When and how do I report a Hazardous Materials Incident?
The Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR 171.15 and 171.16) require you to report certain types of hazardous materials incidents. Incident reports are vital to transportation safety. The report data allows regulatory organizations to identify trends and emerging safety risks, helps to prioritize resources based on risk, and to identify repeat shippers of undeclared dangerous goods.
You are required to submit an immediate notice (within 12 hours) to the National Response Center (NRC) when any of the following incidents occur in transportation, including loading, unloading, and temporary storage:
- A person is killed;
- A person is admitted to a hospital;
- The general public is evacuated for over an hour;
- A major transportation artery or facility is shutdown or closed for more than an hour;
- The operational flight pattern of an aircraft is altered;
- Radioactive contamination occurs;
- Suspected contamination from an infectious substance (other than regulated medical waste) occurs;
- A release of a marine pollutant in excess of 450L (119 gallons) for a liquid or 400 kg (882 lbs) for a solid;
- A battery or battery-powered device catches fire, violently ruptures, or there's explosion or dangerous evolution of heat during transportation by aircraft.
You can make immediate notices to the National Response Center (NRC) by telephone at 800-424-8802 (toll free) or 202-267-2675 (toll call) or online at http://www.nrc.uscg.mil.
You are required to file a written report to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) within 30 days of the following incidents:
- Any of the circumstances listed above which require immediate notice;
- An unintentional release of a hazardous waste in any quantity;
- When a specification cargo tank with a capacity of >1000 gallons is structurally damaged;
- An undeclared hazardous material1 is discovered during transportation;
- A battery or battery-powered device catches fire, violently ruptures, there's explosion, or a dangerous evolution of heat during transportation.
1 Hazardous materials (e.g., batteries, electronics, dry ice, aerosols, consumer commodities, flammable liquid, etc.) shipped as cargo that are not properly identified (i.e., marked, labeled, ect.) by the shipper are considered "undeclared" Hazardous Materials.
Submit a report to PHMSA online or submit a written Hazardous Materials Incident Report to PHH-60, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Department of Transportation, East Building, 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.
You are required to submit a copy of the hazardous materials incident report to the FAA if the incident occurred during transportation by aircraft.
Submit a copy of the 5800 report to the FAA by emailing