Dangerous and Hazardous goods

Dangerous and hazardous goods: what are they and how can I ship them?

April 2023

When shipping goods, it’s important to be aware of what items are considered dangerous or hazardous. These types of items can pose a risk to the safety of those handling the shipment, as well as the environment and the public. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what constitutes dangerous or hazardous goods, the regulations surrounding their shipping, and the potential risks involved.

Of course, many items, products and solutions in the medical field may fall into the categories below, so it’s of particular importance that before you organise shipment of your medical goods you see advice from an expert logistics company.

What are Dangerous or Hazardous Goods?

In short, dangerous or hazardous goods are items that have the potential to harm people, property, or the environment. This can include items that are explosive, flammable, corrosive, toxic, or radioactive. The potential of harm is what sets these items apart from regular shipments and the reason that the process must be approached with extreme care. At the end of the day, when moving dangerous or hazardous goods, it’s much more than the product itself at risk.

Some common examples of dangerous or hazardous goods include:

Explosives: This can include fireworks, ammunition, and other items that can explode or combust.

Flammable liquids: This can include gasoline, oil, and other fuels that can easily catch fire.

Corrosive substances: This can include acids and other substances that can damage or destroy materials.

Toxic or poisonous substances: This can include chemicals, pesticides, and other substances that can harm humans, animals, or the environment.

Radioactive materials: This can include items that emit radiation, such as medical equipment or nuclear waste.

Why are Dangerous or Hazardous Goods a Concern?

There are a number of reasons why dangerous or hazardous goods are a concern when shipping. As mentioned, these items can pose a risk to the safety of those handling the shipment, as well as the environment and the public. Some potential risks include:

Fires or explosions: Flammable or explosive items can cause fires or explosions, which can be dangerous for anyone nearby.

Spills or leaks: Hazardous materials can leak or spill, which can pose a risk to the environment and wildlife.

Exposure to toxins: Toxic or poisonous substances can cause harm to humans or animals who come into contact with them.

Radiation exposure: Radioactive materials can emit radiation, which can be harmful to humans and the environment.

Regulations Surrounding Dangerous or Hazardous Goods Shipping

Because of the potential risks involved, there are strict regulations in place when it comes to shipping dangerous or hazardous goods. These regulations vary by country and region, but generally involve labelling and packaging requirements, as well as specific documentation and training for those handling the shipments.

In the United States, the Department of Transportation (DOT) regulates the shipping of hazardous materials through the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR). The HMR outlines specific requirements for labelling, packaging, and handling hazardous materials, as well as training requirements for those involved in the process.

In the European Union, the shipment of dangerous goods is regulated by the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR), the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG), and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulations. These regulations again outline their own requirements for labelling, packaging, and handling dangerous goods, as well as specific documentation and training.

Simply put, a traditional, everyday courier is not an option if your good are considered in this bracket, and specialists will not only make it easier, but immeasurably safer. Your chosen courier should be well-versed in their countries laws and practice regarding the shipment.

Potential Risks of Shipping Dangerous or Hazardous Goods

Despite the regulations in place, there are still potential risks involved in shipping dangerous or hazardous goods. These risks can include:

Accidents or human error: Even with proper labelling and packaging, accidents can still occur during the shipping process. Human error, such as improper handling or mislabelling, can also contribute to accidents.

Equipment failure: Equipment used to transport dangerous or hazardous goods can fail, such as containers or transportation vehicles. This can lead to spills or leaks.

Theft or tampering: Dangerous or hazardous goods can be a target for theft or tampering, which can pose a risk to the public if the items are mishandled.

Of course, as with every shipment dangerous or otherwise, your courier should be doing everything possible to make sure accidents do not occur. If they do, they should be trained and experienced enough to move forward safely.

To conclude, shipping dangerous or hazardous goods can pose a risk to the safety of those handling the shipment, as well as the environment and the public. This article should go some ways of helping you understand what to do in preparation and given you a general understanding of what might be considered dangerous or hazardous, but seeking expert advice specific to your shipment is always advised.

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