Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT)

Source Department of Transportation
File Size
Dates Covered 1971 – March 2014
Categories: ,


The HAZMAT database contains the incident reports of unintentional releases of hazardous materials for all modes of transportation (air, highway, railway, and water). The Hazardous Materials Incident Report Subsystem is maintained by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration in the Department of Transportation.

The Hazardous Materials Incident Reports were established in 1971 to fulfil the requirements of the Federal hazardous materials transportation law. Part 171 of Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, contains the incident reporting requirements for carriers of hazardous materials. An unintentional release of hazardous materials meeting the criteria set forth in Section 171.16, 49 CFR, must be reported.

You can access and download the data (as a CSV) on the PHMSA website here: https://hazmatonline.phmsa.dot.gov/IncidentReportsSearch/Note that the default option is to only export the most requested fields, but you can also export all of the fields.

Record layouts and samples of this database

Main documentation (NICAR_readme.txt) 7.3 KB
Form 5800.1 (Form 5800.1.pdf) 66.2 KB

Related Tipsheets

  • Quick Transportation Sites
    Fallik lists Web sites for researching transportation including crash and accident data, trucking, hazardous materials, airlines, railroads, school bus safety and FAA.

Related Stories

  • Safety on Hold: The Hidden Dangers in Airline Cargo
    The Federal Aviation Administration has failed to control hazardous materials violations by air carriers. Hazardous cargo often travels aboard commercial as well as cargo carriers.
  • Transporting Hazardous Materials
    Los Angeles Times conducts a data-base study of 68,000 hazardous materials incidents from around the United States, and finds the number has risen 37 percent from 1982 to 1991; injuries to people as a result of truck spills rose 374 percent, and almost all of the deaths–106 out of 108–involved tanker trucks; gasoline, ammonia and sulfuric acid are the most dangerous liquids transported; gives account of a railway accident that dumped weed killer into the Sacramento River, killing virtually every organism along the river for miles; gives account of the death of a whole family as a result of a gasoline truck accident, Sept. 20, 1992.
  • Derailed Lives
    “A train derailment and fatal chemical spill on Jan. 18, 2002, in Minot, N.D., exposed the vulnerability of our nation’s transportation of common but hazardous agricultural chemical,” the Forum reports. The story depict the disaster — known as the largest spill of anhydrous ammonia, a farm fertilizer — in the world but also investigates its causes. The main findings are that pre-1989 railroad tanker cars are susceptible to puncturing in accidents in cold weather; tracks often contain a number of defects; and rescue workers and hospitals are ill-prepared for disasters.
  • Toxic Cargo; Crowded Inland Rails at Risk for Dangerous Chemical Spills
    The investigation showed that Inland Southern California faces increasing risk of toxic spills from freight trains carrying chlorine, anhydrous ammonia and other deadly chemicals. The authors found a public unaware of the risk, local authorities unprepared and an industry with a questionable safety record.
  • Industry vs. Environment: Air of Concern; Unclear Future
    A Press-Enterprise series showing how Riverside County, Calif. government fostered and subsidized polluting industries in a community that already had some of the worst air pollution in the nation, which was found to be hurting the health of the community’s children.