Significant Changes to the 2016 IATA DGR 57th Edition

IATA has just released their list of significant changes to the new 2016 IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations 57th Edition.

Download Now (PDF) »

As always we continue to stay abreast of changes and updates to the regulations, and strive to keep providing you with new information. If you have any questions regarding this or any other dangerous goods regulation, please call our regulatory staff at 888.442.9628 (USA) or 888.977.4834 (Canada).

Overpack Label
“OVERPACK” Markings – Overdone?

The Issue

The formalization of the overpack concept into the Canadian TDG regulations has been the subject of concern for domestic shippers of dangerous goods due to the wording for fully regulated (TDGR 4.10.1) products. The wording implies that even when the DG safety marks for packages within the overpack are visible, the overpack must still have an “OVERPACK” mark displayed. This leads to some additional labelling requirements, particularly for shippers of stretch-wrapped pallet loads.


We’ll pause to review the concept of an overpack, consistent among the various regulations (e.g. TDG, UN Model Recommendations, IMDG, IATA, & 49 CFR).
An overpack is non-standardized packaging that:

  1. Is used for handling convenience (e.g. to reduce multiple handling- I.e. 4 drums on a skid, allowing loading 4 at once rather than 4 trips, or 6 small containers in a “non-spec” master carton, or 48 small boxes stretch wrapped on a skid; a keg (small drum) in a non-spec box for stability, etc. )
  2. Cannot be used as a replacement for inadequate, required “standardized” packaging
  3. Is to be unopened between consignor and receiver
  4. Cannot interfere with the integrity of the standardized packaging (e.g. banding cutting into boxes on a pallet)

The common principle requires that the description of DG that cannot be seen once the overpack is in place will be reproduced on the outside of the overpack.

However, this could be misleading in that Continue Reading…

Danger Placard
Remembering Placards

Mnemonic Devices

How do you remember the meaning of something? Do you try to KISS it where KISS stands for – Keep It Simple Silly? Do you use mnemonics from elementary school and even through college to trigger your memory? I do, and boy how they make things easier. I bet you can remember ROY G BIV, the colors of the rainbow from art class. Music class they gave us easy ways to remember the treble clef with Every Good Boy Does Fine for the lines on the staff and FACE for the spaces. One of my favorites however, is PEMDAS to help remember the order of operations in math!

I am always looking for a fun way to help reinforce my memory. In the hazardous transportation industry there are so many things to remember or define. Oh and the acronyms!

What is a Placard?

Let’s take a look at placards. What is a placard? As defined in the Merriam – Webster dictionary a placard is defined as:

a large notice or sign put up in a public place or carried by people

Placards provide pertinent information about an area, a specific instruction, or a hazard. Placards are used in work places to communicate to people of special operating procedures. Placards are also used in transportation to warn of hazards that are present in a truck on the road, in a rail Continue Reading…

IATA, Addendum 2 to the 56th Edition DGR

IATA issued a 2nd Addendum to the “56th edition of the IATA DGR“. A proposal to prohibit e-cigarettes in checked baggage was discussed at the ICAO DGP-WG/15 meeting in Montreal last week. The DGP recommended that e-cigarettes be restricted to carry-on baggage and also that e-cigarettes and/or their batteries not be recharged on the aircraft. The addendum has been modified to reflect the language adopted by the ICAO DGP.

The addendum also contains a number of changes to State and operator variations.

Download the PDF of Addendum 2 for the 56th edition of the IATA DGR and print it. The updates to the eDGR will be issued shortly. The language editions of the addendum should be out by the end of the week.

Why You Need the Most Updated Regulatory Texts

The Bible, Shakespeare and Transport Regulations

“Woe is me” is a phrase heard by many. It basically means someone is unhappy or distressed. The Bible uses this phrase in several locations including Job 10:15, Isaiah 6:5 and Psalms 120:5. Shakespeare later used this same expression when writing for his tragic character Ophelia in “Hamlet”. Existing and operating in the world of regulations can also bring on this feeling. It is difficult enough learning the basics of any regulation, but to truly “know” it takes time, patience and work. This process is complicated by the fact that many regulations change. Is it really necessary to have the newest, latest regulation? To answer that question it is time to look to the regulations.

International Air Transport Association (IATA):

For many, these are the Air Regulations. In this instance, the regulation is updated YEARLY. A new edition goes into effect on January 1st of any given year and ends on December 31st of that same year. The Regulation is currently on its 56th Edition. To showcase some of the changes that could apply to a variety of shippers, please read the following:

  1. The List of Dangerous Goods has new entries and/or updates to existing substances
  2. Packing Instructions for Lithium Batteries was updated to include not only a change but also a new addition
  3. Section 7 – Marking and Labeling for Limited Quantities has new information

Continue Reading…

IATA’s Lithium Batteries Risk Mitigation Guidance for Operators Document

New Lithium Battery Document

Earlier this month, IATA published a Lithium Battery Risk Mitigation Guidance for Airline Operators document that everyone should read. Although it’s 45 pages, it reads well so it feels relatively short. There are several great pictures throughout that help to emphasize key points well.

Click here to read the IATA Press Release. The guidance manual can be found near the bottom of the page.

Even though the strategies listed throughout the document are primarily directed at an airline’s internal processes and procedures, there are strategies for engaging with other parts of the supply chain such as manufacturers, shippers, and freight forwarders. Passengers are also mentioned.

One interesting point was that, “the legitimate lithium battery industry (i.e., those companies adhering to the international rules) has an outstanding safety record since these batteries started to be shipped by air in the mid-1970s.”

