Shipping dangerous goods is easy – shipping them safely, on the other hand? That’s an entirely different kettle of fish.
As we’re sure you know, there’s a whole world of hazardous substances out there, each of which have their own qualities and need to follow specific regulations when transporting them, be it locally or internationally.
This is why strict compliance to shipping laws is essential to prevent any accidents or mishaps due to mishandling of such dangerous substances.
Choosing a reliable courier service is step one – there are also plenty of things you’ll need to do on your end as well, however.
And we aren’t just talking about safety warning signs in the workplace, either!
What are considered dangerous goods when shipping?
Dangerous goods and hazardous substances aren’t a single amorphous blob that you can just lump all together and treat identically – depending on the cargo, you’ll have to prepare differently in order to keep everyone safe.
First step: find out what you’re dealing with, and what you need to do.
And understanding dangerous goods labels and meanings is a crucial first step.
Depending on what you’re dealing with, you might find yourself needing to :
- Obtain licenses
- Choose the correct storage containers
- Maintain the right temperatures
- Segregate chemical substances
- Correctly label dangerous goods
- Put on the right safety signs
Don’t know where to begin? Luckily, the Hazchem system classifies hazardous and dangerous substances into a number of categories, each with their own licensing and transport requirements…
How hazards can be controlled when shipping hazardous materials
Shippers will carry a heavy responsibility when it comes to transporting and shipping hazardous materials. It’s your responsibility to ensure that substances are safely stored, so that when they’re transported, the risk to drivers, recipients and passers-by are limited.
Just one question: how do you go about that?
Know your dangerous goods: how are dangerous goods classified
Transporting and shipping your dangerous items starts by understanding what goods you’re dealing with, how they’re classified and what you need to do when packing and labelling them for shipping.
Luckily for you, hazchem breaks them into a number of easy-to-follow classes and subclasses, all of which give you some idea of what to do.
For example, say you’re transporting TNT, fireworks or (surprisingly enough) airbag inflators – all of which are cargo that falls under class 1 (explosive substances).
As such, in order to transport explosives safely, you’ll need to:
- Recruit a driver who’s specially-licensed to transport explosives
- Clearly mark containers with danger signs and hazchem diamonds
- Take out the right type of insurance
- Store them in an ISO-compliant explosive magazine or container
While it won’t tell you about the specific requirements that come with your substance, looking at the hazchem class can offer some general pointers and give you a starting point.
As for the finer details, you’ll want to consult the MSDS. Oh, and speaking of…
Include an MSDS document
As the sender, you have a number of responsibilities – one of which is to label your shipment with appropriate hazchem signs, class diamonds and more.
But you already knew that. Here’s a requirement you might not have been aware of: did you know that in addition to danger signs Australia also requires you include (or failing that, create) an updated Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) with each shipment?
This is a document that identifies all of the information pertaining to a substance, including information like its:
- Composition and ingredients
- Safety and first aid measures
- Proper handling, storage and delivery
- Level of substance reaction, toxicity, and disposal
- Hazardous classification
Additionally, this sheet also includes information specific to the substance you’re transporting!
Don’t have copies of the sheet? If you’re just the middleman, you can request copies of the SDS from the original manufacturer at any time – something they’re legally mandated to provide (just like you).
Store in the right temperature
A lot of substances have very strict temperature requirements when it comes to storage and transport.
If you’re in the business of sending out shipments of hazardous substances, it’s crucial that you know:
- What temperatures the substance is stable at
- Whether or not fluctuations will cause issues
- How to safely maintain a safe temperature
This information should be included in the SDS. If it turns out that you do need to maintain a specific temperature, you’ll need to ensure that the trucks you’re using have cooling, and that containers are properly insulated.
Label goods correctly
You really thought we’d go an entire blog without talking about this? Not on your life!
To transport and ship dangerous goods, you will need to comply with the Australian Dangerous Goods Code that covers storing, transporting and delivering chemicals and other hazardous substances.
This Code covers many aspects, including signage.
When shipping out dangerous or hazardous substances, the Code requires businesses to:
- Label containers with dangerous goods stickers and labels
- Place emergency information panels on the vehicle itself
- Use hazchem class diamonds to identify what category the cargo falls into
And that’s on top of the requirements for warehouse signs and signs for storage areas!
How are hazardous materials shipped internationally?
So far, we’ve been focusing mainly on shipping locally. But what if your shipment’s destination is overseas?
Shipping in Australia is one matter – shipping overseas where there might be all sorts of different legal requirements can be extremely complex and confusing.
Luckily, global harmonisation of standards means that a lot of this variance is starting to give way to consistency.
Of course, it’s still important that you get the basics down, such as:
- Correctly labelling and marking shipment
- Declaration dangerous goods and substances on import forms
- Observing quantity limitations
How Signsmart can help you with your dangerous goods
Safety in transporting and shipping dangerous goods and substances is an important component in delivering and transporting dangerous goods both locally and internationally.
Putting the correct dangerous goods signs and labels is a crucial step in ensuring that you’re able to do so safely.
Of course, that isn’t all that our team can do for you! In addition to that, Signsmart…
…Offers custom safety signs in Australia
If you can’t find what you are looking for in our online catalogue, Signsmart can create custom safety signs in Australia to meet your exact specs.
All you need to do is provide us with all the information you need, and we can complete your request. Whether it’s detailed instructions, a visual guide or map or just a vague understanding of what you need, our team can get to work on custom signs and custom site safety signs.
And it isn’t just signs, either – we can also create branded white boards to help you track KPIs and deliveries.
…Helps you comply with Australian standards
There are a lot of rules that come with storing and transporting dangerous goods – luckily, our team of sign experts can help you.
Specifically, we can help clarify the byzantine signage requirements that come with working with hazardous chemicals, helping you find out whether you need:
- Hazchem signs
- GHS labels
- Dangerous goods stickers
- Class diamonds
- Emergency information panels
- All of the above!
Consult your shipping requirements with our sign experts on what dangerous goods and substances you usually use in your business.
Signsmart can provide you with the right icons, material, sizes and colours that comply with Australian standards.
… Offers fast delivery nationwide
We offer some of the best turnaround times in the industry, and it’s all thanks to our:
- Huge inventory of workplace safety signs
- Massive range of templates
- Fast printing procedures, even for custom signs
- Speedy couriers and carriers
In some cases, we can get you the signs you need by the very next day!
Get fast and reliable dangerous goods signs and EIPs with Signsmart!
Transporting and shipping dangerous goods by road, rail or air requires a lot of different things – one of which is high-quality dangerous goods signs and labels to ensure everyone’s safety.
And it isn’t just transporting them, either – even storing them comes with some pretty strict signage requirements.
That’s where we come into the picture.
Explore our online sign shop to find what you’re looking for.