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dangerous goods

  • Dangerous goods Overpacks

    Everyday thousands of overpackscontaining dangerous goods are offered for all modes of transport. However, are they shipped in compliance with dangerous goods regulations?

    This article intends to provide some helpful guidelines to ship overpacks containing dangerous goods in accordance with dangerous goods regulation requirements.

    Overpack concept and definition

    A common question asked by those involved in dangerous goods shipments is the following:  is an overpack a package? What are the main differences between them?

    An overpack, as defined in the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations is an enclosure used by a single shipper to contain one or more packages and to form one handling unit for convenience of handling and stowage.

    On the other hand, a packageis defined as: the complete product of the packing operation consisting of the packaging and contents prepared for transport.

    Marking and labelling requirements for overpacks

    Overpacks shall be marked and labelled in accordance with dangerous goods regulations provisions. Generally, an overpack shall reproduce the markings and labels appearing on the package(s) inside the overpack, unless all markings and labels representative of all dangerous goods contained in the overpack are clearly visible.

    If the dimensions of the overpack require it, labels and markings shall be reproduced in two opposing sides of the overpack.

    Depending on the applicable transport regulation (such as: IMO-IMDG Code, ICAO- IATA-DGR ADR or 49-CFR), the required markings and labels can include UN number(s), Proper Shipping Name(s), Orientation Arrows, limited quantities marking, hazard labels (primary and subsidiary if they are required) for each dangerous goods package contained in the overpack and any additional handling information/markings appearing on the package (s).
    overpack marking

    In addition to the information mentioned above and an indication of compliance, an overpack shall be marked with the word “overpack” unless markings and labels representative of all dangerous goods contained in the overpack are visible.


    Overpacks & Safety

    Dangerous goods overpacked shall ensure safety requirements. The attached list shows some positive reasons to ship dangerous goods overpacked:

    • Facilitate identification of the dangerous goods overpacked
    • Protect the package from damage
    • Avoid any leakage from the package

    However, it is important to ensure that safety practices are implemented with the aim to minimize potential risks and injuries such as:

    • Incompatibilities in the storage of dangerous goods  
    • Product damage related to handling operations (for instance: stabbing which can result from having the forks extended too far out from a load or from the practice of pushing a pallet using the forks )

    Bear in mind that a safe warehouse environment and proper handling practices can be the key to success.

    DGM can assist you in preparing your dangerous goods overpacks shipments in accordance with dangerous goods regulations requirements. For any question, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

  • High Consequence Dangerous Goods and Security Plans

    As dangerous goods experts, we often talk about the necessity to prevent the risks that might occur during normal conditions of transport. Unfortunately, these are not our only concerns: in the world we live in we must also pay attention to potential risks posed by the theft and misuse of the most hazardous goods by ill-intentioned individuals against people, property or the environment. These are known as High Consequence Dangerous Goods, and their threats are addressed by the implementation of Security Plans.

    High Consequence Dangerous Goods


  • How to comply with labelling and marking requirements?


    Every day thousands of packages of dangerous goods are transported all over the world by air, road, sea, or rail. Before offering them for transport, shippers must ensure that they have been properly identified, packed, labelled, marked and documented in compliance with international transport regulations such as ICAO TI (IATA DGR), IMO-IMDG, ADR or 49- CFR.


    Ensuring labelling and marking provisions is essential in the safe transport of dangerous goods. This article is intended to provide some advises for those engaged in the stages of labelling and marking packages and overpacks containing dangerous goods.


    Format: all hazard labels and handling labels must conform in shape format, symbol and text  shown in the regulations. Any other is forbidden.
    labelling marking mistakes

    1. Dimensions: hazard labels must conform minimum dimensions in accordance with regulations and set an angle of 45 º (diamond shaped)
    • Location: labels should be affixed adjacent to the shipper’s or consignee`s address appearing on the package
    • Visibility: labels and markings must be so placed on the packages or overpacks that they are not covered or obscured by any part of or attachment to the packaging or any other label or marking.
    • Duplication:  remember that for IBC or large packages labels and markings should be placed in two opposite sides
    • Durability:  the material of every label, the printing and any adhesive thereon must be sufficiently durable to withstand normal transport conditions including open weather exposure without a substantial reduction in effectiveness
    • Irrelevant or damaged labelling or marking already on the package or overpack shall be removed or obliterated.
    • Markings for Overpack: unless all markings representative of all dangerous goods in the overpack are clearly visible, the overpack must be marked with the word “overpack” and the required markings and labels appearing on packages inside the overpack.


    The application of labelling and marking provisions is responsibility of the shipper. However, DGM can support you providing a fully compliant operations service for all modes of transport and all hazard classes.





  • How to select the correct Proper Shipping Name?

     According to transport regulations, dangerous goods must be assigned to one of the Proper Shipping Names shown in Dangerous Goods List of the applicable transport regulations such as ADR, ICAO-IATA DGR, IMO-IMDG Code, RID or 49 CFR.  

