Home Podcasts THMG078 – Placards and Labels, Part I

THMG078 – Placards and Labels, Part I


In the first episode of this two-part series, Mike and Bob explore the wonderful world of placards and labels.

Complete Show Notes

3:30 Why Placards Matter

  • Placards help us identify what’s in the vessels, containers, and vehicles we’re dealing with
  • They aren’t always present, but when they are, they’re very helpful in turning an unknown into a known
  • There are 9 classes of warning placards, plus the “Dangerous” placard
  • Colors are very important – you may need to read them from a great distance with binoculars
  • There are division breakdowns within each class that are noted as a decimal place after the class number (i.e. Explosive 1.2, Gas 2.3, Dangerous when wet 4.3, etc.)

8:05 Class 1 – Explosives

  • Bright orange color
  • Explosion symbol
  • Basic 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3 divisions placard is required when any amount of the material is on board a vehicle
  • Otherwise, there must be 1,001 lbs. or more before this placard is required

11:05 Class 2 – Gasses

  • Various colors depending on their contents
    • Non-flammable gasses – green with a cylinder symbol
    • Oxygen – yellow, flaming “O” symbol
    • Flammable gas – red, flame symbol
  • All have to be 1,001 lbs. gross weight to need a placard
  • For a poison gas (Division 2.3, black/white), a placard is required for any amount

12:20 Class 3 – Flammable and Combustible Liquids

  • Red
  • Flame symbol
  • In general, all flammables of 1,001 lbs. or more in bulk need this placard
  • There is some level of interchangeability – i.e. “Gasoline” instead of “Flammable” and “Fuel Oil” in place of Combustible” – everything depends on the specific container and its contents

14:05 Class 4 – Flammable Solid, Spontaneously Combustible, and Dangerous When Wet

  • Various colors
  • Flame symbol
  • Flammable solids have vertical red and white stripes
  • Spontaneously combustible materials are half white on top and half red on the bottom
  • Dangerous when wet is solid blue
  • Class 4 materials need a placard for 1,001 lbs. or more, except for dangerous when wet materials, which always need to be placarded

15:45 Class 5 – Oxidizers and Organic Peroxides

  • Yellow
  • Flaming “O” or flame symbol
  • Red top and yellow bottom for Division 5.2
  • These placards were all yellow up until 2011 for rail, vessels, and aircraft and 2014 for highway vehicles
  • Required for 1,001 lbs. of material, except for Division 5.2 Type B, which is required for any amount

17:10 Class 6 – Poisons (Toxic) and Poison Inhalation Hazards

  • Black and white
  • Skull and crossbones symbol at the top
  • Can have various writing on it, including “Poison,” “Toxic,” “Inhalation Hazard,” and “PG I-II-III”
  • “PG” stands for “Packaging Group” and corresponds to how badly the contents can hurt us
  • Everything in Class 6 is Division 6.1 with the exception of biohazards, which have their own division – Division 6.2 (biohazard symbol)
  • The entire class generally needs a placard for 1,001 lbs. or more, other than 6.1 Inhalation Hazards, which must be placarded at all times
  • Class 2 Inhalation Hazard Placards and Class 6 Inhalation Hazard Placards look exactly the same – this is because Class 2 is for gasses, while Class 6 is for dust or mist

22:00 Class 7 – Radioactive Material

  • Yellow and white
  • Radioactive propeller symbol
  • Required for any amount of packages bearing Radioactive Yellow-III labels

22:55 Class 8 – Corrosives

  • Black and white
  • Test tube symbols
  • Required for 1,001 lbs. or more of material

23:55 Class 9 – Miscellaneous

  • Black and white vertical stripes on the upper third of a white background
  • Marked with the corresponding ID number
  • DOT Chart 14 lists this placard as “Not required for domestic transportation”

20:35 Class 10 – Dangerous

  • You may find almost anything in vessels marked with this placard
  • These are materials or substances in non-bulk packages from two or more hazmat categories
  • If the substances from each category total less than the weight required for a placard (1,001 lbs.), this non-specific placard can be used

27:45 Where Do We See Placards?

  • In general, you’ll see these on vehicles – mostly trucking and railroads
  • They should be on all four sides
  • Can be used in conjunction with the type of container – like a truck trailer or rail car – to provide further insight into what you have and how much you have
  • They might not always be displayed properly, so expect anything

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