How Dangerous Goods Are Classified
The above definition applies to many goods, including empty containers that have been used to store anything dangerous. These packages must be durable enough to ensure that the item will not leak, break, or otherwise cause harm to anyone or anything. They must also be properly marked, labeled, documented, and classified. Nefab can assist you with packaging any goods that fall into this category.
Before packaging any dangerous good, it is important to understand the different classifications. Each of these classifications may present unique challenges to packaging and shipping.
- Class 1 – Explosives
- Class 2 – Gases
- Class 3 – Flammable liquids
- Class 4 – Flammable solids or substances that may spontaneously combust or that may emit flammable gases when in contact with water.
- Class 5 – Oxidizing substances and organic peroxides
- Class 6 – Toxic or infectious substances
- Class 7 – Radioactive materials
- Class 8 – Corrosives
- Class 9 – Miscellaneous dangerous goods not classified.
Each of these classes has its own unique label that must be included somewhere on the packaging. These labels identify the potential dangers the goods present. Each class is also further divided into numerous subclasses that have their own specific labels. These labels must also appear on the packaging. For example, Class 1 is divided into six different divisions depending on the explosion horizon, the chance of projectiles being launched in the event of an explosion, and if the goods represent a fire hazard.
Most Commonly Shipped Dangerous Goods
Below are some dangerous goods that are often shipped:
- Air bag inflation devices
- Ammonium nitrate fertilizer
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Medical isotopes
- Dry ice
- Lithium ion batteries
- First aid kits
Selecting the Packaging
There are two different options when selecting the packaging for dangerous goods: using an approved packaging or developing a new type of packaging. This is where Nefab can provide you with a great amount of assistance. We have a wide variety of different approved outer packaging that can be used for dangerous goods. However, for those in need of specialty packaging, we can also assist in creating a custom-made solution.
Using Approved Packaging
Any outer packaging that has been approved for dangerous goods has been tested and certified. All testing is done with a sample of the actual goods that will be shipped within the container. However, in cases where this is not possible, it is generally acceptable to purchase packaging that has been approved for goods in the same classification. When selecting approved packaging, you will need to know four pieces of information:
- The characteristics of the goods to be shipped (is it a solid, a liquid, or a gas).
- The measurements, weight, and volume of the goods.
- The type of inner packaging that will be used.
- The method of transportation to be used.
To select an approved packaging, our experts will first check all regulations that apply to the goods you want to ship. If the packaging and method of transportation are approved for the class of dangerous goods being shipped, then we will look at our range of packaging solutions to make certain we have a certified packaging that is acceptable.
We will then determine the gross weight of your shipment. The certificate for each type of approved packaging includes a maximum weight limit for specific dimensions. If your package does not fall within the allowed weight range and still comply with all regulations, we will have to work with you to find a new packing solution.
Once we’ve determined the correct type of approved packaging for your needs, we will provide you with an offer that includes the certificate and a copy of all testing done on the packaging. This is to ensure that you receive all of the relevant information needed to make a decision.
Creating a New Type of Packaging
If we do not have a suitable type of packaging on hand or if you need a specific certificate that does not match anything available, our team of experts can develop a new dangerous goods packaging for you. This packaging will be a completely new design and will go through a testing period before it can be certified. Note that developing a new type of packaging is costly. This is one of the biggest ways that shipping dangerous goods greatly impacts your packaging solutions and cost. It is generally not cost-effective to develop a new type of packaging for a small volume of goods unless that is the only option.
Before packaging can be used to transport dangerous goods, it must go through a type approval test. This test puts the packaging through a number of scenarios that regularly occur when shipping goods. All of the testing done through Nefab is performed by the Swedish National Testing and Research Institute, now more known as RISE-SP.
The following five steps are done during testing. Each step asks a question.
- Identification – are the materials correctly identified?
- Measurement – what are the package measurements?
- Drop Test – will the package and goods survive being dropped?
- Stacking Test – can the package be stacked for 24 hours without showing signs of breaking if other packages are stacked on top of it?
- Bottom Lift Test (if the package is large or an intermediate bulk container) – can the package be lifted without the bottom of it falling out?
The Impact of Shipping Dangerous Goods
As you can see, shipping dangerous goods does require additional planning and cost. Nefab can assist you with determining the best type of packaging to use and answer any questions you may have about shipping this type of material.