HAZARD CHARACTERISTIC CODES AND DEFINITIONS
1. Number of Characters: Two
2. Type of Code: Alpha/Numeric
3. The Hazard Characteristic Code (HCC) is a two digit alpha-numeric code that is used to provide a means of
categorizing hazardous materials (HM). It is an identification and tracking mechanism which links the stock
number with details of the product hazards. HCCs are assigned by trained scientific or engineering personnel
using the data provided on the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), thereby, uniformly identifying hazardous
materials managed by all Government activities. This information is captured in the DoD Hazardous Materials
Information System (HMIS) and it allows the systemic tracking and identification for any regulatory purpose.
HCCs allow relatively untrained personnel to properly receive, handle, store, process and manage hazardous
materials at a high level and are most effective when used in conjunction with the detailed regulations of Title 10,
29, 40, and 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The HCC also serves as an identifier for automated
processing of hazardous materials transactions, space utilization management, and compatible storage.
4. Every effort has been made to associate the HCC definitions with a specific regulatory definition, principally
Title 49, but with references to Titles 29, 40 and 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Some of the HCC
definitions were developed to identify items that are believed to present certain hazards (or lack thereof) but are
not regulated by the CFRs. Such classifications (i.e. C3, C4, N1, T6) rely heavily on language contained in the
MSDS, product literature, labels, and other technical literature and are subject to interpretation by qualified
technical personnel. Questions regarding the assignment of these and the other more regulatory based HCCs
should be addressed to the appropriate HMIS Focal Point personnel.
5. Two HCCs, H1 and X1, are defined in this appendix and are only visible in certain data systems but are not
used for physical storage and are not assigned in the HMIS based on specific data from an MSDS.
6. There are three tables presented in this appendix. Table B-1 is a summarization of the HCCs with abbreviated
definitions. Table B-2 contains the complete technical definitions. Table B-3 is a listing of the HCCs in order of
preference of assignment. This table lends itself to development of hierarchical assignment programs and
decision matrices for assignment of products at storage depots. The order of ranking was developed with
consideration being given to the order of preference for hazard class assignment specified in 49 CFR 173.2a as a