Re: Hazmat Placards

Dave Parker


I have the same ICC publication as you.  It includes a diagram of the early (earliest) INFLAMMABLE placard:  that word in red, the rest in black, and on a diamond that is 10.75" on a side.  It also include the ACID diamond, but for some reason that was only 8.5" on a side.

For some reason, the ARA (MCB) started requiring the placard holders somewhat earlier.  The 1920 Specifications for Tank Cars included rule 18-A, but only for Class III and IV cars.  It specified "suitable boards for attaching placards prescribed by the Interstate Commerce Commission...of sufficient size to permit placards to be applied with the opposite points of the diamond in vertical and horizontal positions..." .  So the boards could be either square or in the diamond orientation, as long as they could accommodate the placards.  This reg predates the ICC rule by two or three years; perhaps the ARA knew it was in the pipeline. 

I can find no mention of these placards in the earlier MCB Specifications (1917, 1918).

Note that the metal-frame holders that allowed the standard placards to be dropped into place (rather than tacked) were mandated on newly built cars, and on  those receiving general repairs, with an effective date of Oct 14, 1932.  This is according to the 1938 Code of Federal Regulations.

Dave Parker
Riverside, CA

On Friday, June 16, 2017 3:53 AM, "'Richard W. Chapin' rwc27q@... [STMFC]" wrote:

I have a copy of “Transportation of Explosives and Other Dangerous Articles by Freight including Specifications for Shipping Containers”, issued 12/11/1922, effective 1/1/1923. Required by a 3/4/1921 amendment to the Transportation Act of 1920. This is a ICC publication of regulations [actually labelled as “Freight Tariff No.1”.
Article 700 is “Labels” and shows required placards [classic diamonds]; red for inflammable liquids & gases, yellow for inflammable solids, white for acids & corrosives, white with red letters for poison gases and green for non-inflammable gases. These required on packaging.
Article 900 is required “Placarding of Cars”, but this has illustrations for explosives, poison gas, inflammable liquids and acids only. The last two are diamonds like the packaging, while the first two are rectangles.
So, 1/1/1923 is an official date for placards.  I note colors noted above are currently used [e.g., yellow flammable solid]
So, did the diamond come for the law requiring these regs? Or perhaps from a prior Bureau of Explosives document? I have found articles that say railroads required labels for Dangerous Goods in 1910, but have yet to find any specifics on that.
Rich Chapin
27 Quincy Rd
Basking Ridge, NJ 07920-2222

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