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Florida CDL Handbook: Loading and Unloading

With the Florida CDL Driver Handbook, you can study up on the issues that specifically relate to earning your CDL endorsement.

Florida CDL Handbook: Loading and Unloading

Table of Contents

9. Hazardous Materials

9.4.1 - General Loading Requirements

Before loading or unloading, set the parking brake. Make sure the vehicle will not move.

Many products become more hazardous when exposed to heat. Load hazardous materials away from heat sources.

Watch for signs of leaking or damaged containers: LEAKS SPELL TROUBLE! Do not transport leaking packages. Depending on the material, you, your truck, and others could be in danger. It is illegal to move a vehicle with leaking hazardous materials.

Containers of hazardous materials must be braced to prevent movement of the packages during transportation.

No Smoking. When loading or unloading hazardous materials, keep fire away. Don't let people smoke nearby. Never smoke around:

  • Class 1 (Explosives)
  • Class 2.1 (Flammable Gas )
  • Class 3 (Flammable Liquids)
  • Class 4 (Flammable Solids)
  • Class 5 (Oxidizers)

Secure Against Movement. Brace containers so they will not fall, slide, or bounce around during transportation. Be very careful when loading containers that have valves or other fittings. All hazardous materials packages must be secured during transportation.

After loading, do not open any package during your trip. Never transfer hazardous materials from one package to another while in transit. You may empty a cargo tank, but do not empty any other package while it is on the vehicle.
Cargo Heater Rules. There are special cargo heater rules for loading:

  • Class 1 (Explosives)
  • Class 2.1 (Flammable Gas )
  • Class 3 (Flammable Liquids)

The rules usually forbid use of cargo heaters, including automatic cargo heater/air conditioner units. Unless you have read all the related rules, don't load the above products in a cargo space that has a heater.

Use Closed Cargo Space. You cannot have overhang or tailgate loads of:

  • Class 1 (Explosives)
  • Class 4 (Flammable Solids)
  • Class 5 (Oxidizers)

You must load these hazardous materials into a closed cargo space unless all packages are:

  • Fire and water resistant.
  • Covered with a fire and water resistant tarp.

Precautions for Specific Hazards

Class 1 (Explosives) Materials. Turn your engine off before loading or unloading any explosives. Then check the cargo space. You must:

  • Disable cargo heaters. Disconnect heater power sources and drain heater fuel tanks.
  • Make sure there are no sharp points that might damage cargo. Look for bolts, screws, nails, broken side panels, and broken floorboards.
  • Use a floor lining with Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 (Class A or B Explosives). The floors must be tight and the liner must be either non-metallic material or non-ferrous metal.

Use extra care to protect explosives. Never use hooks or other metal tools. Never drop, throw, or roll packages. Protect explosive packages from other cargo that might cause damage.

Do not transfer a Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 (Class A or B Explosive) from one vehicle to another on a public roadway except in an emergency. If safety requires an emergency transfer, set out red warning reflectors, flags, or electric lanterns. You must warn others on the road.

Never transport damaged packages of explosives. Do not take a package that shows any dampness or oily stain.

Do not transport Class 1.1 or 1.2 in vehicle combinations if:

  • There is a marked or placarded cargo tank in the combination.
  • The other vehicle in the combination contains:
    • Division 1.1 A (Initiating Explosives).
    • Packages of Class 7 (Radioactive) materials labeled "Yellow III."
    • Division 2.3 (Poisonous Gas) or Division 6.1 (Poisonous) materials.
    • Hazardous materials in a portable tank, on a DOT Spec 106A or 110A tank.

Class 4 (Flammable Solids) and Class 5 (Oxidizers) Materials. Class 4 materials are solids that react (including fire and explosion) to water, heat, and air or even react spontaneously.

Class 4 and 5 materials must be completely enclosed in a vehicle or covered securely. Class 4 and 5 materials, which become unstable and dangerous when wet, must be kept dry while in transit and during loading and unloading. Materials that are subject to spontaneous combustion or heating must be in vehicles with sufficient ventilation.

Class 8 (Corrosive) Materials. If loading by hand, load breakable containers of corrosive liquid one by one. Keep them right side up. Do not drop or roll the containers. Load them onto an even floor surface. Stack carboys only if the lower tiers can bear the weight of the upper tiers safely.

