Transporting Dangerous Goods

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) enforces the Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR 171-180), which applies to preparing or offering hazardous materials for shipment within the U.S.  The International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulates hazardous materials being shipped by air.  IATA and the international community use the term "dangerous goods" rather than "hazardous materials."  For the sake of simplicity, this site will use only the term "dangerous goods."

"Dangerous Goods" is a broad term that includes materials which pose radioactive, chemical, biological, or physical hazards.  Most hazardous chemicals, compressed gases, infectious agents, dry ice, lithium batteries, and many other items are considered to be "dangerous goods."  

At Appalachian, researchers and others may occasionally have the need to ship dangerous goods.  All shippers of dangerous goods must be trained and certified in accordance with DOT (for ground shipments within the U.S.) or IATA (for all air shipments).
Non-infectious clinical specimens (e.g. blood or excreta from normal healthy humans and animals) are not regulated as dangerous goods and thus do not require DOT or IATA training and certification.  However, clinical specimens do have very specific packing requirements.  Click here for more information from the NCDHHS on packing and shipping clinical specimens.
DOT is vigilantly reviewing companies, carriers, and academic organizations for compliance with shipping requirements.  Fiscal and civil penalties can be incurred for non-compliance, as well as delay of shipments that may be critical to research projects. 
Please note that all costs associated with shipping dangerous goods, including any fines incurred, are the responsibility of the department or research project shipping the material.

Shipping Within North Carolina

Small quantities of dangerous goods may be transported within the State of North Carolina by App State employees under the following circumstances:
  • Transport is done by a State employee.
  • Transport will occur only on N.C. State roads.
  • Transport will use a State vehicle.
  • Only State employees will be in the vehicle.
  • All persons in the vehicle have current hazard communication or laboratory standard training regarding the material being transported.
  • The container is clearly labeled with appropriate hazard notifications as required by OSHA.
  • A vehicle accident or a release of the material being transported would not present an immediate danger to life, health, or the environment.
Shipments that do not meet all of the above criteria must be shipped as described for Out-of-State shipments.
Additionally, when transporting dangerous goods themselves, employees must ensure that:
  • The material is transported with a secondary container capable of preventing and/or containing a spill.
  • Spill response materials sufficient to clean up the material is carried inside the vehicle.
  • Any personal protective equipment necessary to clean up the spill safely is carried in the vehicle (preferably in an area away from the dangerous good itself).
  • A responsible person (e.g. supervisor) is made aware of the route of travel and the estimated arrival time, and is notified upon departure and arrival.
All costs associated with shipping dangerous goods are the responsibility of the department or research project shipping the material.
App State personnel are highly discouraged from personally transporting materials that represent a significant hazard to themselves or the environment, regardless of the State exemption described above. When a significant hazard exists, employees should follow the Out-of-State shipping instructions below.

Shipping Outside North Carolina

To ship dangerous goods to U.S. locations outside North Carolina, App State personnel have two options:
  1. Hire a DOT/IATA-certified shipper to package and ship the material; or
  2. Obtain certification to package and ship the material themselves. IATA certification is required for all air transport or transport outside the United States. DOT or IATA is required for all ground transport within the United States. All costs associated with obtaining DOT or IATA certification will be borne by the employee's department or research project. Employees who obtain DOT or IATA certification should be sure to keep proof of their certification, as well as sending a copy to the Safety & WC Office. 
All costs associated with shipping dangerous goods are the responsibility of the department or research project shipping the material.
Shipments to locations outside the United States may be subject to export control requirements as well. Such shipments should be planned well in advance with the shipper and the App State Office of Research.


The following resources are provided as convenience to App State employees, and should not be construed as an endorsement of or requirement to use these service providers.
  • DOT/IATA-certified shippers that serve Watauga County include:
    • None at this time (please notify EHS&EM if you locate one).
 For More Information
Questions that are not answered by this website: contact the University Industrial Hygienist.


Updated June 7, 2021

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