Shipping Dangerous Goods-Environmental Health & Safety - Carnegie Mellon University

Shipping Dangerous Goods

Whether sending via ground or air, national or international, certain items (namely chemicals, biological and radiological materials) have been deemed "Dangerous Goods" and are subject to special shipping restrictions and requirements. This program will help you ship materials safely and in accordance to the rules and regulations set forth by the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) will help all shippers correctly identify, classify, package, mark, label and document dangerous goods according to these national and international governmental regulations.

Please read the following information to guide yourself through this process:  

  1. Learn what materials constitute a “Dangerous Good”
  2. Understand the additional restrictions for Dangerous Goods international shipments
  3. Understand the legal issues related to Dangerous Goods shipments
  4. Be aware of the process to initiate a Dangerous Goods shipment
  5. Locate the training modules for certain shipment activities you can be approved to do yourself.

1.Classification of Dangerous Goods

Dangerous Goods are defined as those goods which meet the criteria of one or more of nine UN hazard classes.  These nine classes relate to the type of hazards.

Hazard Classes:

Class 1- Explosives

Class 2- Compressed Gases

Class 3- Flammable Liquids

Class 4- Flammable Solids; Substances Liable to Spontaneous Combustion; Substances Which, in Contact with Water, Emit Flammable Gases

Class 5- Oxidizing Substances and Organic Peroxides

Class 6- Toxic and Infectious Substances

Class 7- Radioactive Material

Class 8- Corrosives

Class 9- Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods (for example: genetically modified organisms, polymeric beads, cryogenic liquids, dry ice, non-hazardous material sensitive to light or heat, magnetized material, batteries and items containing batteries).

2. International Shipping of Non-Dangerous Goods

Many countries have special requirements from their customs department when shipping of any chemical or biological material, it is important for you understand there may be specific requirements, which differ by country, and additional documentation may be required. Additional documents which may be needed include Commercial Invoice, Certificate of Origin and Shipper's Export Declaration. For more complete information on international shipping, visit the vendor website and sign up for a free account (user identification).

Also, be aware that the university has research-related conditions implemented on items that are to be shipped out of the country.  Check out this link and contact them with any questions about this requirement:

3. Carnegie Mellon's Shipping of Dangerous Goods Program

This program is designed to help you know and understand the legalities, the practicalities and how to ship a package containing Dangerous Goods.

Current Federal Law requires all persons who ship (this includes the actual packing of the material and filling out of assorted forms) Dangerous Goods to be trained and certified prior to shipping. The Department of Transportation (DOT) currently mandates that shippers retain a copy of each Dangerous material shipping paper, or an electronic image, for a period of 375 days after the date of shipping. Note that shipping paper means shipping order, bill of lading, manifest or other documents containing required information.

Members of your EH&S staff have taken the required training and maintain the required certifications to ship dangerous goods. Useful links related to Shipping:

IATA - for Declaration forms

QICSTAT - for useful information

Saf-T-Pak Inc. - information and supplies

FedEx - information and supplies

All-Pak - supplies

Note: please be aware that DRY ICE is considered a DANGEROUS GOOD and you must ship it according to FAA regulations. Even if there are no additional 'dangerous' items in the shipment, a shipping container with dry ice MUST be labeled and invoiced appropriately by a trained shipper.

4. The Shipping Process

  1. Complete the normal shipping papers for your shipment. This will be the standard FedEx, UPS, DHL, or any other shipper's waybill.
  2. Complete an On-line Request for Shipment Review (see helpful links) a minimum of 1 week in advance.
  3. If deemed a Dangerous Good, you will need to purchase an appropriate shipping package (available through Mellon Stores).
  4. An EH&S representative will contact you regarding the final shipment. 

5. Training

Training of the persons involved in the shipping, receiving and transport of hazardous materials is a key element of the Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations. EH&S has training modules available here for certain limited tasks in this process.

  • If you will be shipping packages with dry ice (and NO OTHER hazard), you must complete the "Shipping With Dry Ice" training module.
  • If you will be receiving packages containing hazardous materials, you must complete the "DOT Hazardous Materials Receiving" training module.


You are NOT permitted to transport hazardous materials on public roadways by any vehicle.

If you will be shipping packages with hazards other than dry ice, you must contact EH&S at 8-8182. We will assist you in that process.  Packages with Dry Ice and no other hazards require only completion of the training module noted above.


  • If you will be shipping packages with dry ice (and NO OTHER hazard), you must complete the "Shipping With Dry Ice" training module.
  • If you will be receiving packages containing hazardous materials, you must complete the "DOT Hazardous Materials Receiving" training module.

helpful links

Office: FMSB 3rd Floor
Phone: (412) 268-7501
Contact: Jeff Harris

Office: MI 313
Phone: (412) 268-8405
Contact: Andrew Lawson


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