Guide to HazMat Packaging

Guide to HazMat Packaging Banner ImageGuide to HazMat Packaging Banner Image

Handle Hazardous Materials with Ease!

Hazardous materials can be anything from chemicals and acids to refuse and other materials. Because of the potential danger these materials can cause, it is important to treat these materials with the utmost care when in use and transportation. With that in mind, there are certain HazMat packaging and equipment available for chemicals and other products that require it.

Read further to learn about the different packaging and equipment for hazardous materials!

HazMat Regulations & Guidelines

Hazardous materials can be categorized as explosives and gas to corrosives and toxic materials among others. These materials need additional care in order to avoid injuries or damage. Because of this, there are certain HazMat packaging requirements, regulations and guidelines in place to keep everyone involved safe at all times.

According to the US Code of Federal Regulations, the packaging for these hazardous materials must be built to hold and carry the product inside as intended in accordance to DOT (Department of Transportation) and UN regulations. Additionally, the DOT specification or UN Rating must be printed on the outside of the packaging. Whether the products inside the packaging are being transported or used, it is important for everyone to know what their UN Ratings are and if everything is compliant.

The Code of Federal Regulations emphasizes the importance of communication between the individuals transporting and receiving the hazardous packaging. This is primarily surrounding contents, compliance, paperwork, how to use the packaging effectively, and other important information.

HazMat Labeling & Marking

HazMat packaging and equipment are designed to be different from regular equipment for the sole purpose of being used with hazardous materials. Putting non-hazardous materials in a hazardous box and vice versa can lead to broken products or injury, so it is important to consider the two as separate.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, fines for failing to follow regulations can be costly in civil and criminal cases depending on damages. To make things clear, there are certain labels and markings on boxes that can help users determine which item is which.

UN Ratings

HazMat boxes have large UN Ratings printed onto the front to show users what products or materials the packaging is regulated to hold and store. UN Ratings have a line-by-line breakdown to ensure that products and packaging are handled correctly. 

Most HazMat boxes are commonly associated with a staring UN Rating of 4G. This guide will be going over UN Ratings and why they are significant later on.

UN Ratings Line BreakdownUN Ratings Line Breakdown

Arrows & Compliance

HazMat boxes will have two large arrows on two sides of the packaging. The purpose of the arrows is to show users what is the correct side up to avoid damage to the products inside. The arrows, known as orientation arrows, are required when the product or material inside is a liquid that can be hazardous.

Additionally, these types of boxes will have the following message: “UN 4G Compliance only when all parts of combination package are used.” This message means that the box will only be considered UN rated if the right products are inside.

HazMat Box ArrowsHazMat Box Arrows

Assembly Instructions

This type of packaging will have the assembly instructions printed on to the corrugated kraft material. Similar to the arrows, they are designed to assist users in putting the box together the right way to avoid damage.

HazMat UN Ratings

HazMat boxes are required to have a UN Rating. They are commonly associated with the rating 4G, as it is a box (4) made of fiberboard (G). From the manufacturer and user perspectives, it is important to understand what a UN Rating is and how it relates to your product.

UN ratings were adopted by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) to ensure the efficient and safe transportation of hazardous materials internationally.

Packaging Identification Code

The first part of the rating is known as the Packaging Identification Code. The identification or packaging codes will be different based on the type of packaging, material and category. The category is connected to whether it has a lid (1) or not (2).

UN Rating Packaging Identification CodeUN Rating Packaging Identification Code

Packing Group for Inside Contents

The next part of the UN Rating is important to the inside contents of hazardous packaging. UN ratings are put in a packing group based on how dangerous the product inside is. The UN packing groups for HazMat materials range from high (x) to low (z) hazard levels.

Additionally, the same group lists a specific gravity, defined as the density of the item compared to the density of water at a specific temperature and pressure.

UN Rating Packing Group for Inside ContentsUN Rating Packing Group for Inside Contents

The rating goes on with certain groups, tests and other information (year, country of origin, product number or code).

What Are the Different Types of HazMat Packaging and Equipment?

