Understanding Hazmat Placards

November 8, 2022

Hazmat placards are something that we’ve all probably seen at some point or another while driving on a highway, or even around town. But what are they exactly? In this blog post, we’ll be discussing a summary of what you need to know about hazmat placards – what they are, what they’re used for, and who uses them. Read on to learn more!

What Are Hazmat Placards?

Hazmat placards are hazardous materials communicators. They’re used to help identify regulated materials that are being transported, and they provide information for emergency responders in the event of an incident.  The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires hazmat placards to be placed on the front, back, and sides of vehicles transporting hazmat materials so that in an emergency, they provide emergency responders with initial response information.

You can recognize hazmat placards by their size, shape, colors, and standardized symbols.  The symbol represents the type of hazard posed by the material, and the number in the center indicates the DOT hazard class. For example, a placard with an orange background and the number “1” at the bottom of the placard indicates Explosives.

Who Uses Hazmat Placards?

Commercial carriers transporting hazardous materials in commerce and who meet federal regulations must use hazmat placards.

What Are the Hazmat Placard Classifications?

There are nine different classifications of hazmat placards, each representing a different type of hazard.

What Are the Hazmat Placard Specifications?

DOT regulations require that all hazmat placards be made of material that can withstand a 30-day exposure to open weather conditions.  By design, the placards must be diamond shaped and measure 250 mm (9.84 inches) on each side and have a solid line inner border approximately 12.5 mm inside and parallel to the edge.

DOT requires that the “offeror” of a placardable amount of hazmat also offer the transporter the required placards.

Hazmat placards are an important part of transportation safety. As mentioned earlier, they inform emergency responders.  If shipping papers aren’t available at the scene of an accident, a placard may be the only way responders know what materials are involved in the accident.

Carlile Is Dedicated to Safety in Alaskan Trucking

At Carlile, we take pride in our commitment to safety. Our team members receive ongoing training on how to safely transport hazmat.

If you have any questions about hazmat placards or transportation safety, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help keep Alaska’s roads safe for everyone while providing shipping and logistics to the people of our great state.