What is ORM-D?

Last blog post I spoke about hazmat, aka hazardous materials. These are dangerous goods that pose a risk to users as well as areas where they are stored/put-to-use.

But when you think about it, “dangerous goods” is kind of a broad category. Certainly there are gradients of danger.

Well, there is and that is where ORM-D comes in.

Like the NFPA 704 hazard diamond used to denote hazmat products, the ORM-D symbol is a warning label. However, it signifies a much lower level of danger. If you see the ORM-D sign it pertains to mailing or shipping. ORM-D stands for (O)ther (R)egulated (M)aterials for (D)omestic transport only.

On many SkyGeek product pages you will see the ORM-D symbol; this means the product contains hazardous materials. But here’s the main point: ORM-D contains hazmat in limited quantity. Thus, you could say that ORM-D is a water-downed version of a hazmat.

So what kinds of products carry ORM-D? Not hardware or tools that’s for sure. But lighters and certain fuels do (even perfume and small arms ammunition). SkyGeek sells a lot of chemicals and substances and some of these products come in aerosol cans. Bingo. Aerosol cans are often labeled ORM-D.

Let’s use a best seller from our site as an example.

The Plexus 13 oz Aerosol Can contains the ORM-D symbol. But wait: you’ll notice that the symbol has another symbol right next to it, “DOT” (See Figure 1). That just refers to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the department responsible for handling hazmat-related issues. Actually, if you want to be more technical, an agency within the DOT works closely with dangerous goods transportation, i.e. the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). Under CFR Title 49, the PHMSA has jurisdiction over the transportation of hazardous materials, including ORM-D.


Figure 1 – Location of ORM-D symbol on a SkyGeek product page. (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

Sorry for the tangent. Back to the Plexus…

As mentioned, the ORM-D symbol—as well as the DOT symbol—can be found on applicable product pages. Where? To the right of the image (See Figure 1) and above the “Add to Cart” button. But you’ll notice that there is more information accompanying these symbols. The MSDS document has been discussed in a previous post; the “Details” link was discussed in the hazmat post.

What’s left? Code, Class, and Group.

The Code for Plexus is UN1950; “UN” refers to the United Nations’ Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods. This committee, as the name implies, handles hazmat in regards to international transport; hence this code does not directly relate to ORM-D(omestic). Still, just in case you are wondering (come on, there HAS to be some safety geeks out there), UN1950 is described as “Aerosols, corrosive, Packing Group II or III, (each not exceeding 1 L capacity) or Aerosols, flammable (each not exceeding 1 L capacity) or Aerosols, flammable, n.o.s. (engine starting fluid) (each not exceeding 1 L capacity) or Aerosols, nonflammable (each not exceeding 1 L capacity) or Aerosols, poison, each not exceeding 1 L capacity.”


Placard for products with Class 2.1 designation. (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

The Class for Plexus is 2.1. This refers to the hazmat nature of the product. Class 2 refers to gases and contains divisions (or sub-sections); products labeled 2.1 are considered flammable gases.

The Group is short for Packing Group. According to the Environmental Health & Safety page on NC State University’s website, packing groups “indicate the degree of risk a hazardous material may pose in transport in relation to other materials in that hazard class.” Since Plexus is Group II it is considered a “moderate danger,” as opposed to low (Group III) and high (Group I).

Speaking of packing, I found this clip that shows the proper method for shipping ORM-D:

Notice the ORM-D sticker placed on the package (around the 1:00 mark).

So there you have it – ORM-D explained once and for all.

*Thanks to “Jeff Smith” for uploading that interesting, “behind-the-scenes” video on Youtube.

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About Skylar

Woah! This is Skylar. I am THEE Sky Geek. I like planes, trains, and automobiles, but really just planes. I love aviation and anything related to it. If you shop on our site you will see my mug plastered throughout since I am the official mascot. I enjoy talking to Sandy, Otto, and Mach since they share my passion for flight. Researching for news and events and other information that affects our customers is what I can't wait to nose dive into. The sky's the limitless!