appears on a hazardous material container. [/box]