For incidents where a cause has been determined, they are invariably due to non-compliance with the requirements that often involve shippers who are either deliberately not following the requirements or are ignorant of them. Publishing this document was a great way to disseminate this information and bring awareness to more people. One of the current problems is that some people who are completely unaware of the dangerous goods regulations and requirements for lithium batteries are shipping them as cargo and in mail. All batteries are subject to Continue Reading…

What You Should Know About Shipping Lithium Batteries by Air

Lithium battery shipping is still a very hot topic. Do you ever ship equipment powered by lithium batteries to other locations? Lithium batteries are included in almost all electronics like mobile phones, laptops, cameras, etc.

Are lithium batteries considered dangerous goods?

The answer is yes, because those batteries present both chemical and electrical hazards. Dangers associated with lithium batteries include chemical burn, fire, and electrical shock. They can overheat and ignite under certain conditions. Once ignited lithium batteries can be difficult to extinguish. Therefore, batteries and battery-powered devices can be a safety risk when transported by air.

Lithium batteries are divided into two types:

Lithium metal batteries are primary non-rechargeable batteries used to power devices such as cameras, calculators, watches, etc.

Lithium-ion batteries are secondary rechargeable batteries, which are generally found in laptop computers, mobile phones, audiovisual equipment, etc. Lithium polymer batteries are also included within “lithium-ion batteries”.

You can safely and easily ship most lithium batteries. As long as certain precautions are taken to prevent short circuits, overheating, and inadvertent operations. The IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations based on the ICAO Technical Instructions are intended to facilitate transport while giving a level of safety such that dangerous goods can be carried without placing the aircraft or its occupants at risk.

Lithium metal batteries will be restricted to Cargo Aircraft Only as of January 1, 2015. The prohibition on the Continue Reading…

Can You Really Ship HazMat/DG Without Following the Regulations?

Can someone ship hazardous materials/dangerous goods without using regulatory publications?

This is often a question we ask ourselves when assisting customers. There are so many if’s, and’s, and but’s in the regulations, it’s hard to imagine someone shipping hazardous products without them. The regulations are just large instruction manuals on how to safely ship dangerous materials. We often have customers call and question why their shipment was rejected. After listening to their story, we can usually find the answer right in the regulations. When we tell a customer why their shipment may have been rejected, customers normally see why having a copy of the current regulations is so important. Every company shipping hazardous materials/dangerous goods should have all the regulatory manuals for the modes of transportation which they ship.

“That’s how we have always done it.”

This is something we hear very often, actually.

Just because that’s how you have always done it doesn’t mean it is compliant. The regulations are updated often for a reason – to ensure safety for everyone involved with shipping hazardous materials/dangerous goods. Recently, many of the regulations have been updated to include new UN numbers. The new shipping names and UN numbers will affect the way that companies label and document these products. This could easily become a scenario where “we’ve always done it this way” may lead to penalties or fines.

“These books Continue Reading…

Ebola Outbreak Puts Stress on Shippers of Infectious Substances

The headlines are frightening – Ebola virus, one of the most deadly viruses known, has broken out in several African countries. Medical authorities are concerned that it could spread beyond that region, carried by travellers all over the world. Laboratories in North America and Europe are on alert for patients showing suspicious symptoms. This, in turn, means that samples and specimens must be transported for testing and verification. How can the medical community deal with transportation of such high-risk materials?

Shipping biological substances training »

Ebola virus is considered a “hemorrhagic fever,” which affects the blood system. Its virulence is astonishing, with a fatality rate of between 50 and 90 percent. Combine this with the ability to be transmitted through casual contact, and the lack of specific vaccines or treatment, and it’s understandable why Ebola is such a feared disease. Therefore, it is all the more essential that transporters make sure that they comply with all legal and safety requirements.

Ebola virus is one of the few pathogens that is always classed as a Category A infectious substance, even in its uncultured form. The shipping description will be:

  • Identification number – UN2814
  • Shipping name – Infectious substance, affecting humans
  • Class – 6.2 (Infectious substances)
  • Packing group – Class 6.2 is not assigned packing groups

Procedures for shipping samples suspected of containing the virus will depend upon the regulations involved – the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) for Continue Reading…

IATA Significant Changes to 56th Edition

IATA has published a summary of their principal changes in the 56th edition of its Dangerous Goods Regulations, which will take effect as of January 1, 2015.

Most of the changes match those that will be included in ICAO’s Technical Instructions, 2015-2016 edition. IATA has also added some text in different sections like in section “2.2 Hidden Dangerous Goods”, to highlight the meaning of GHS pictograms and explain that these do not necessarily mean that a package contains a substance subject to the dangerous goods regulations. The section for dangerous goods carried by passenger or crew has been restructured into three parts and mainly affects lithium batteries.

IATA Dangerous Goods Training »

Amendments to the list of dangerous goods include:

  • addition on 17 new entries for adsorbed gases,
  • addition of a new entry for Capacitor, asymmetric (UN3508),
  • deletion of shipping names, Air bag modules (UN0503) and Seat-belt pretensioners (UN3268) that are replaced by Safety devices, pyrotechnic(UN0503) and Safety devices electrically initiated (UN3268),
  • amend entry UN3090, Lithium metal batteries to show “forbidden” on board passenger aircraft columns I/J

The Special Provisions section has been revised and new provisions have also been added. Some packing instructions have been revised and reformatted to align to the format of other packing instructions. New packing instructions were added for the new entries for adsorbed gases. The packing instructions for lithium batteries have been revised to Continue Reading…