Transportation of Hazardous Materials or Dangerous Goods

Only MSU employees knowledgeable and trained in hazardous materials or dangerous goods transportation may offer hazardous materials or dangerous goods for commercial Transporation. Most commercial carriers will not accept hazardous materials or dangerous goods for transportation without proof of required training. EH&S employs individuals with the required training. Therefore, any commercial shipment of hazardous materials or dangerous goods by any MSU department or unit must be coordinated through EH&S and follow the procedure outlined in policy OP 79.09

In addition, individuals engaging in international shipments should contact the Office of Research Compliance and Security (ORC&S) before shipment occurs. Information about communicating with ORC&S can be found here.


What is Considered Hazardous Material or Dangerous Goods?

Hazardous material means a substance or material that, as determined by the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), is capable of posing an unreasonable risk to health, safety, and property when transported in commerce. The term hazardous material or hazmat is used only when referring to domestic transportation; i.e., air, water, or ground (road or rail) within the U.S. or between the U.S. and Canada or the U.S. and Mexico (49 CFR Parts 100-185).

Dangerous goods are articles or substances capable of posing a risk to health, safety, property, or the environment when transported by air, ground, or water. The term dangerous goods or DG is used when referring to international transportation.


Our Policy

OP 79.09: Transporation of Hazardous Materials or Dangerous Goods can be found at the link below. This policy aims to ensure that Mississippi State University is compliant with domestic and international regulations applicable to the commercial transportation of hazardous materials (domestic) or dangerous goods (international).


Our Procedure

General Information

Transportation of hazardous materials in a motor vehicle, aircraft, or vessel operated by a Federal, state, or local government employee solely for non-commercial Federal, state, or local government purposes is not subject to the requirements of the USDOT hazardous material regulations (49 CFR171.1(d)(5)). Examples of activities where hazardous materials are transported by MSU employees but are not subject to USDOT regulations include:

  • Transport of chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, etc. to and from main campus to off-campus MSU facility and between off-campus facilities;
  • Transport of chemicals, fertilizers, and pesticides between facilities of the main campus; and 
  • Transport of chemicals, fertilizers, and pesticides from point-of-sale (e.g., Co-Op or farm supply store) to main campus or off-campus facility.

Hazardous materials or dangerous goods shipped by common carrier (e.g., DHL, FedEx, UPS, USPS, freight line) from MSU may be subject to USDOT and/or international regulation. Only individuals knowledgeable and trained in these regulations may offer such material for transportation.

The USDOT regulations are utilized when shipping domestically by ground, while dangerous good regulations are utilized for international transportation. Additionally, USDOT authorizes domestic shipments of hazardous materials to follow international standards in lieu of 49 CPR for the transport by aircraft or vessel (49 CFR 171, Subpart C).

Specific international dangerous goods regulations by mode of transportation include: 

  1. Ground - UN Model Regulations
  2. Air - Regulations for the transportation of DG by air are given in the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulations. Note that air shippers in the United States (e.g. FedEx and UPS) utilize IATA for both international and domestic shipments.
  3. Water - Regulations for the transportation of DG by vessel are given in the International Maritime Organization (IMO) International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code.



The following are some common examples of hazardous materials shipped from MSU via a commercial carrier that may be subject to regulation:

  • Samples (chemical, pesticide, biological material) to testing laboratories;
  • Samples (chemical, pesticide, biological material) to other colleges, universities, laboratories, etc.;
  • Biological specimens preserved in a chemical agent such as formalin or ethyl alcohol;
  • Biological materials and/or specimens shipped on dry ice; and
  • Chemicals or pesticides returned to the supplier and/or manufacturer.

** Transportation of radioactive materials by any means, commercial or non-commercial, may not be carried out without prior authorization of the MSU Radiation Safety Officer**

Any MSU unit needing to ship hazardous materials or dangerous goods via commercial carrier must contact EH&S prior to offering the material to the commercial carrier. Fill out the EH&S Shipping Request form below. EH&S will need the following minimum information in order to process the material for transportation:

  • Description of the material (chemical pesticide, gas, biological material, etc.);
  • Quantity;
  • Size and type (glass, plastic, etc.) of container in which the material is to be shipped;
  • Name, address, and phone number of the individual offering the material for transportation; and
  • Name, address, and phone number of the individual to which the material is being shipped.

Depending upon the classification of the material, additional information may be requested by EH&S.

Upon receipt of the required information, EH&S will ensure the material is properly classified, marked, labeled, and packaged for transportation. EH&S will offer the completed package to the commercial carrier for transportation ensuring that all shipping documentation is properly completed. Shipping costs levied by the carrier will be the responsibility of the department/unit. EH&S maintains a small inventory of specialty packaging materials at no cost to the department/unit. However, if packaging is required that EH&S does not have in its inventory, the department/unit will be responsible for the cost of packaging. 



MSU employees offering hazardous materials or dangerous goods for transportation via commercial carrier must receive initial training in ALL requirements for classifying, marking, labeling, and packaging the material, as well as documentation requirements. Refresher training for domestic shipments (USDOT) is required every three years and, for international shipments, every two years. No MSU employee may offer hazardous materials or dangerous goods for commercial transportation without this required training. 

Though not offering a hazardous material for transportation, other MSU employees may be required to undergo training specific to their job function. Employees responsible for receiving hazardous materials from a commercial carrier must receive general awareness, function-specific, and security training. Examples include employees with the following units:

  • MSU Receiving and Property Control;
  • Facilities Management receiving;
  • College of Veterinary Medicine receiving; and 
  • Off-campus units directly receiving hazardous materials from commercial carriers.

EH&S will provide this training as applicable on an annual basis or as needed for new hires. To schedule a training, fill out the request a training form below.


International Shipping

In addition, individuals engaging in international shipments should contact the Office of Research Compliance and Security (ORC&S) before shipment occurs. For items that are to be exported, either temporarily or permanently, an export classification for items shipped and restricted party screening of the recipient should be completed by the Export Control Officer (ECO). The ECO can:

  • Assist in determining if a license is required.
  • File license applications with the appropriate U.S. agency on behalf of the university.
  • Facilitate the shipment to ensure compliance.

Individuals may contact the ORC&S at The information required is as follows:

  1. From:  senders name, citizenship, department, etc.
  2. To:  receivers name, physical address, company name, etc.
  3. Items being shipped and description
  4. Shipping means: Mississippi State Mail Services, UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc.

Dangerous Goods & Hazardous Materials shipments should be reviewed by Environmental Health & Safety.  See Policy OP 79.09

Mississippi State University’s Property, Receiving, and Mail Services will be able to assist with freight forwarding and other logistics matters. Documents or promotional items are not necessarily required to be reviewed unless they contain confidential or otherwise sensitive technologies or information.

Items to be shipped to Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, or Crimea – region of Ukraine require oversight and a license authorization, regardless of the item to be shipped. Failure to obtain a license before shipping can result in penalties.

Please contact Chris Jenkins, the ECO, at or 325-0400 with any questions or concerns.