Transporting Hazardous Materials by Air: Restrictions and Requirements

As a general rule, airline passengers are not allowed to carry hazardous materials in their checked baggage or in the aircraft cabin (hand luggage). Safely transporting hazardous materials by air begins with proper shipping and handling. Shippers must strictly follow the rules on dangerous goods, as this is how the safety protocol for transporting dangerous goods by air begins. This final rule modifies the requirements of the Hazardous Materials Regulation (HMR) for the transport of hazardous materials by air.

It clarifies the applicability of Part 175; clarifies exceptions to the regulation for equipment and supplies for operators, special air operations, and passengers and crew members; reviews separation distances for the shipment of radioactive materials on cargo planes; and updates regulations to meet the safety requirements of special permits for explosives. The EPA tracks shippers of hazardous waste by requiring each transportation company to obtain an identification number from the EPA. Unlike generator EPA identification numbers, which are site-specific, transporter identification numbers are assigned to the transportation company as a whole. This means that each individual truck uses the number issued at the company headquarters and does not receive its own unique number.

An airline may not transport hazardous material by aircraft unless each of its employees participating in that transportation is trained as required by subpart H of part 172 of this subchapter. The minimum separation distances prescribed for radioactive materials are determined by measuring the shortest distance between the surfaces of the class 7 (radioactive) package of materials and the surfaces that limit the space occupied by passengers or animals. Hazardous waste transporters are people or entities that move hazardous waste from one site to another by road, rail, water or air. Oxygen, or any hazardous material used for the generation of oxygen, for medical use by a passenger, supplied by the aircraft operator in accordance with 14 CFR 121.574 or 135.91 can be transported.

The shipper can “declare” that a shipment contains hazardous materials through shipping documentation, marking, labeling, or other means. Section 175.31 requires a person who discovers a discrepancy after accepting a package of hazardous materials (as defined in § 175.31 (b)) to notify the nearest FAA Local Civil Aviation Security Office (CASFO) by telephone “as soon as possible” and provide certain information. For all other hazardous materials, the operator must keep each paper copy of the shipment for one year after the initial carrier has accepted the material. According to CORAR, “This adoption by regulations of the conditional measures currently offered by the carrier exemption is a good example of practical regulation that facilitates compliance and streamlines efforts to transport urgent materials without compromising public or occupational health and safety.

In addition, the hazardous waste regulatory program has been largely delegated to the state level, so that most of the daily implementation and inspection activities are carried out by authorized states, and not by the EPA. For all other hazardous materials, individuals are limited to transporting no more than 2 kg (70 ounces) by mass or 2 L (68 liquid ounces) by volume and each container cannot exceed 0.5 kg (18 ounces) by mass or 500 ml (17 liquid ounces) by volume.

Ross Yetto
Ross Yetto

Certified bacon nerd. Amateur entrepreneur. Subtly charming zombie fan. Wannabe beer evangelist. Total social media evangelist.