There are strict regulations regarding the shipping of dangerous goods. The categories of goods that are subject to legislation include explosive, corrosive, toxic and radioactive materials. Air transport of dangerous goods is covered by International Air Transport regulations.
What types of materials are classed as “dangerous”?
- Explosive substances and articles
- Flammable gas such as butane
- Non-flammable and non-toxic gases
- Toxic gas such as chlorine
- Flammable liquids such as petrol and lighter fluid
- Flammable solids
- Substances liable to spontaneous combustion
- Substances emitting flammable gases when in contact with water
- Oxidising substances
- Organic peroxides
- Toxic substances
- Infectious substances
- Radioactive substances
- Corrosive substances
- Miscellaneous dangerous substances and articles
Classifying, packaging and marking dangerous goods that are to be transported is the responsibility of the sender or the person who consigns the goods. Broadly, any article or substance that poses a risk to the environment, people or property is classed as dangerous.
Rules for air transport of dangerous goods
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) covers the internationally agreed rules for transporting dangerous goods by air. These strict rules must be adhered to for the protection of people, property and the environment. The responsibility for the safe carriage of dangerous goods is placed on all parties involved including shippers, handling agents, freight forwarders and operators. Anyone who packs dangerous goods for air transport needs to be specially trained. Penalties for cargo failing an inspection or causing a safety incident include an unlimited fine, a two year prison sentence or both, so complying with the relevant safety rules is clearly necessary. Radioactive transport is one of the major types of dangerous goods transport to be considered.
Transporting radioactive substances
Transporting radioactive substances can be hazardous and care has to be taken to ensure that the correct packaging is used. Air transport poses different problems from those that may be encountered by users of rail or road transport and packaging is of paramount importance. Many of the radioactive substances that are transported by air are destined for medical use and the people that handle these can receive above average doses of radiation due to their shift patterns and the frequency with which they handle the radioactive materials. People at risk of high exposure to radioactive substances should be regularly monitored and periodic monitoring of the radiological consequences of the exposure should be undertaken. Different types of packaging are needed for different types of radioactive substances. Failure to comply with the regulations for transporting dangerous goods can result in hefty penalties. Investing in the correct protective packaging is very important in adhering to these regulations. Keeping your transport business compliant minimises the risk of any untoward incidents occurring and ensures safety for your staff and others involved in the transport of dangerous goods.If your business is involved in the transport of dangerous goods, you can research the specific packaging requirements and other regulations on the internet. In the UK, the government website is a useful resource to check that you comply with all the relevant regulations.