Four common hazmat violations
By Maaike Rijk
Each year upon initial inspection 54% of hazardous materials are rejected for shipment. “In most cases, these hazmat violations are repetitive and easy to avoid,” says Maxence Wittebolle, Director of the Belgian Packaging Institute (BVI) and T&C Packaging International (The Netherlands). What are the four most common violations and how can you avoid them?
Improper packaging choices
“The first step in the safe transport of your goods begins with choosing the right packaging. This sounds logical, but it is one of the most common hazmat violations. Think in advance about what goods you want to transport. Are they liquid or solid? How will you transport them? Is the packaging resistant to the filling product? For the transport of hazardous materials UN legislation applies (e.g. ADR). Based on the UN number of a chemical substance you can use the rules to determine what kind of packaging you need. You will find the UN number on the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) associated with the filling product. Your packaging supplier can help you make the right choice.”
“A package with a UN mark may not leak under any circumstances. Yet there are annual incidents of leakage. On closer inspection, the packaging complies with the law, but it is not properly closed. Ensure that the packaging has a proper seal and that it is correctly closed (according to the manual). The proper way of filling and closing is set out in the UN-certified packaging report. You can request the report and the manual from your packaging supplier. This not only prevents dangerous situations caused by leaks, but also unnecessary costs caused by contamination.”
Improper securing and packaging during transport
“36% of hazmat violations in the transport is due to improper packaging or securing. During transport your goods are exposed to various external influences. These include vibrations, horizontal forces caused by sudden braking, additional loads from stacking products or negative pressure in air transport. The proper transport of hazardous goods begins with the basics: get a good solid pallet, such as a euro pallet. This is what carries your load. Then choose a robust and solid container, with the correct UN certification. Ensure proper securing so that the product cannot move or tilt. Ensure that your products are always transported in a vertical position.”
“From an environmental and cost perspective it is good to reuse packaging. This does not mean that you can simply reuse all UN packaging. Reusing UN-packaging requires compliance with UN regulation. Inspect all packaging for visible damage. Do not reuse packaging unless it intact, fully cleaned and in such a state that the structural integrity is not compromised. You may not reuse damaged packaging. The legal storage life of UN packaging is 5 years after production. After this you may no longer use the packaging”
The transport of hazardous goods involves a lot of risks. Think well in advance about what you are going to transport and how. Choose reliable suppliers who can help you with the requirements set by legislation. In this way you will avoid hazmat violations, unsafe situations and unnecessary costs.
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CurTec packaging is clean, safe and certified. All our packaging is UN-certified and suitable for the transport of hazardous materials. Would you like to know which pack is suitable for your products? Send us your Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) and we will be happy to advise you.