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Understanding Hazmat Placards

Have you ever noticed the diamond shapes signage on the back or sides of trailers and wondered what they mean?  The US Department of Transportation requires trucks carrying hazardous materials to display these placards as a way to inform first responders of the contents in the case of a crash or other emergency.

There are 9 main classes of hazardous materials:

  1. Explosives
  2. Gases
  3. Flammable and Combustible Liquids
  4. Flammable Materials
  5. Oxidizer and Organic Peroxide
  6. Poisons
  7. Radioactive
  8. Corrosive
  9. Miscellaneous

In addition to numbers, the second most recognizable characteristic of these placards is color:

  • Orange – explosive materials such as dynamite, fireworks, or ammunition.
  • Red – flammable goods such as gasoline, isopropyl alcohol, paint, or acetone.
  • Green – nonflammable substances such as compressed or liquified gasses.
  • Yellow – oxidizers such as ammonium nitrate, potassium nitrate, halogens, or nitric acid.
  • White – poisonous and biohazardous substances such as dyes, acids, aerosols, or medical wastes.
  • Blue – dangerous when wet such as sodium, calcium, or potassium.
  • Red and White – dangerous when exposed to air such as aluminum or lithium alkyls or white phosphorous.
  • Red and White Stripes – flammable solids such as matches or magnesium.
  • Red and Yellow – organic peroxides such as methyl ethyl ketone peroxide or benzoyl peroxide.
  • Yellow and White – radioactive substances such that are commonly found in medical equipment.
  • White and Black – corrosive materials such as batteries, hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, or sodium hydroxide.
  • White and Black Stripes – miscellaneous dangerous goods such as asbestos or dry ice.

These placards offer clear and easy to interpret information about the contents of transport carriers.  Carbon Express is extensively trained in the handling and transporting of hazardous materials, so there is no need to worry when traveling near and around trucks on the road.  We put safety first for our clients, our drivers, and the public.

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