Different types of hazardous goods call for various transportation precautions. While items like clothing, toys and household furniture can be quickly packaged and transported by air or sea without concern for the cargo’s handling, things like aerosols have stricter requirements. Whether you’re shipping aerosol cans internationally or domestically, you have some steps to follow.
Table of Contents
- The Importance of Shipping Aerosols Safely
- Shipping Aerosols Safely Through the United States Postal Service
- 5 Crucial Aerosol Shipping Tips
- Mailing Aerosols or Other Hazardous Materials?
The Importance of Shipping Aerosols Safely
To regulate businesses that transport materials defined as hazardous by the Secretary of Transportation, Congress passed the Hazardous Material Transportation Act (HMTA) in 1975. To comply with these rules, items should be appropriately:
- Subjected to security planning and training
You can quickly accumulate penalties for incorrectly shipping hazardous materials. The Department of Transportation (DOT) strictly policies and regulates companies transporting hazardous goods because it can be harmful if not done correctly. Since dangerous materials are handled differently depending on their categorization, labeling and describing items is crucial for administrators, receivers and the mediators involved.
Respirator Fit Tests
An airborne infection like a virus or another pathogen can be inhaled when exposed to fumes, vapors, gases and particles. A respirator protects the wearer from these dangers. Respirators protect workers against surroundings with insufficient oxygen and dangerous smoke, mist, gases, vapors and sprays. These dangers can potentially have life-threatening results.
Air-purifying respirators and atmosphere-supplying respirators are the two basic categories of respiratory protection. Each type of respirator offers a different amount of protection. As a result, you should select the right type of respirator for the particular exposure. If you’re an employer, you’re responsible for identifying the respiratory risks in your work environment as well as the level of risk exposure.
Respirators get an assigned protection factor, which shows the protection level each device provides. Tight-fitting respirators used as part of a workplace respiratory protection program should pass a fit test before use. Examples of tight-fitting respirators include:
- Elastomeric half and full-facepiece respirators
- Self-contained breathing devices
- Filtering facepiece respirators
- Powered-air purifying respirators
No matter what type of respirators you or your employees use when handling aerosols, you should do regular fit tests. A respirator fit test determines if the device is the right size for the wearer’s face so it works as it should.
You or your workers should do a fit test at least once a year. If you get new respirators — like new models, sizes or brands — you should also do a new fit test.
Shipping Aerosols Safely Through the United States Postal Service
The Postal Service considers any substance that has the potential to damage the mail, people handling it or property as hazardous material. Aerosols fall under this category, but the Postal Service does let you ship them within the country — as long as you follow some regulations.
You generally aren’t allowed to mail flammable or toxic gases, but you can mail gas-containing items like these if you follow quantity and packaging requirements:
- Compressed oxygen
- Fire extinguishers
- Empty compressed gas containers
- Aerosol paint
- Food items
These and other mailable gases need to be packaged correctly to protect valves and fittings and prevent accidental discharge.
Shipping aerosol cans internationally through the Postal Service isn’t possible.
Shipping Aerosol Cans With FedEx
If you want to ship aerosols or sprays via FedEx Ground, you need to complete an approval procedure for hazardous materials to become a FedEx-authorized dangerous materials shipper. Note these restrictions when sending aerosol cans via FedEx:
- Ensure all hazardous cargo is packaged carefully and correctly according to Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR). FedEx doesn’t accept dangerous goods that have been packed and prepared according to other regulations, so be sure to follow the right guidelines.
- If you’re shipping packages using a special permit issued by the DOT, the FedEx Ground facility receiving your shipment will need a copy of the permit documentation.
- Have a copy of your products’ Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) ready for submission.
- Ensure your shipment adheres to the relevant local, state and federal laws.
5 Crucial Aerosol Shipping Tips
It can be challenging to move different kinds of hazardous commodities around the world — they can be divided into many categories, sub-categories and sections. Here are five tips on how to ship aerosols safely:
1. Know Your Hazardous Items
Make sure you understand the type of commodities you’re transporting, the potential dangers and the regulations related to their shipment.
2. Use the Appropriate Documentation
Shipping hazardous products requires several documents, which may differ depending on the type of materials, location and receipt of shipment and the method of transport. You can communicate this information to those in charge of transportation through the right documents. The MSDS provides a list of all the details required for the shipment of dangerous materials, which should be submitted to the shipping line.
3. Follow the Regulations for Shipping Hazardous Materials
Due to the risk to property and life at all phases of transportation, shipping hazardous products is a heavily controlled process. Whether you’re an exporter or a courier, you should know the regulations for each mode of transportation.
4. Follow the Proper Packaging Protocols for Hazardous Materials
Use supportive packaging for hazardous products and make sure all items are properly secured. Verify that the cargo is adequately padded and fastened to prevent leaks or damage from the cargo shifting inside the container.
If the items are in the same package, you should typically store the dangerous materials in places that are quick and easy to reach in an emergency. Hazardous materials are commonly packed near the container openings so they can be quickly evacuated in an emergency.
5. Verify That the Packaging Is Clear of Incorrect Labeling
Remember to remove all labels from previous shipping that may still be on old packing materials, such as used boxes, before you begin packing. The container should be air-, wind- and waterproof since some hazardous commodities may be affected by humidity, dampness, water infiltration or heat.
Mailing Aerosols or Other Hazardous Materials?
Safety compliance is essential for business owners to keep themselves and their staff safer throughout operations. Hazmat School offers online courses on how to mail sprays and other hazardous materials. These courses are also available for individuals. If you have any questions about our courses, corporate accounts or discounts or what course is ideal for you, contact us today.