Hazardous Material Transportation If you are a transportation company involved in the transportation of hazardous materials, then you as an organisation are responsible for adherence to internationally binding regulations. The UN collectively administers a whole set of model rules on transportation by road, rail, aircraft, ship and even inland water way. The hazardous material is defined and classified according to the danger it may cause to the environment, life and property should an accident occur. A further degree of organisation, known as the packing group (PG) breaks further this down into three headings called PG I, PG II and PG III. Taken collectively these regulations are fundamental in pronouncing the best practice in packaging, labelling and transporting hazardous and potentially hazardous materials. These practices are additionally intertwined with those concerned with the training of employees from the CEO down to the person who will actually be transporting the material in question. In The EU all of these practices are coordinated by international agreement as well as statutory directives. Overall any goods which are classified as hazardous must be organised so that every agency in the supply chain, (including the emergency services), are clearly informed and aware of what is being transported and where the consignment is located on its route. Labelling hazardous goods Once again this is the clear responsibility of the consigner (the transportation company). This facet of the transportation process involves labelling the hazardous substance and packaging with the appropriate symbol, warning and safety advice. The symbols themselves are internationally recognised, meaning that all parties are clear as to what hazard the goods themselves represent. For hazardous chemicals the overall framework of labelling is contained within a set of regulations known as â€œChemicals (Hazard Information for Packaging and Supply) or the CHIP 4 rules for short. These rules are gradually being phased out to be replaced (at least in the EU) by a more holistic and stringent regime known as â€œthe EU regulations on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures, or the CLP for short. Having said all of this there is huge variation in labelling requirements in third countries and in the case of the US almost certainly with individual states. So suppliers and consigners are strongly advised to check the detailed requirements in the destination country. It is certain that the US and EU will have different requirements. In terms of labelling this means the goods and material can be moved between the two destinations, but the consigner can expect to have to re-label and/or pack them before they will be granted entry. Packaging hazardous goods The material used to package the goods in question has to meet strict UN specifications and must pass various safety tests. These tests relate to impact endurance, which means being dropped from a variety of heights and onto different surfaces. The item will also be stacked and be expected to endure a legally binding degree of pressure for a specified amount of time. In other words it must be able to contain the substance
which is being transported, should an accident occur. The UN marks any goods that it has certified by the pre-fix UN which augments any national regulation.
Transporting hazardous materials is clearly a complex and international undertaking, which requires specialist skills and regulation for effective enforcement. It cannot be understated that these frameworks exist tom prevent the worst happening, but should this arise then the relevant authorities will have quick access to all the information they need to mitigate disaster.