Safety Policies

SY34 Hazardous Material Shipping

Policy Status: 


Subject Matter Expert: 

Diann Stedman, 814-865-6547,

Policy Steward: 

Director of Environmental Health and Safety



This policy provides proper procedures for the packaging, labeling,documentation, shipping, and transportation of dangerous goods or hazardous materials by faculty, staff, and students who transfer such materials from one location to another via University vehicles, the United States Postal Service,Fed Ex, United Parcel Service, Trucking Company, etc. This applies to all Penn State locations except the Hershey Medical Center and College of Medicine. This policy does not address the handling of hazardous waste or radioactive materials as specified under policies SY20 and SY14, respectively.

Hazardous materials for shipping may be generated by a variety of activities such as teaching, testing and research laboratories, maintenance,housekeeping and agricultural operations. These materials may cause severe illness or death or pose substantial environmental threat when improperly transported or shipped. .


The University is required by regulation to ensure the proper handling,packaging, labeling and documentation of hazardous materials prior toshipment.


Hazardous Materials (HM) - Any substance or material that has been determined to pose an unreasonable risk to health, safety and property when transported in trade, traffic or ground transportation within the United States.

Dangerous Goods (DG) - Any substance or material that has been determined to pose an unreasonable risk to health, safety and property when transported internationally or via air cargo. Examples as listed in 49 CFR are provided in Attachment A.

HM/DG Shipping - The shipping of dangerous goods covered by this policy can be defined as any staff, faculty, student or agent of the University that offers a hazardous material for shipment via carrier such as, but not limited to, United States Postal Service (USPS), Fed Ex, United Parcel Service,Trucking Company, etc. or transportation by staff, faculty, student, or agents of the University in University or personal vehicles. The regulation applies to both domestic and international shipments regardless of mode of transportation,be it by land, air or sea.

Activities that meet the definition of shipping hazardous materials are,

  • Mailing an item off campus, out of state, or out of the U.S.
  • Shipping an item off campus, out of state, or out of the U.S. via a carrier such as Fed Ex, United Parcel Service, Express Mail, etc.

Note: It is prohibited to carry an item with you when you travel, for example on an airplane, PSU shuttle, bus, etc.


All PSU faculty, staff, and students shall comply with the established hazardous material shipping procedures outlined within this policy when shipping or transporting hazardous materials.

All international shipments of hazardous materials shall be routed to the University Export Compliance Officer ( for review and approval prior to submission of a request for shipment through EHS. Any questions regarding the applicability of U.S. Export Control requirements should be directed to the University Export Compliance Officer.


  • Budget executives and budget administrators shall ensure that all individuals in their area are familiar with the provisions of this policy.
  • Supervisors (department chairs, faculty and other employees with direct oversight of University employees or students) shall ensure that each employee under their supervision who ships hazardous materials will comply with this Policy.
  • Employees and students shall ensure that their activities comply with any and all safety policies and procedures mandated by this policy.
  • Environmental Health and Safety will:
    • Package and label materials, and prepare paperwork for shipment,
    • Arrange for shipment of materials,
    • Provide appropriate training,
    • Provide any specialized shipping containers and labeling materials as required,
    • Conduct audits to ensure compliance with regulations, and
    • Maintain records.


For shipments of hazardous materials at non-UP locations, call EHS (814)865-6391.

For shipments of hazardous materials at University Park campus:

  • Laboratory/facility personnel who ship hazardous materials shall determine applicability of the Policy and, if appropriate, contact EHS, 6 Eisenhower Parking Deck, University Park, (814) 865-6391 or EHS Website , at least 24 hr in advance, to request a shipment. Laboratory/facility personnel shall:
  1. Review and comply with Hazardous Materials Shipping Guidelines ,
  2. Provide detailed, accurate information to assist EHS on the proper classification of the material in addition to making arrangements for times and locations to meet with EHS personnel,
  3. Fill out a Shipper's Certification Form,
  4. Establish an account with the shipping carrier that they will be using.

The spill or discharge of any hazardous material must be reported to EHS immediately. In the event of an emergency, call 911.


For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Director of Environmental Health and Safety.


Other Policies in this manual should also be referenced, especially the following:

AD89 – University Export Compliance Policy

RA40 - Compliance with Federal Export Regulations

RP11 - Use of Biohazardous Materials in Research and Instruction

SY01 - Environmental Health and Safety Policy

SY04 - Employee Accidents - Reporting and Investigation

SY14 - Use of Radioactive Materials

SY20 - Hazardous Waste Disposal



Most recent changes:

  • January 13, 2023 - Editorial change to update Subject Matter Expert and Policy Steward.

Revision History (and effective dates):

  • November 17, 2021 - Subject Matter Expert changed.

  • June 21, 2018 - Editorial change. In CROSS REFERENCES, updated link to Policy RP11, Use of Biohazardous Materials in Research and Instruction.

  • August 7, 2015 - Editorial change. In CROSS REFERENCES, added a link to Policy AD89, University Export Compliance Policy.
  • June 10, 2014 - Editorial changes. Updated links in REFERENCES. Updated POLICY section with instructions for routing of international shipments of hazardous materials through the University Export Control Program. Added policy steward/ further information references, in the event that there are questions or requests for changes to the policy.
  • May 3, 2006 - New policy and link to new attachment (Attachment A) that expands on the policy.

Date Approved: 

June 21, 2018

Date Published: 

June 21, 2018

Effective Date: 

June 21, 2018