When an Ordinary Box Isn’t so Ordinary After All (HazMat Box)

We have all used a fiberboard (or cardboard as most people call it) box to ship something. It may have been a box of gifts for a friend or family member, or a package of merchandise for a client at work. Most of the time, you probably didn’t give much thought to the box other than to make sure it was sturdy enough and big enough to contain what you were shipping. For these typical kinds of shipments, that ordinary box will do just fine. HazMat (or dangerous goods) shipments, however, aren’t ordinary and neither is the box that they need to be shipped in.

The packaging industry is a science in itself, with ever evolving processes, techniques, materials, treatments, and regulations. HazMat packaging is a specialized area of packaging technology, and it has some very specific requirements that must be followed. Even though a HazMat box may look identical to a standard shipping carton, there are some significant “behind the scenes” differences between them!

  1. Material matters! When dealing with HazMat boxes, there are specific tolerances for manufacturing. The combination of materials used to make up the fiberboard has very little wiggle room once the design has been approved and certified. Changes in the material may invalidate the certification and make the boxes non-compliant.
  2. Proven performance! HazMat boxes have to be put to the test before they can be certified for use. These boxes go through drop, stack, vibration, pressure, and other tests to simulate conditions they may encounter during transportation. Additionally, the design has to be re-tested every 2 years to ensure everything is still performing properly. While all packaging should protect its contents, it is extra important for boxes that contain HazMat to be up to the task.
  3. Recordkeeping! The manufacturer of a hazmat box must keep meticulous records regarding the construction, use, testing and any changes made to the packaging. These records are subject to inspection by government officials and can result in fines if violations are discovered.

These are just a few examples of what makes a HazMat box far from ordinary! Keep this in mind when you are selecting packaging for your HazMat shipments. If you need HazMat packaging, or to find out more information, call one of our customer relations centers today at 888-442-9628 in the US or 888-977-4834 in Canada.

Emily Walter

Emily Walter

Emily has over 10 years’ experience in hazardous materials/dangerous goods training and specializes in 49 CFR, IATA, IMDG, TDG, OSHA Hazcom and the GHS regulations. Recently, Emily has taken on the responsibility of overseeing ICC’s packaging department. Emily also assists in the health and safety services department by authoring safety data sheets and creating label text for customers. Her expertise extends to US OSHA Hazcom 1994 and 2012, Canadian Hazardous Products Act/Controlled Products Regulations (WHMIS) and Canada Consumer Chemicals and Container Regulations. Emily is active with the National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD), recently speaking at ChemEdge along with other industry meetings regarding the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) and OSHA Hazcom 2012.