Shipping and Transport of Hazardous Materials

EHS personnel are certified through a Department of Transportation (DOT) training program to ship hazardous materials and can provide shipping services to university departments. When scheduling a chemical shipment with EHS, laboratory personnel should contact EHS at least two days prior to the desired ship date by completing the  Shipment of Hazardous Materials Form  found on the EHS website. Some personnel may receive Shipping Class 6.2 Infectious Materials training and approval from EHS to ship biological materials and dry ice independently from EHS. Packaging and shipping must be conducted in accordance with DOT regulations as outlined in this training.

A Material Transfer Agreement, MTA, may be required when transferring materials to another institution or PI. More information on these agreements is available from the Office of Sponsored Programs, (OSP). In addition, depending on the material to be shipped and the shipping destination, a United States Export Permit or an Import Permit from the country that is to receive the package may be required. The office of Research, Development, Integrity, and Assurance, (RDIA) can be contacted for more information about these requirements. PI/LS are responsible for understanding international permitting regulations pertaining to their work.

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Intra-campus Chemical Transportation

When transporting hazardous chemicals between laboratories or buildings, precautions must be taken to prevent spills or accidental exposure. The guidelines below should be followed when transporting chemicals on campus.

  • Ensure all containers are properly labeled and securely sealed.
  • Use secondary containment to contain spills.
  • Transport chemicals using a sturdy wheeled cart with a two-inch rim.
  • When transporting incompatible chemicals, separate secondary containment should be provided for each chemical.
  • Secure cylinders to a cylinder cart before transport.
  • Use a freight or cargo elevator to transport chemicals between floors.
  • Do not leave the cart unattended at any time during transport.
  • Contact EHS for transport of a large number or large quantity of chemicals. EHS must be consulted for all laboratory moves that involve the relocation of chemicals from one laboratory to another.

PPE should be worn to transport materials between laboratories in the same building. PPE worn for this purpose should be clean to prevent contamination of communal areas. Only one hand should be gloved so that one hand is free to touch communal surfaces (e.g., door handles, elevator buttons). Materials transported between buildings should be packaged in such a manner to prevent or contain spills during transport. Laboratory personnel may wear clean PPE during transport between buildings in the event of a spill.

Inter-campus Chemical Transportation

Personnel may not transport chemicals off George Mason University property in personal vehicles, EHS may be contacted to transfer chemicals between campuses in the event of unforeseen circumstances. If research or instructional activities span multiple campuses, the necessary chemical supply should be maintained at each campus. If a laboratory or operation is being relocated to an alternate campus or to a site off campus EHS must be contacted as soon as possible, but at least two weeks in advance, to schedule a laboratory move with an approved, licensed vendor.

Personnel conducting field research may be permitted to transport limited quantities of hazardous material under the provisions of the DOT Materials of Trade exemption. Contact EHS for more information about this exemption.

Procedure to Ship Hazardous Materials With EHS

Both the DOT and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulate the shipping of hazardous materials and/or dangerous goods transported via road or air, respectively. This includes the transport of all chemicals except for sample amounts, in accordance with 49 CFR 173.4, between university campuses. Specific training is required and necessary to prepare and package a shipment of hazardous material.

Employees who may be required to ship such items must contact EHS who will provide this service. In order for a shipment to be prepared and expedited properly the individual seeking shipment must notify EHS at least five business days for chemical shipments and at least two days for biological materials (including dry ice) in advance of the desired shipping date and complete the Shipment of Hazardous Material form and provide the following:

  • Itemized list of contents of the package to include volume, weight, and size of the container(s).
  • An appropriate shipping container that meets UN packaging requirements (can be purchased through EHS if the department does not have the appropriate containers and the shipment is urgent)
  • Dry ice and quantity to be included in the package (if required).
  • Package (length, width, height, and weight).
  • Insurance for the package (if any).
  • Payment information; org and account number or third-party FedEx account number to charge the shipment.
  • Shipper’s name and a 24-hour phone number
  • Consignee’s (receiver’s) name, address, and phone number

Individuals who ship hazardous materials on a frequent or routine basis may contact EHS to coordinate training for them to perform this task independently. Under no conditions are students permitted to offer hazardous materials for shipment on behalf of the university.