What to Consider While Shipping Hazardous and Dangerous Goods?
Hazardous goods are harder to ship than other types of products.
There are special considerations involving their transport, including stringent declaration and customs requirements.
Let’s see what successful transportation of dangerous goods involves.
What Are Hazardous Goods?
According to the United Nations, the following goods are considered hazardous:
- Flammable solids and liquids
- Organic peroxides
- Toxic substances
- Radioactive materials
- Corrosive substances
- Infectious substances
- Miscellaneous dangerous products(anything that doesn’t fit the above categories)
If you’re transporting clinical waste, you must be a registered waste carrier. You can obtain your license from a veterinary or hospital surgery.
What Are the Regulations Surrounding Hazardous Goods Transport?
Many UK and international laws cover the transportation of dangerous goods. Businesses that handle, transport, or operate these goods regularly must have a Dangerous Goods Safety Adviser (DGSA) to adhere to the Health and Safety at Work Act. You don’t need a DGSA in the following scenarios:
- You ship smaller amounts of goods than the quantities prescribed in various legislations
- You occasionally load, unload, or transport dangerous products, but this isn’t your primary or secondary activity
If you hire a DGSA, here are the duties they can perform on your behalf:
- Making sure you’re compliant with rules on the transportation of hazardous products
- Advising your business on how to transport goods safely
- Preparing annual reports to management concerning the activities included in your transport
- Monitoring safety measures and procedures
- Investigating and filing reports on any emergencies or accidents
- Recommending how to enhance goods’ security during the transport
Anyone who authorises hazardous goods shipping may be subject to these regulations, not just you or your transport operator. This can include warehouse workers, manufacturers who produce these goods, freight forwarders, and cargo consignors. If you don’t want to handle the consignments, you’ll still need to recognise your hazardous products when presenting them for carriage.
The shipper or manufacturer is usually responsible for classifying, documenting, and packaging dangerous commodities. However, if freight forwarders load the items onto pallets or into containers, they need to understand the goods and aspects surrounding their relocation. A reliable forwarder should have completed at least one training course by The British International Freight Association on hazardous goods transport.
When it comes to modes of transport, each method has specific compliance requirements. For example, forwarders are multimodal specialists. This means they’re required to understand the goods they’re shipping to ensure they abide by various regulations. These regulations include International Civil Aviation Organisation and International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code
Additional Requirements for Hazardous Goods Logistics
There are many other requirements regulating each stage of shipping hazardous goods:
Your goods must be packaged according to the UN requirements. The boxes, crates, or containers must be designed and built to specific standards. In other words, your storage solutions need to pass a variety of tests:
- Falls from certain heights
- Ability to endure high pressure when held in stacks
- No cracks, holes, or other forms of damage caused by the contents within
You can find pre-approved packaging on the Vehicle Certification Agency’s Packaging Approval Database website. If your packaging materials are approved, obtain a copy of your certification and relevant test reports.
You must mark hazardous commodities with appropriate symbols, safety advice, and warning. Some labels are internationally-recognised, but the requirements may vary by country. The good news is that the rules governing labelling practices are largely uniform throughout Europe.
Besides labels, you must also include the instructions for your goods inside the package. They’re usually placed on the label itself or on leaflets within the crate or container.
All dangerous products must be shipped with an identifying paper called a dangerous goods declaration. If you use air transport, you’ll need to fill out the International Air Transport (IATA) dangerous goods declaration form.
If you’re a consignor, you’re responsible for classification, marking, and packaging the goods correctly. All this information should be in your transport document. It describes the cargo, including a full classification of the substances and packaging.
In addition, you must provide the following documents:
- Means of identifying the members of the transport crew (ID or passport)
- Shipper’s declaration for dangerous goods that contains information about each substance, article, or material being transported (e.g., UN number, technical name, and name under which it’s shipped)
- Written emergency instructions
Written emergency constructions are especially important. You need to provide your driver or carrier with this document, so they understand the load they’re shipping. More specifically, it tells them how to react in the event of an accident. The instructions normally come in the form of “Tremcards” – a type of international transport emergency card.
In some cases, you might not be required to provide the above documents if you’re transporting goods from the UK under specific multilateral agreements. These allow you to ship goods through or between the signatory countries for a certain period. If you carry dangerous products under this arrangement, you’ll need to present a copy of the agreement.
The shipping regulations depend on the means of transport (whether you move your goods by sea, air, inland waterways, rail, or road). Different authorities are responsible for each method.
For instance, transporting products by sea is regulated by the International Maritime Dangerous Goods code. By contrast, shipping hazardous commodities by air is governed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
Determine the type of transport you’ll use for your goods and discover the relevant guidance or instructions applicable to your shipping. This will tell you any requirements for your products, such as vehicle specifications. If you combine multiple means of transport, you’ll need to comply with relevant instructions for each mode.
Furthermore, cargo agents, packers, freight forwarders, and other personnel involved in your shipping must undergo recurrent training. They need to stay up to date with the latest regulations to handle your equipment properly. Otherwise, airline or freight companies may refuse to transport your goods.
Reach Out to Professionals to Streamline Dangerous Goods Transportation
The intricacies of transporting hazardous goods can be overwhelming. If you don’t understand the process fully, you can encounter legal issues. To avoid this, consult a licensed freight forwarding company before shipping your products. They can recommend the best practices and help you haul the items safely.
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