Do not load nitric acid above any other product.

Load charged storage batteries so their liquid won't spill. Keep them right side up. Make sure other cargo won't fall against or short circuit them.

Never load corrosive liquids next to or above:

  • Division 1.4 (Explosives C).
  • Division 4.1 (Flammable Solids).
  • Division 4.3 (Dangerous When Wet).
  • Class 5 (Oxidizers).
  • Division 2.3, Zone B (Poisonous Gases).

Never load corrosive liquids with:

  • Division 1.1 or 1.2 (Explosives A).
  • Division 1.2 or 1.3 (Explosives B).
  • Division 1.5 (Blasting Agents).
  • Division 2.3, Zone A (Poisonous Gases).
  • Division 4.2 (Spontaneously Combustible Materials).
  • Division 6.1, PGI, Zone A (Poison Liquids).

Class 2 (Compressed Gases) Including Cryogenic Liquids. If your vehicle doesn't have racks to hold cylinders, the cargo space floor must be flat. The cylinders must be:

  • Held upright.
  • In racks attached to the vehicle or in boxes that will keep them from turning over.

Cylinders may be loaded in a horizontal position (lying down) if it is designed so the relief valve is in the vapor space.

Division 2.3 (Poisonous Gas) or Division 6.1 (Poisonous) Materials. Never transport these materials in containers with interconnections. Never load a package labeled POISON or POISON INHALATION HAZARD in the driver's cab or sleeper or with food material for human or animal consumption. There are special rules for loading and unloading Class 2 materials in cargo tanks. You must have special training to do this.

Class 7 (Radioactive) Materials. Some packages of Class 7 (Radioactive) materials bear a number called the "transport index." The shipper labels these packages Radioactive II or Radioactive III, and prints the package's transport index on the label. Radiation surrounds each package, passing through all nearby packages. To deal with this problem, the number of packages you can load together is controlled. Their closeness to people, animals, and unexposed film is also controlled. The transport index tells the degree of control needed during transportation. The total transport index of all packages in a single vehicle must not exceed 50.Table A to this section shows rules for each transport index. It shows how close you can load Class 7 (Radioactive) materials to people, animals, or film. For example, you can't leave a package with a transport index of 1.1 within two feet of people or cargo space walls.

Do Not Load Table
Do Not Load In The Same Vehicle With
Division 6.1 or 2.3 (POISON or poison inhalation hazard labeled material).Animal or human food unless the poison package is over packed in an approved way. Foodstuffs are anything you swallow. However, mouthwash, toothpaste, and skin creams are not foodstuff.
Division 2.3 (Poisonous)gas
Zone A or Division 6.1 (Poison) liquids, PGI, Zone A.
Division 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 Explosives, Division 5.1 (Oxidizers), Class 3 (Flammable Liquids), Class 8 (Corrosive Liquids), Division 5.2 (Organic Peroxides), Division 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 Explosives, Division 1.5 (Blasting Agents), Division 2.1 (Flammable Gases), Class 4 (Flammable Solids).
Charged storage batteries.Division 1.1.
Class 1 (Detonating primers).Any other explosives unless in authorized containers or packages.
Division 6.1 (Cyanides or cyanide mixtures).Acids, corrosive materials, or other acidic materials which could release hydrocyanic acid . For Example: Cyanides, Inorganic, n.o.s. Silver Cyanide Sodium Cyanide.
Nitric acid (Class 8).Other materials unless the nitric acid is not loaded above any other material.

Figure 9.9

Mixed loads. The rules require some products to be loaded separately. You cannot load them together in the same cargo space. Figure 9.9 lists some examples. The regulations (the Segregation Table for Hazardous Materials) name other materials you must keep apart.

Subsection 9.4
Test Your Knowledge

  1. Around which hazard classes must you never smoke?
  2. Which three hazard classes should not be loaded into a trailer that has a heater/air conditioner unit?
  3. Should the floor liner required for Division 1.1 or 1.2 materials be stainless steel?
  4. At the shipper's dock you're given a paper for 100 cartons of battery acid. You already have 100 pounds of dry Silver Cyanide on board. What precautions do you have to take?
  5. Name a hazard class that uses transport indexes to determine the amount that can be loaded in a single vehicle.

These questions may be on your test. If you can't answer them all, re-read subsection 9.4.

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