There are different HazMat packaging and equipment available, from boxes and safety cabinets to spill kits in drums and vinyl bags. It is important to know what comes with each packaging option and how it is used when packing or transporting. It is also important to be compliant and careful to avoid spills or damage.

Watch the video below to learn about the different hazardous material packaging and equipment options.

HazMat BoxHazMat Box

HazMat Boxes

  • Most HazMat boxes have a Packaging Identification Code of 4G
  • Made with corrugated kraft material
  • Commonly used to hold paint cans, f-style cans, pails and more
  • Popular in the paint and chemical industries
  • Inserts added inside of box for extra product protection
  • Made in different sizes, strengths (275, 350 and 1,100) and wall constructions (single to triple wall) to work with different products
HazMat Safety CabinetsHazMat Safety Cabinets

HazMat Safety Cabinets 

  • HazMat Safety Cabinets hold bottles and containers of corrosives, acids, and toxic materials
  • Classic royal blue color for holding hazardous materials
  • Clear warnings placed on the front
  • Sizes ranging from 4 gallons to 90 gallons
HazMat Spill KitHazMat Spill Kit

HazMat Spill Kits

  • HazMat Spill Kits have a yellow color for people to know it is for HazMat uses
  • Used to clean up and contain spilled oils, chemicals, and fuels
  • Commonly used in restaurants, garages, labs, trucks and various worksites
  • Sizes ranging from 5 gallons to 95 gallons
  • Available in a vinyl bag, bucket or salvage drum

Absorbent Pads

HazMat fine fiber absorbent pads are often used for quick absorption of most oil, water-based fluids, chemicals, and unknown liquids.

These versatile and fast-wicking fine fiber oil absorbent pads have minimal linting and slipping.

HazMat Absorbent PadsHazMat Absorbent Pads

Absorbent Socks

HazMat absorbent socks are designed for containment and safe clean-up of hazardous or unknown chemicals.

Additionally, these socks can be used as dike or to surround large machinery or equipment that may leak.

HazMat Absorbent SocksHazMat Absorbent Socks

Absorbent Pillows

HazMat absorbent pillows are designed to absorb large amounts of hazardous leaks that are too much for a pad to retain.

Absorbent pillows are great for many different jobs especially for catching drips and spills underneath equipment or horizontal drums

HazMat Absorbent PillowsHazMat Absorbent Pillows

Protective Clothing

 Chemical Resistant PVC Apron

This PVC apron protects against fats, grease oils, acids, alcohol, alkalis, and many other chemicals.

It is suitable for chemical processing, petrochemical industries, and other sectors that involve cleaning, decreasing, and maintenance.

Chemical Resistant PVC ApronChemical Resistant PVC Apron

Full HazMat Suit

This chemically resistant coverall is used for light splash protection in a variety of industrial environments.

It protects well for petroleum refining, pulp and paper manufacturing, food processing, chemical processing, and pharmaceutical manufacturing.

Full HazMat SuitFull HazMat Suit

Safety Goggles

These polycarbonate safety goggles offer splash protection while working with certain chemicals.

The goggles also feature an indirect-venting system to circulate air and help minimize fogging while keeping liquids out.

Safety GogglesSafety Goggles

Emergency Response Preparation

Accidents happen and spills occur, so it is important to be prepared for spills or damage to packaging, equipment and products. There are a wide variety of things that can be done to prepare for emergencies.

  1. Make sure that packaging and equipment are in accordance with the DOT and UN
  2. Matching the right UN Ratings to the right HazMat boxes
  3. Wearing personal protective equipment to avoid additional injuries
  4. Reporting and communicating items and packaging that are broken or not in accordance

These are some of the actions that can be taken ahead of time to ensure that HazMat packaging and products can be transported and used safely.

What HazMat Equipment Does Your Business Need?

The Cary Company has a wide variety of hazmat packaging and equipment available to help store and ship your hazardous materials and products. Shop our large collection today!

If you have any questions or need more information about our hazmat packaging and equipment, give us a call at 630-629-6600 or email us at