Air freight - what are the rules?
There are some dangerous goods than can’t be sent by air freight.
What are dangerous goods?
Dangerous goods are articles or substances which can pose a significant risk to health, safety or to property when transported by air. A look in the garden shed or under the kitchen sink will reveal a wide array of items which are potentially dangerous goods. A few examples of household objects include pesticides, acids, aerosols, perfumes, bleaches, matches, cigarette lighters, camping stoves with liquid fuel or compressed gas, anything that contains or has contained petrol, such as lawn mowers, chainsaws, brushcutters, model aircraft etc, batteries, fireworks, sparklers.
Classes of dangerous goods
There are nine primary classes of dangerous goods. Some classes have been sub-divided to adequately describe the nature of the properties of the individual goods.
There is a label for each class or division to show what each hazard is. For example, toxic substances or radioactive material. These labels must appear on the outside of the package and must stay on the package while it’s in transit. The labels are also on most inner packages such as aerosol cans, bottles of bleach, containers of thinners, tins of paint that you purchase in the supermarket.
How else can I tell if the goods are dangerous?
- Look for a diamond-shaped hazard label on the container.
- If you can't see a label then look for a UN number. This will be the letter UN followed by four numeral digits - such as UN1950 or UN 1197.
- Look to see if a hazard class is written on the container - quite often it will have something like "class 5.1" or "corrosive".
- If you think it might be dangerous but you can’t see any of these indicators, look for a material safety data sheet (MSDS) on the internet.
- You can also search online by typing in the manufacturer of your product, then the letters MSDS, then the product name. Alternatively you can use an MSDS search site at MSDS dabases.
- When you have the MSDS, look for the entries UNxxxx, hazard class and transport information. What you will find in an MSDS.
- You can also ring the manufacturer or distributor using the customer information phone number found on most household products.
Sending dangerous goods
There are several options available that will allow you to send dangerous goods safely and legally at sending dangerous goods.