Transporting hazardous materials by train, boat or truck poses an unavoidable level of risk to the staff transporting the materials and potentially to bystanders. Although the possibility of an accident cannot be entirely eliminated, proper emergency response can be accelerated with a hazardous materials bill of lading. The bill of lading, completed by the shipper for the benefit of the recipient, details the quantity and nature of the hazardous materials being shipped. Proper completion of a hazardous materials bill of lading is a critical first step in the shipping process.

Obtain the proper bill of lading form. Complete the name and address information for the shipper and recipient.

Write an itemized list of the items contained in the shipping container. Identify the quantity of items and describe the types of items.

Classify the hazardous materials according to the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) list of hazardous materials classes. Classify explosives in Class 1, gases in Class 2, flammable liquids in Class 3, flammable solids in Class 4, oxidizing substances in Class 5, toxic and infectious substances in Class 6, radioactive materials in Class 7, corrosive substances in Class 8 and all others in Class 9.

Group the items based on the DOT list of packing groups. Items in the first group (Group I) are of great danger, items in Group II are of medium danger and items in Group III are the least danger. Identify these packing groups on the bill of lading.

Attach the bill of lading to the items being transported. Provide a copy to the shipping company and retain a copy for your records.