Shipping dangerous goods is not as simple as transporting other types of goods. It involves special documentation, packaging, and shipment considerations. The first step, however, is figuring out whether or not your goods are considered “dangerous”. In today’s article, we are going to discuss what exactly a dangerous good is, how they are classified, and what that means for your shipping documentation.
Rule of Thumb
Any shipment that can cause harm to the handler during transport is considered a dangerous good. Needles, firearms, and chemicals are obvious culprits, but the list goes on. In some cases, lithium ion batteries, like the ones found in laptops and computers are considered dangerous. Liquids and toy or imitation weapons can also fall under this category. Because there is a wide array of items that fall under this category, each needing special treatment, governing bodies have made it necessary to classify dangerous goods before they can be transported.
Dangerous Goods Classification
Classification must be done by a consultant or employee trained in TDG (Transportation of Dangerous Goods) classification. This can be done in consultation with chemical engineers, scientists, chemists, doctors, nurses, coroner, or any other professional that has a thorough understanding of the dangerous good. Once classified, a proof of classification must be provided by the cosigner to the federal Minister of Transport. This document could be in the form of a test or lab report, or a write-up that clearly explains how the goods have been classified.
In order to ensure that the commodity is properly shipped and labelled, there is extra information a shipper is required to include on the shipping document. Most importantly, this consists of a description of the dangerous goods by way of UN number, name of product, and any particular warnings that the carriers should be aware of. Examples of these warnings are: toxic by inhalation, the flash point, or any number of special instructions. Remember that the carriers are potentially putting their lives at risk to transport these goods, so it is vital to ensure they have all the information they need to do their job safely.
Shipping dangerous goods can be a complex process, make sure you choose a logistics team that is well versed in this type of transport. Give us a call at 1-800-617-3515 to get a quote on your next dangerous goods shipment!