As a business owner, you should know that dangerous items are not limited to chemicals, guns, and needles. Some goods such as batteries, sprays, and paints are also considered hazardous materials when shipped. And when these products are not handled with care during transit, it can cause unexpected harm to all the people involved in the supply chain—from the packers, cargo handlers, equipment operators, and even drivers.
Fortunately, there are guidelines that can help you manage and handle hazardous items accordingly. Worklink Services Inc., one of the reliable courier companies in the Philippines, presents these 6 rules you should follow to ensure the safety of everyone involved in the logistics chain.
Dangerous Goods Shipping: Basic Guidelines to Follow
1. Know the Difference Between Accepted and Prohibited Hazardous Items
First, it’s important to identify what kind of dangerous goods you’re planning to ship out as some items are classified as prohibited based on its classification. In fact, seemingly harmless goods such as nail polish, tennis balls, and even perfumes are listed as hazardous materials. However, they’re really not that dangerous by themselves, they are only regarded as such due to a harmful component they have.
And while a lot of materials are classified “dangerous,” some are just too hazardous to transport whether by ground or air. To guide you, here’s a list of accepted and prohibited items.
- Category B infectious materials
- Combustible materials
- Corrosive liquids or solids
- Flammable gases or solids
- Pharmaceutical drugs
- Toxic liquids
- Category A infectious materials
- Radioactive substances
- Toxic gases
You can also look out for labels displayed on the product to know if your shipment is dangerous or not. If you’re still unsure, it’s best to consult a fulfillment professional who can provide essential insight and advice.
2. Follow Transport Regulations
After learning the differences between different dangerous goods, you should also educate yourself with regard to the transportation regulations surrounding them.
Each type of freight forwarding service has its own set of restrictions and processes when it comes to shipping hazardous items. Likewise, the rules also vary depending on what country (or even states and provinces) you’re delivering to.
For instance, the transportation of dangerous goods via sea in the Philippines is regulated by the Department of Trade and Industry Philippines (DTI). On the other hand, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) are the authorities in charge of handling air freight. Since they operate separately, every shipper or carrier should follow the different regulations that these government agencies have set.
In general, though, national government agencies should still abide by the standards established by international committees such as the International Maritime Organization’s IMDG Code and International Air Transport Association’s Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR).
3. Pack Dangerous Goods Properly
For normal shipments, one might need to pack the cargo properly in order to avoid cargo damage. The same could be said to dangerous goods but in addition, you should do so in order to reduce the risk of accidents due to their hazardous nature.
Use the right packaging materials when packing dangerous items as this would ensure the safety of your goods. It’s also best to use the proper cushioning materials such as bubble wraps, styrofoam pellets, cardboard pieces, and foam packing peanuts. These items make sure the dangerous goods don’t shift around during transit which ultimately lessens the chances of leakage or damage.
If you’re shipping both hazardous and non-dangerous materials together, make sure everything is tightly packed, braced, and secured. Do also ask your carrier to store your packages in an easily accessible area so that in case of emergencies or accidents, they’re easily thrown out and discarded.
Overall, you should properly wrap your dangerous goods with high-quality packaging materials not only for the secureness of your products but also for the general safety of everyone in the logistics chain.
4. Present the Necessary Documents
Aside from properly packing your dangerous cargo, it’s also important to know that when transporting these hazardous items, you must present all the necessary documents to the authorities.
Be sure to declare your shipments in your commercial or waybill invoice under “Item Description” and do so exactly. You should also fill out the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) and identify potential risks on the cargo. For your reference, an MSDS document should have the following information:
- First aid and firefighting measurements
- Hazardous class
- Ingredients and composition
- Measures for handling, storage, and transportation
- Reactivity, toxicity, ecological and disposal considerations
5. Expect to Pay Extra Fees for Your Dangerous Products
Due to their dangerous nature, most courier companies would require individuals and businesses to pay extra fees for proper handling and processing of dangerous goods.
In addition to this, paying for insurance fees are relatively expensive because of the added risk for health and safety. In fact, some courier companies would actually require you to pay extra for insurance. They may also refuse to cover the cost of damaged goods during transit.
Overall, there’s really no guarantee of whether you’ll be paying an extra sum of money or not to agencies. It’s best to contact your courier first before sending out your shipment and discuss these following matters to them.
6. Be Responsible
Lastly, whether you’re a shipper or carrier, it’s your responsibility to let other people know that you’re sending out dangerous items that pose a risk for everybody’s health and safety. Be aware of the regulations surrounding these hazardous goods as well as the processes and documentation required.
For instance, you need to sign the necessary documents about compliance in order to certify that all packing requirements were followed. It also proves that packing has been done in accordance with both local and international regulations.
If you neglect to meet all the requirements set by the international logistics committees, you are liable to expensive penalties. As such, before you ship out hazardous products, ensure they are classified accordingly.
ALSO READ: Cargo Damage: How Can You Prevent It?
Shipping dangerous goods can be quite tricky but it’s something everyone can’t afford to ignore as the health and safety of the people are at risk. Fortunately, with these 6 important facts when transporting hazardous materials, you can ensure your items are safe and secure.
Need further assistance in transporting your hazardous items? Worklink Services Inc., a logistics company in the Philippines, offers highly specialized crating and packing services. With over 20 years of experience in the logistics industry, we can ensure your dangerous goods get delivered safely and securely to its intended destination. Contact us today!
For more information about shipping and logistics in the Philippines, check our blog.