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DOT Labels

By Graphic Products Editorial Staff

stock DOT example

49 CFR 172.400 specifies that the Department of Transportation (D.O.T.) Labels must be used for hazardous materials when they are being transported. It requires that any person who offers a hazardous material for transportation must label the package or containment device. Labels may also be affixed to packages when they not specifically required by regulations, provided each label represents a hazard of the material contained in the package.

The OSHA Hazard Communication Standard requires that GHS labels be applied on all hazardous material containers. The D.O.T. labels discussed here do not meet GHS requirements and are required by the D.O.T. in addition to GHS labels. These labels must meet the D.O.T. labeling specifications given in 49 CFR 172 section 400. If you are shipping hazardous materials you should be familiar with the D.O.T. labeling requirements (49 CFR 172.400) for the materials you are shipping.

49 CFR 172.407 provides the specifications for D.O.T. Labels.

We'll be covering the basics of the D.O.T. label specifications. If you are using a DuraLabel printer and the appropriate DuraLabel supplies, you will be able to make D.O.T. Labels that comply with all of the D.O.T. labeling requirements.

D.O.T. Label Durability

172.407(a) requires that all D.O.T. labels be durable and weather resistant. All D.O.T. labels must be able to withstand, without deterioration or a substantial change in color, a 30-day exposure to the worst case conditions that can result during transportation of the container. Exposure to outdoor weather conditions is a tough environment for labels. Sun fades the printing. Moisture results in adhesive failure. Wind dries and cracks the label. That's why DuraLabel vinyl is tough-tested to ensure survival in the harshest environments. With DuraLabel vinyl you not only get a warranty on the vinyl, but you also get a five year warranty on the D.O.T. Labels you make. No other brand offers the security and peace of mind that labels made with a DuraLabel printer give you.

Call us today or visit the DuraLabel store for more information about DuraLabel printers and supplies.

D.O.T. Label Design

Section 172.411 through 172.448 show the designs for specific types of labels. The printing, inner border and symbols shown in these designs must be used. D.O.T. Labels must be diamond shaped and be at least 3.9 inches (100mm) on each side. There must be a solid line inner border, located 0.2 to 0.25 inches (5.0 to 6.3 mm) from the edge of the label.

D.O.T. labels must have the hazard class number, or the division number, printed in a font that is at least 6.3 mm (0.25 inches) and not greater than 12.7 mm (0.5 inches) in height. When text identifying the hazard is displayed on a label, the label name must be shown in letters measuring at least 7.6 mm (0.3 inches) in height. For materials that are spontaneously combustible, or that are dangerous when wet, the words "Spontaneously" and "When Wet" must be shown in letters measuring at least 5.1 mm (0.2 inches) in height.

The symbol printed on each D.O.T. label must be proportionate in size as shown in the 172.411 through 172.448 examples. If the label has a green, red or blue background, the text, numbers and symbol should be printed in white. Otherwise the printing should be in black.

All of the colors must be able to withstand, without substantial change, a 72-hour fadeometer test and all colors me match those specified in 49 CFR 172. The following Pantone colors may be used:

Red - Use PANTONE186 U
Orange - Use PANTONE 151 U
Yellow - Use PANTONE 109 U
Green - Use PANTONE 335 U
Blue - Use PANTONE 285 U
Purple - Use PANTONE 259 U

D.O.T. Labels - Design Specifications

The following is an overview summary of the D.O.T. label design specifications given in 49 CFR 172. For the complete design specifications, please see the 49 CFR 172 D.O.T. standards.

172.411 - EXPLOSIVE

Except for size and color, the EXPLOSIVE 1.1, EXPLOSIVE 1.2 and EXPLOSIVE 1.3 D.O.T. labels must be as follows:

DOT Explosive diamond

The background color on the EXPLOSIVE 1.1, EXPLOSIVE 1.2 and EXPLOSIVE 1.3 labels must be orange. The "**" must be replaced with the appropriate division number and compatibility group letter. The compatibility group letter must be the same size as the division number and must be shown as a capitalized Roman letter.

Except for size and color, the EXPLOSIVE 1.4, EXPLOSIVE 1.5 and EXPLOSIVE 1.6 D.O.T. labels must be as follows:

DOT Explosive diamond 1.4DOT Explosive diamond 1.5DOT Explosive diamond 1.6

The background color on the EXPLOSIVE 1.4, EXPLOSIVE 1.5 and EXPLOSIVE 1.6 label must be orange. The "*" must be replaced with the appropriate compatibility group. The compatibility group letter must be shown as a capitalized Roman letter. Division numbers must measure at least 30 mm (1.2 inches) in height and at least 5 mm (0.2 inches) in width.

