U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Feb 24, 2020
(a) Strength and durability. Placards must conform to the following:
(1) A placard may be made of any plastic, metal or other material capable of withstanding, without deterioration or a substantial reduction in effectiveness, a 30-day exposure to open weather conditions.
(2) A placard made of tagboard must be at least equal to that designated commercially as white tagboard. Tagboard must have a weight of at least 80 kg (176 pounds) per ream of 610 by 910 mm (24 by 36-inch) sheets, waterproofing materials included. In addition, each placard made of tagboard must be able to pass a 414 kPa (60 p.s.i.) Mullen test.
(3) Reflective or retroreflective materials may be used on a placard if the prescribed colors, strength and durability are maintained.
(b) Design. (1) Except as provided in § 172.332 of this part, each placard must be as described in this subpart, and except for size and color, the printing, inner border and symbol must be as shown in §§ 172.521 through 172.560 of this subpart, as appropriate.
(2) The dotted line border shown on each placard is not part of the placard specification. However, a dotted or solid line outer border may be used when needed to indicate the full size of a placard that is part of a larger format or is on a background of a non-contrasting color.
(3) For other than Class 7 or the DANGEROUS placard, text indicating a hazard (for example, “FLAMMABLE”) is not required. Text may be omitted from the OXYGEN placard only if the specific identification number is displayed on the placard.
(4) For a placard corresponding to the primary or subsidiary hazard class of a material, the hazard class or division number must be displayed in the lower corner of the placard. However, a permanently affixed subsidiary placard meeting the specifications of this section which were in effect on October 1, 2001, (such as, a placard without the hazard class or division number displayed in the lower corner of the placard) and which was installed prior to September 30, 2001, may continue to be used as a subsidiary placard in domestic transportation by rail or highway, provided the color tolerances are maintained and are in accordance with the display requirements in this subchapter.
(c) Size. (1) Each diamond (square-on-point) placard prescribed in this subpart must measure at least 250 mm (9.84 inches) on each side and must have a solid line inner border approximately 12.5 mm inside and parallel to the edge. The 12.5 mm measurement is from the outside edge of the placard to the outside of the solid line forming the inner border.
(i) Transitional exceptions. A placard in conformance with the requirements of this paragraph in effect on December 31, 2014, may continue to be used until December 31, 2016.
(ii) Domestic transportation. A placard manufactured prior to January 1, 2017, in conformance with the requirements of this paragraph in effect on December 31, 2014, may continue in service until the end of its useful life provided the color tolerances are maintained and are in accordance with the display requirements of this subchapter.
(2) Except as otherwise provided in this subpart, the hazard class or division number, as appropriate, must be shown in numerals measuring at least 41 mm (1.6 inches) in height.
(3) Except as otherwise provided in this subpart, when text indicating a hazard is displayed on a placard, the printing must be in letters measuring at least 41 mm (1.6 inches) in height.
(2) Black and any color on a placard must be able to withstand, without substantial change -
(i) A 72-hour fadeometer test (for a description of equipment designed for this purpose, see ASTM G 23-69 or ASTM G 26-70); and
(ii) A 30-day exposure to open weather.
(3) Upon visual examination, a color on a placard must fall within the color tolerances displayed on the appropriate Hazardous Materials Label and Placard Color Tolerance Chart (see § 172.407(d)(4)). As an alternative, the PANTONE ® formula guide coated/uncoated as specified for colors in § 172.407(d)(5) may be used.
(4) The placard color must extend to the inner border and may extend to the edge of the placard in the area designated on each placard except the color on the CORROSIVE and RADIOACTIVE placards (black and yellow, respectively) must extend only to the inner border.
(e) Form identification. A placard may contain form identification information, including the name of its maker, provided that information is printed outside of the solid line inner border in no larger than 10-point type.
(f) Exceptions. When hazardous materials are offered for transportation or transported under the provisions of subpart C of part 171 of this subchapter, a placard conforming to the specifications in the UN Recommendations, the ICAO Technical Instructions, the IMDG Code, or the Transport Canada TDG Regulations (IBR, see § 171.7 of this subchapter) may be used in place of a corresponding placard conforming to the requirements of this subpart. However, a bulk packaging, transport vehicle, or freight container containing a material poisonous by inhalation (see § 171.8 of this subchapter) must be placarded in accordance with this subpart (see § 171.23(b)(10) of this subchapter).
(g) Trefoil symbol. The trefoil symbol on the RADIOACTIVE placard must meet the appropriate specification in appendix B of this part.