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Applicability of HMR for government contract work



Regulation summary

Section 171.8 establishes definitions and abbreviations of the hazardous materials regulations (HMR).


In this scenario, a Wisconsin county department contracts with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to maintain state roadways. The operations include the transportation and application of asphalt to state roadways by county employees. The county asks if they are excepted from the HMR.

In this interpretation, PHMSA addresses the definition of a “person” and the applicability of the HMR for government contract work.

Interpretation summary

In interpretation Ref. No. 05-0143, PHMSA advises that the HMR apply to entities covered by the definition of “person” in 171.8, which includes a government entity offering hazardous materials for transportation in commerce or transporting hazardous materials in furtherance of a commercial enterprise.

  • The HMR do not apply to government employees who are transporting hazardous materials in vehicles operated by government personnel for non-commercial purposes.
  • The HMR do not apply even if one government entity reimburses the other for services rendered.
  • Provided the county does not offer the hazardous material for transportation to a commercial carrier, the HMR do not apply.