What is Good Packaging for Dangerous Goods?

Dangerous goods are solids, liquids, or gases which are very harmful to humans, animals, other livings organisms, and the environment. When improperly or negligently handled, these dangerous goods or hazardous materials (abbreviated as HAZMATs) could result in great destruction and cause prejudice to life and economy. Because of their perilous nature, it is very important to make sure that these HAZMATs are securely packed and their handling and packaging thoroughly scrutinized to ensure that they can be safely moved from one point to another.

The person responsible for the proper packaging of dangerous goods

It is the shipper’s responsibility to pack and prepare the dangerous goods for shipping in accordance with the general packing requirements imposed by the proper authorities. It is imperative upon the shipper to keep himself/herself regularly updated with the important guidelines and safety practices to ensure the integrity of the package in question, and more importantly, for the safety and well-being of those who are tasked to handle and come in contact with the dangerous goods.

Durable packaging materials

Packaging requirements vary according to the type, class, and quantity of dangerous goods a person is shipping. Often, the packing material is subjected to stringent testing and also duly certified as having met the strict requirements of the regulations for the shipment of dangerous goods. Moreover, the packaging, labels, and markings must also be durable and resistant enough to withstand the natural elements and conditions to which the packaged goods may be exposed to while in transit, loading or unloading, as well as, to guarantee their best form on arrival to their intended destination and recipient. Packages that do not pass the general packing requirements and/or the hazard-specific requirements may not be used to ship the dangerous goods.

Standard of good packaging

The standards of good packaging as laid out in the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Dangerous GoodsRegulations manual, form the baseline for classifying, packing, identifying, and shipping dangerous goods. When it comes to packaging, the IATA guide is regarded as the world’s most trusted and relied-upon set of instructions. No wonder that it has been followed by over 200 different airlines worldwide for the past 50 years. The IATA regularly releases revisions to their manual every year to make certain that dangerous goods and other hazardous materials are in fact properly handled, and that the standards are amended for an ever-changing fast-paced industry. The IATA guide includes national, international, and airline-specific regulations for shipping, packaging, and labeling dangerous goods.

Use of appropriate hazard-specific packaging materials

Each class of dangerous goods would require a special packing instruction specific to its inherent hazardous properties. To note, the appropriate dangerous goods packaging is based on the most appropriate hazard classification of a product and its physical attributes. Getting the appropriate packaging for dangerous goods is vital the first time and every time.

Proper labeling

Part of packing for dangerous goods is ensuring that the shipper makes use of proper labeling. IATA regulations require various classes of HAZMAT identification labels, marks, or placards. Such labels, marks, and placards will serve to inform and guide the handler in what type of danger is posed. This information is absolutely critical and must be disclosed to the workers and handlers in order to keep them from possible harm.

In conclusion, safe and efficient shipping of dangerous goods greatly depends on the correct packaging. If the shopper chooses the wrong packaging, he/she could severely injure a worker, harm the environment, or cause catastrophic damage to an aircraft, ship, or truck. Therefore, the knowledge of and compliance by the nuance of these regulations, and their annual revisions, are truly important.


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