The Hazmat Quizmaster — Is That Hazmat?

hazmat testTake the Hazmat Quiz

Here’s a fun way to challenge yourself and learn a little more about hazardous materials — take the The Hazmat Quizmaster — Is That Hazmat?

Drivers and motor carriers are presented with all kinds of freight and at times have to quickly determine if what they are hauling is hazardous materials or ‘hazmat,’ also known as dangerous goods. Hazmat haulers, loaders, handlers, packagers, labelers and markers of hazardous materials have to have specific training under 49 CFR 172.700.

With high fines and penalties, no one can afford to haul a hazmat load that they are not licensed or qualified to do so. But the average non-hazmat driver is left to his own devices in determining if a shipment is hazmat or not.

Hazardous materials are products that pose a risk to health, safety, and property during transportation.

How to Identify Hazardous Materials

Look for Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) labels with the following signal words:

• Caution
• Danger 
• Poison
• Warning

Look for any of these words on the label or package.

Look for Hazardous Materials Identification System (HMIS®) labeling.












Look for National Fire Protection Association (Health Hazard, Fire Hazard, Specific Hazard & Instability) labels.













Look for a UN number, an Identification Number on the DOT Hazardous Materials Table. UN numbers range from UN0001 to about UN3518.

Look for any kind of “hazard” label, that can be an indication it is a hazardous material.

Tip: DOT guidelines for properly labeling and marking non-bulk and bulk containers are similar, but they are not the same.

Check the Hazardous Materials Table (49 CFR 172.101)

The Hazardous Materials Table identifies and classifies hazardous materials.

A DOT Hazardous Material? Yes— if listed in the DOT Hazardous Materials Table (Over 5,500 pages long)

Hazardous Materials Table . . .
Columns 1 – 5: identify and classify the material on the shipping papers.

Columns 6 – 10: proper packaging, labeling, marking, placarding and mode-specific requirements. The modes of transportation are air, water, rail and highway.

Top Tip: If you believe that you might have a hazardous material, you need to check the above indicators and seek more information before you accept it for shipment.

So how did you do on the hazmat quiz? While that one was for fun, the real quiz happens everyday when you might be presented with goods, materials or freight that could be considered hazardous materials by the DOT.


When presented with freight that could be potentially classified as hazardous materials, carefully examine the container for labels that contain signal words, special formatting showing NFPA or HMIS® labeling, UN numbers, hazard labels, or if the materials or product is listed on the Hazardous Materials Table (49 CFR 172.101). Never knowingly accept hazmat freight that is mislabeled, missing proper shipment papers, mispackaged, leaking, or for which you are not properly licensed, trained, or other qualified to handle, convey, or otherwise transport.

Thank you for reading this.