    Selecting the Proper Shipping Name (well known by the abbreviation PSN) is a key step to ensure that the dangerous goods offered for transport accurately represents its hazards. It is the preliminary step to determine labelling, marking and documentation requirements. In fact, the Proper Shipping Name is an essential element to identify the dangerous good (article, substance, mixture or even waste) on the outside of the package and on the Dangerous Goods Declaration.


    This article intends to provide  the guidelines to identify and select the Proper Shipping Name and guarantee that your shipment meets all dangerous goods regulations provisions.





    • Definition of Proper Shipping Name (PSN)

    IATA DGR 55th Edition defines the Proper Shipping Name as “the name to be used to describe a particular article or substance in all shipping documents and notifications and,  where appropriate, on packagings”.

     On the other hand, the IMDG Code defines the Proper Shipping Name as “that portion of the entry most accurately describing the goods in the Dangerous Goods List which is shown in upper-case characters (plus any letters which form an integral part of the name).

    • General Criteria to select the Proper Shipping Names

    Entries in the Dangerous Goods List are of the following four types, in the preferred order of use:

    1. Single entries for well-defined substances or articles. Example: UN 1090, ACETONE
    2. Generic entries for a well-defined group of substances or articles. Example: UN 1263, PAINT
    3. Specific “Not Otherwise Specified “n.o.s. entries covering a group of substances or articles of a particular chemical or technical nature, for example UN 1224, KETONES, LIQUID, N.O.S
    4. General n.o.s. entries covering a group of substances or articles meeting the criteria of one or more classes or divisions, for example UN 1992, FLAMMABLE LIQUID, TOXIC, N.O.S

    In all cases the shipper shall classify the substance offered for transport by comparing its properties with the classification criteria of the hazard class. If the item has more than one hazard, the shipper must apply the prevalence of multiple hazards criteria to determine the primary hazard and assign the proper shipping name accordingly.

    The selected Proper Shipping Name may be used in singular or plural as appropriate according to the Dangerous Goods List of the applicable transport regulation such as 49 CFR, ICAO-IATA, IMO-IMDG, ADR, RID.

    The proper shipping name shall be included in the Dangerous Goods Transport Document. In some occasions, it is important to note that the dangerous goods description can be supplemented. Here below some examples to be considered when offering dangerous goods for sea transport:

    • Generic and "not otherwise specified" proper shipping names that are assigned to special provision 274 or 318 shall be supplemented with the technical name of the goods, for example: UN 1993, FLAMMABLE LIQUID, N.O.S (contains acetone and ethyl alcohol).
    • Wastes: the proper Shipping Name must be preceded by the word “WASTE”
    • Marine Pollutants: identified in the dangerous goods list with the P symbol. When shipping dangerous goods by sea transport, the proper shipping name may be supplemented with the recognized chemical name of the marine pollutant and the term “MARINE POLLUTANT” which may be supplemented with the term “ENVIRONMENTALLY HAZARDOUS”
    • Flashpoint: the minimum flash point shall be indicated if the dangerous gods to be transported have a flash point of 60o C (in closed-cup, c.c.) or below. Example: UN 1294, 3, II (7o C c.c.)
    • Mixtures or Solutions: if a mixture or solution is composed of a single predominant substance identified in the Dangerous Goods Listand one or more substances not subject of the classification criteria, the mixture shall be assigned to the Proper Shipping Name of the predominant named in the Dangerous Goods List by adding the words “MIXTURE” or “SOLUTION” unless:
    • The mixture is identified in the Dangerous Goods List
    • The name identified applies only to the pure substance
    • The hazard class or division, subsidiary risk, packing group or physical state of the mixture or solution is different from that of the substance named.
    • The hazard characteristics and properties of the mixture require different emergency response measures.

    A mixture or solution not identified in the Dangerous Goods List and that is composed by two or more dangerous goods shall be classified accordingly.

    It is important to note that if asubstance or mixture is intended to be offered for transport and isnot included in the Dangerous Goods List, it does not mean that it does not meet the classification criteria to be considered as Dangerous Goods. In these cases, the consignor shall determine if the dangerous goods fall under any hazard class and check all relevant information to conclude it.  TheSafety Data Sheet can be a helpful tool as described in ourprevious article.


    DGM can ensure that your dangerous goods are classified and offered for transport meeting Dangerous Goods provisions in accordance with Dangerous Goods Transport Regulations. For any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.





  • New fire containment methods and lithium batteries

    burning-batteryTransport of lithium batteries has become a "nightmare" in the latest years, considering the increasing number of incidents apparently caused by them. We must realise that there is still a high number of undeclared shipments of lithium batteries.

    This article will feature two technological advances in fire containment: Fire Containment Covers (FCC) and Fire Resistant Containers (FRC). Would it be possible to use FCC or FRC to reduce the risk caused by lithium batteries? How do they work?


  • Safety Adviser Responsibilities


    The figure and responsibilities of European safety advisersare not always well understood by people or companies out of Europe.

