DOT Hazmat Labels Guide


Guide for understanding the Department of Transportation Hazardous Materials Labels

What is a DOT Label?

Labels are pictograms that indicate the Hazard Class or Division of the hazardous material in a package, covering both the primary hazard and any subsidiary hazards. Some labels also include special instructions, such as the "Cargo Aircraft Only" Label.

The regulations include specific pictograms and colors for each Label. The full text of the requirements can be found in 49 CFR Part 172 Subpart E.

How is a DOT Label Used?

A label is generally applied to non-bulk packages, such as compressed gas cylinders and fiberboard boxes. Placards are utilized for bulk packages, such as shipping containers.

When applying a DOT label, it is important that it must be visible and is not covered up by any other labels that get applied to the package. It is also important that any designs on the box cannot be confused with the DOT label. Therefore, it is best that hazardous materials are shipped in plain containers without any printed patterns.

If multiple DOT labels are needed, such as a package with both a Hazard Class label and "Cargo Aircraft Only" label, the labels must be placed next to each other, not overlapping, on the same side of the package.

What is the Difference Between OSHA and DOT Labels?

OSHA also has separate labeling requirements for packages containing hazardous chemicals related to workplace safety. These include the GHS pictograms, which are different than the DOT pictograms.

Learn more about the difference between OSHA Labels versus DOT Labels.

Meanings of the DOT Labels

Hazard Class and Division Labels

Most of the DOT Labels concern the Hazard Classes and Divisions.

DOT 1.1A Explosive Label
This is a 1.1A Explosive Label. There are many other variants of the Class 1 Explosives, from 1.1A to 1.6 for the different divisions.

DOT Class 2 Flammable Gas Label
This is a Class 2 Flammable Gas Label.

DOT Class 2 Non-Flammable Gas Label
This is a Class 2 Non-Flammable Gas Label.

DOT Class 2 Inhalation Hazard Label aka Poisonous Gas Label
This is a Class 2 Inhalation Hazard Label, also known as a Poisonous Gas Label.

DOT Class 3 Flammable Liquid Label
This is a Class 3 Flammable Liquid Label.

DOT Class 4 Dangerous When Wet Label
This is a Class 4 Dangerous When Wet Label.

DOT Class 4 Flammable Solid Label
This is a Class 4 Flammable Solid Label.

DOT Class 4 Spontaneously Combustible Label
This is a Class 4 Spontaneously Combustible Label.

DOT Class 5 Division 1 Oxidizer Label
This is a Class 5, Division 1 Oxidizer Label.

DOT Class 5 Division 2 Organic Peroxide Label
This is a Class 5, Division 2 Organic Peroxide Label.

DOT Class 6 Infectious Substance Label
This is a Class 6 Infectious Substance Label.

DOT Class 6 Inhalation Hazard Label
This is a Class 6 Inhalation Hazard Label.

DOT Class 6 Poison Label
This is a Class 6 Poison Label.

DOT Class 7 Fissile Material Label
This is a Class 7 Fissile Material Label. There are also variations based on the groupings of Radioactive Materials.

DOT Class 8 Corrosive Label
This is a Class 8 Corrosive Label.

DOT Class 9 Label
This is a Class 9 Label.

Other Labels

There are two other types of DOT Labels.

DOT Cargo Aircraft Only Label for use with materials that cannot be transported by passenger aircraft

This is a "Cargo Aircraft Only" Label, used for marking shipments being transported by air that cannot be transported by passenger aircraft.

DOT Empty Label for use with emptied packages that still contain hazardous material residue
This is an "Empty" Label, used for marking a package that has been emptied of hazardous materials but still contains hazardous residue.

Further Reading

Learn more about Hazmat Shipping for Small Businesses.


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