Frequently asked questions regarding placards and placarding requirements.
A placard is a diamond-shaped sign that identifies the class of dangerous goods (hazardous materials) on large containers such as a vehicle, rail car, cargo tank or bulk container. Mixed loads can often be identified by a special placard that says “DANGEROUS” (in the US) or “DANGER” in Canada. For certain situations, such as bulk tanks, the identification (UN) number of the goods inside the vehicle or container must be shown on or beside the placard as well, to identify the specific product in transport.
In general, placards need to be displayed so that they are visible from the front, back and both sides of a vehicle, other transport unit or bulk container. Therefore, they should be put in locations where they would not be covered or obscured by objects such as tarps or coverings during transport. On the front of a tractor trailer, the placard may be placed on the front of the tractor portion instead of the trailer, if it would be hard to see when placed on the trailer.
The rules for placarding for the US can be found in Subpart F (Placarding) of Part 172, in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations. In Canada, the criteria can be found in Part 4, Dangerous Goods Safety Marks, in the Canadian Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations. Also, you can contact us here at ICC Compliance Center for advice on selecting the right placards for your shipment.