DOE Guidance for Packaging Certified by the Manufacturer 
(posted 6/7/2023 )

This guidance applies only to DOE elements or persons working under contract to DOE elements

DOE elements means programs, operations offices, field/site offices, and other organizational units of the Department of Energy, excluding those of the National Nuclear Security Administration.  The list of DOE elements is hereexternal (link to DOE Directives website).

The following guidance is provided by the DOE Packaging Certification Program (PCP) for consistency with the regulatory terms used by DOT in their responses to formal requests for clarification of §178.350 and related sections.

The term "self-certified" packaging is commonly used to describe DOT Specification 7A Type A packaging that does not require independent certification of the package design by DOT, the US Competent Authority (Ref. §173.403 definition for "Type A package").

DOT refers to this packaging as “packaging certified by the manufacturer” and clarified the meaning of this term in a 2020 letter  (dot_phmsa2020):  “The packaging manufacturer is the person certifying that the package meets all requirements of §178.350 including the applicable requirements of Subpart B of Part 173, §§173.403, 173.410, 173.412, 173.415, and 173.465, as well as §§178.2 and 178.3.”  This letter also clarified that person certifying the package and applying the package markings may be the actual packaging manufacturer or the offeror. 

The 2020 DOT letter is consistent with a previous letter issued by DOT in 2003 (dot_phmsa_2003b): “ … the manufacturer function of placing the required specification markings on the packaging can be performed by the packaging manufacturer or by the user.  Placing the required DOT specification markings identified in §178.350; that is, "USA DOT 7 A Type A" and "Radioactive Material", on the packaging certifies that the packaging was designed and constructed in full conformance with the requirements referenced in Part 173. Section 178.2(b)(2) states that a manufacturer of a packaging is primarily responsible for compliance with the Part 178 requirements.  However, any person who performs a function prescribed in Part 178 shall perform that function in accordance with this part.  Therefore, by contractual agreement, certification may be performed by the user.  The user must have a copy of all documentation required to support that the packaging meets the DOT 7 A specification. In either case, the user must maintain the complete packaging documentation on file in accordance with §173.415.”

For additional formal responses by DOT to §178.350 marking related questions, see also dot_phmsa2005 and  dot_phmsa2009.

For questions or comments contact DOE PCP Manager, Dr. Shuler, (301) 903-5513,

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