Shipping Hazardous Materials


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Sometimes you have to get something from here to there that needs extra caution. The first step is to determine if it is dangerous and then whether it is a solid or a liquid. This will have an effect on how it is packaged for shipping, as will the way the item is traveling. Paying careful attention to dangerous goods packaging is crucial for safe transport.

Is It Hazardous?

What exactly is classified as a hazardous material when it comes to shipping? Some examples of dangerous items include

  • electronic devices with lithium batteries
  • aerosol cans, such as spray paint
  • oxygen therapy cylinders and other flammable gas in containers

and flammable liquids such as

  • perfumes
  • liquor
  • nail polish remover.

If you are not sure if what you are shipping is hazardous, refer to the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for the item.

What Kind of Material Is It?

Once you have determined that what you are shipping is hazardous and whether it is a solid or a liquid, now you can plan for dangerous goods packaging. These materials must be packed by trained professionals according to a packaging system. Group One is for items that are extremely dangerous, Group Two is for moderately dangerous materials and Group Three is for items that are low risk.

How Is it Being Shipped?

Hazardous materials that are shipped by air face more stringent rules than those transported on the ground or by sea. Shippers must pay attention to

  • documentation
  • packing containers
  • shipping labels
  • and classification

in order to comply with federal regulations.

The shipping method also affects the kind of container used for shipping. Many items can go inside nested boxes, but liquids often need to be shipped in drums, which makes air freight difficult. and expensive.

When you have a dangerous substance that you need to ship, pay attention to what it is, how dangerous it is and how it will travel.


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