Shipping hazardous materials is a very risky, yet essential part of our society. The need for fuel, cleansers, medicines, and other such materials makes it necessary to find safe ways to transport large amounts of hazardous material. Because of the inherent danger in such tasks, many different regulations and rules have been set up to protect the drivers, the consumer, and the entire population.
These rules include guidelines of who can ship the materials, what the containers have to be made of, what roads can be taken for certain loads, and other such rules. Of these regulations, the most important for you to take note of is the proper documentation. It is these official documents that show others what is being shipped, and certify that you have acted within the guidelines of existing regulations. Having the right documents on file in an organized fashion can make the entire process of shipping dangerous loads a lot easier, and far safer.
Types of Documentation
Just as there are many different hazardous substances that can be shipped, and there are also many different kinds of documents that must be properly filled out to make your shipment legal and safe. The following is a list of a few of these documents:
- Hazmat Shipping Form Flags. These are basically large stickers that should be placed on the files that coincide with dangerous materials. This will allow the underlying paperwork to stand out and harder to ignore.
- Hazmat Shipping Forms Sheets. Including these pressure sensitive paper labels with your paperwork will provide compliance with all existing regulations, and can streamline the process of inspections.
- IMO Dangerous Goods Declaration. This is one of the most important forms to have on file, and will be needed with just about every hazardous shipment. The form includes specific information such as commodity, hazard classification, shipper, receiver, point of origin, and final destination of the load.
- Multi-Modal Dangerous Goods Form. This form is needed on any shipment that will endure multiple forms of transportation. Shipments that will be driven, flown, and shipped on boats will need a form of this nature to ease the transition between each leg of the journey.
- Shippers Declaration for Dangerous Goods. Any dangerous shipment that will be traveling by air or that will be taking a trip across national borders will need a form of this nature. It is also suggested by the Department of Transportation that these forms be flagged with the Hazmat shipping form flags.
- Straight Bill of Lading. Shipments containing a mixture of hazardous cargo and non-dangerous materials will need a form of this nature to differentiate between the two.
- Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest. The DOT and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) both require this form for any shipment of hazardous waste. The form should include information about the material, instructions for handling, the source of the material, and the signatures of everyone involved in the disposal process.
It can be a lot of work to get the right forms and have them filled out and signed in the correct ways, but don’t for a minute think the regulations are there to create busy work. These forms and steps are vital to ensure the safety of many people involved in hazardous material transportation. Having a simple way to access and fill out these forms could make the job a lot easier.
Transportation Document Management
With all of the different material transport forms that are needed for each new shipment of dangerous substances, it is important for these companies to have a good way to find and fill out all of the necessary documentation.
The offices that are still relying on large filing cabinets of blank paper forms are working with an antiquated system. Relying on paper forms can cause a lot of bulky storage materials, and can create issues with losing master copies of important documents. With the major advances happening in the tech world, there are now much better options for organizing these needed forms.
Going paperless with the use of document management software (or DMS) can make it far easier to store and access all of the needed paperwork. With a few clicks of a mouse, it will be possible to see which forms are needed for each transport, and those forms can then be accessed, filled out, and printed. A task that once took hours can be done in a matter of minutes with the help of the right program.
eFileCabinet is the Way to Go
There are a number of different companies out there who can provide the virtual library storing functions that are being discussed here, but none of them handles transportation documentation as well as eFileCabinet.
Their DMS programs can provide simple way to store all of the information needed for shipping, like the documents listed above, as well as many other important documents. The implementation of this one system can help store invoices, receipts, inventory, tax information, and many other forms that are needed for the business side of the transportation world.
Companies that ship hazardous material for a living must take the task of being organized and documented very seriously. Utilizing programs of this nature will increase organization, productivity, and safety for everyone involved in the transportation process from beginning to end.