standards are set by the Federal Government
. UPS, FedEx and others must meet these standards although..."
Yes, there are Federal standards. But all three major carriers (USPS, UPS, FedEx) implement them in different ways. Part of this has to do with whether a particular service
will always be GROUND shipping
, or whether it might also use AIR, which cannot be used with some goods.
I haven't checked each carrier's policies versus the CFR for this, but I can tell you that for some goods like fire extinguishers and CO2 bottles and "lamp carbide" (which generates acetylene gas when wet) all three carriers class the goods in different ways. The weight or amount of the materials also causes each carrier to treat them differently.
All three have "hazmat" shipping departments to handle phone
inquiries, and hamat shipping publications that list specific goods, classes
, and amounts. Guess what? All three sometimes give you one answer on the phone
, and another in their published guide.
With FedEx, last year I shipped some ORD-M goods. The published regulations
called for a "new" sticker, the guy on the phone insisted no, the published guide was wrong, they wanted to see the OLD sticker that was no longer supposed to be used.
Since the penalties involved all center around "known" and "intentional" violations, there's little reason for an individual not to call all three, look at the three manuals
, and if any one of them says "This isn't hazmat" then just keep a copy and don't ship via hazmat. If the shipper says it isn't hazmat...that's their problem, not yours, if they are wrong.
Then there are some major companies, like Amazon, who ship all sorts of things without declaring them to be hazmat. Unless you want to return something, and all of a sudden, they say no, you'd have to ship that via hazmat. Same goods, same shipper...can't have it both ways, but they do, and in large volume.
As to the Fed requiring every "shipper" to have hazmat training and retraining...that's not quite right. What is a "shipper"? Carriers, yes. When I ship something, I'm the shipper, and I am not required to be hazmat trained. The CARRIER that I chose, has to have the training. And their policies also vary on that, some require you to drop off hazmat goods at a depot, some require that you have a pickup account....None will be happy to see you flagging down a truck "take this please" with a hazmat label on it.(G)
Yes, it is a serious matter when airplanes fall out of the sky. That's one reason the service
type (routed by ground or air or both) matters. That's one reason hazmat is a serious problem. But as long as the fed and the carriers want to disagree about "what the meaning of is is" (as Slick Willy said) who are we to argue?