    The definition of “safety adviser” can be found in 1.8.3 of the ADR. It says “each undertaking, the activities of which include the carriage, or the related packing, loading, filling or unloading, of dangerous goods by road shall appoint one or more safety advisers for the carriage of dangerous goods, responsible for helping to prevent the risks inherent in such activities with regard to persons, property and the environment

    Main duties of the Safety Adviser include:


    • Monitoring compliance with the requirements governing the carriage of dangerous goods
    • Advising the undertaking on thecarriage of dangerous goods
    • Preparing an annual report to be presented to the local authority
    • Monitoring the operational procedures or instructions related to identification of dangerous goods, purchases of  means of transport, loading, unloading
    • Assuring appropriate training for people involved in dangerous goods transport
    • Implementing of proper emergency procedures
    • Investigating of accidents and preparing reports if necessary
    • Assuring the existence of a Security Plan if necessary

    DGM has an experienced, trained and qualified Dangerous Goods Safety Adviser team for all hazard classes (from explosives to radioactive materials) and transport activities.

    Companies in which Dangerous Goods are involved and which are required to formally appoint a Safety Adviser are welcome to contact us. DGM can take responsibilities and help your company to comply with regulations. 






  • The Safety Data Sheet (SDS): Hazard Comunication Element

    Safety Data Sheets – SDSs – are an important and well-known element of hazard communication. Every day thousands of SDSs are asked for those agents involved in dangerous goods activities in order to check storage conditions, proper classification or personal protective equipment (PPE).blog 8

    However, do we check lacking of information? How can we deal with the statement “data not available” in some sections? The purpose of this article is to provide general guidelines to ensure that all your dangerous goods requirements have been checked.

    The Safety Data Sheet follows a 16 sections format which is internationally agreed:

    • Section 1: Identification of the substance/mixture and of the company/undertaking
    • Section 2:  Hazards identification
    • Section 3: Composition/information on ingredients
    • Section 4: First aid measures
    • Section5: Firefighting measures
    • Section 6: Accidental release measures
    • Section 7: Handling and storage
    • Section 8: Exposure controls/personal protection
    • Section 9: Physical and chemical properties
    • Section 10:  Stability and Reactivity
    • Section 11:  Toxicological information
    • Section 12: Ecological information
    • Section 13: Disposal considerations
    • Section 14: Transport Information
    • Section 15: Regulatory information
    • Section 16: Other information 

    For dangerous goods transport purposes, the most relevant section is Section 14, Transport Information. This section shall provide basic classification information for transporting/ shipping substances or mixtures mentioned under section 1 by the different modes of transportation: air, road, sea, or rail. It shall provide the following information:

    • The UN number
    • Proper Shipping Name (PSN)
    • Hazard classes (primary and or subsidiary)/divisions assigned to the substance or mixtures
    • Packing Group assigned to the substance or mixture in accordance with their degree of hazard
    • Environmental hazards: it shall be indicated whether the substance or mixture is environmentally hazardous according to the criteria of Regulations. Example: marine pollutant under the IMDG Code.
    • Special precautions for users
    • Transport in bulk containers: only when applicable

    However, additional information (e.g.: tunnel code according to ADR, segregation groups according to IMDG Code, Special Provisions or Packing Instructions) can be required to draft the Dangerous Goods Declaration and not provided in the Safety Data Sheet.

    Regulations such as ADR, ICAO-IATA-DGR, RID, IMDG Code or 49-CFR shall be always checked. An SDS does not always contain updated information and all requirements needed by transport regulations.

    • Section 2: Hazards identification: This section describes the hazards of the substance or mixture and the appropriate warning information associated of those hazards such as label elements. This information shall support classification criteria specified in Section 14.
    • Section 3: Composition/information on ingredients: the information provided in this section can help in completing the N.O.S “not otherwise specified” entries by supplementing the Proper Shipping Name with the technical name or chemical group. Example: UN 1993, Flammable liquid, n.o.s (contains xylene and benzene), 3, II.
    • Section 9: Physical and chemical properties: information such as Boiling Point and Flash Point shall be provided in this section. Physical and chemical properties can be decisive to assign the packing group.
    • Section 11:  Toxicological information: the relevant toxicological properties of the hazardous substances or mixtures such as Lethal Dose LD50or Lethal Concentration LC50 shall also be provided. Toxic parameters will help in the assignment of packing group of Class 6.1 substances and mixtures.
    • Section 16: Other information: this section shall incorporate other information that it is not included in sections 1 to 15, including information on revision of the Safety Data Sheet such as: full text of R phrases, the hazard statements, safety phrases and/or precautionary statement.

    To sum up, the Section 14 of a Safety Data Sheet offers relevant information for the transport of dangerous goods and hazardous materials. However, it is recommended to check some information provided in other sections for the accuracy of the content. However, the Safety Data Sheet is just a hazard communication element that does not replace transport regulations.

    DGM helps customers to ensure the safety of their shipments by checking all transport legal requirements.



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