Dangerous goods and their transport are subject to strict regulations set by France, the European Union and the UNO. Most dangerous goods containers (approximately three quarters of the volume) are transported by road. It is therefore on the road networks that the main accidents occur, with various causes such as poor vehicle maintenance, poor road conditions, bad weather, driver error, etc. But dangerous goods containers may also be transported by river, rail or air transport.
Tournaire, your expert for bespoke packaging and industrial equipment, offers you this guide to essential information concerning transport and the packaging of dangerous goods.
What is dangerous goods packaging?
Before looking at dangerous goods packaging, we must first define what dangerous goods are. Dangerous goods are substances or objects with characteristics that are hazardous to humans, animals or the environment. The dangerous goods transport container must therefore be handled with care during transport and storage. The UNO today lists over 2700 materials or products considered as dangerous. These products are assigned a 4-figure code.
Thus, dangerous goods packaging corresponds to all the means of packaging and containers for these goods. A dangerous goods container can come in various forms and may be made of different materials (drums, packaging for chemical products, boxes, etc.). These various forms and materials are defined by the goods transported and their characteristics (solid, liquid, gas, corrosive, etc.).
What signage is used for your dangerous goods transport container?
In order to ensure the safety of each operator who comes in contact with the dangerous goods container, specific signage is used for the packaging of dangerous goods. This marking system is also designed to inform security forces in case of an incident; they will thus know the type of material they are confronted with and can apply a suitable emergency procedure.
Therefore, your dangerous goods container must be labelled with:
- The danger code: the UNO has classified dangerous goods into 9 categories and sub-categories of materials according to their risk. The danger code describes the characteristics of the goods (explosive, flammable solid or liquid, pressurized gas, etc.).
- The substances code: as mentioned above, dangerous substances are designated by a 4-figure substances code. For example, code 1789 corresponds to hydrochloric acid.
- A pictogram: the pictogram illustrates the greatest hazard of the substance.
How should the dangerous goods transport container be shipped?
Your dangerous goods container may be shipped by different means according to the nature of the goods concerned. The goods may be transported in bulk, with dangerous goods packaging in large containers or even tanks. If this is not the case, your dangerous product must be packaged in simple packaging such as drums or in combined packages (several small packages within a large one).
Once again, transport will depend on the dangerous goods packaging, which in turn depends on the nature of the goods. Transport thus depends on the state of the substance (gas, solid or liquid) or its nature. But it can also be determined by the destination: which network is the safest to transport the goods from A to B? This is a question that you or your carrier should ask.