An EXPLOSIVE subsidiary label is required for materials identified in Column (6) of the Hazard Materials Table as having an explosive subsidiary hazard. The division number or compability group letter may be displayed on the subsidiary hazard label. Except for size and color, the EXPLOSIVE subsidiary label must be as follows:

DOT Explosive blank

172.415 NON-FLAMMABLE GAS label

DOT Non-Flammable Gas

The background color on the NON-FLAMMABLE GAS label must be green.

172.416 POISON GAS label

DOT Inhalation Hazard Sign

The background on the POISON GAS label and the symbol must be white. The background of the upper diamond must be black and the lower point of the upper diamond must be 14 mm (0.54 inches) above the horizontal center line.

172.417 FLAMMABLE GAS label

DOT Flammable Gas

The background color on the FLAMMABLE GAS label must be red.

172.419 FLAMMABLE LIQUID label

DOT Flammable Gas

The background on the FLAMMABLE SOLID label must be white with vertical red stripes equally spaced on each side of a red stripe placed in the center of the label. The red vertical stripes must be spaced so that, visually, they appear equal in width to the white spaces between them. The symbol (flame) and text (when used) must be overprinted. The text "FLAMMABLE SOLID" may be placed in a white rectangle.

172.422 SPONTANEOUSLY COMBUSTIBLE label

DOT Spontaneously Combustible Label

The background color on the lower half of the SPONTANEOUSLY COMBUSTIBLE label must be red and the upper half must be white.

172.423 DANGEROUS WHEN WET label

DOT Dangerous When Wet Sign

The background color on the DANGEROUS WHEN WET label must be blue.

172.426 OXIDIZER label

DOT Oxidizer Sign

The background color on the OXIDIZER label must be yellow.

172.427 ORGANIC PEROXIDE label

DOT Peroxide Sign

The background on the ORGANIC PEROXIDE label must be red in the top half and yellow in the lower half.

172.429 POISON INHALATION HAZARD label

DOT Poison Inhalation Hazard Sign

The background on the POISON INHALATION HAZARD label and the symbol must be white. The background of the upper diamond must be black and the lower point of the upper diamond must be 14 mm (0.54 inches) above the horizontal center line.

172.430 POISON label

DOT Poison Hazard Sign

The background on the POISON label must be white. The word "TOXIC" may be used in lieu of the word "POISON".

172.432 INFECTIOUS SUBSTANCE label

DOT Infectious Substance Sign

The background on the INFECTIOUS SUBSTANCE label must be white. Labels conforming to requirements in place on August 18, 2011 may continue to be used until October 1, 2014.

172.436 RADIOACTIVE WHITE-I label

DOT Radioactive I Sign

The background on the RADIOACTIVE WHITE-I label must be white. The printing and symbol must be black, except for the "I" which must be red.

172.436 RADIOACTIVE YELLOW-II label

DOT Radioactive II Sign

The background color on the RADIOACTIVE YELLOW-II label must be yellow in the top half and white in the lower half. The printing and symbol must be black, except for the "II" which must be red.

172.436 RADIOACTIVE YELLOW-III label

DOT Radioactive III Sign

The background color on the RADIOACTIVE YELLOW-III label must be yellow in the top half and white in the lower half. The printing and symbol must be black, except for the "III" which must be red.

172.441 FISSILE label

DOT Fissile Sign

The background color on the FISSILE label must be white.

172.442 CORROSIVE label

DOT Corrosive Sign

The background on the CORROSIVE label must be white in the top half and black in the lower half.

172.446 CLASS 9 label

DOT Class 9 Sign

The background on the CLASS 9 label must be white with seven black vertical stripes on the top half. The black vertical stripes must be spaced, so that, visually, they appear equal in width to the six white spaces between them. The lower half of the label must be white with the class number "9" underlined and centered at the bottom. The solid horizontal line dividing the lower and upper half of the label is optional.

Labels conforming to requirements in place on August 18, 2011 may continue to be used until October 1, 2014.

172.448 CARGO AIRCRAFT ONLY label

The CARGO AIRCRAFT ONLY label must be black on an orange background. A CARGO AIRCRAFT ONLY label conforming to the specifications in this section and in 172.407(c)(2) in effect on October 1, 2008, may be used until January 1, 2013.

172.450 EMPTY label

Each side must be at least 6 inches (152 mm.) with each letter at least 1 inch (25.4 mm.) in height. The label must be white with black printing.

The information presented in this document was obtained from sources that we deem reliable; Graphic Products does not guarantee accuracy or completeness. Graphic Products, Inc. makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied. Users of this document should consult municipal, state, and federal code and/or verify all information with the appropriate regulatory agency.