Dangerous Goods


Identification of dangerous goods

Dangerous goods are assigned to UN numbers and proper shipping names according to their hazard classification and their composition. The identification of dangerous goods is essential for the proper packing and packaging, documentation, acceptance and handling. The IATA DGR lists approximately 3,000 substances and articles commonly shipped by air.

Other dangerous goods publications

Recognizing that there is a degree of segmentation in the shipper community, where there are large numbers of shippers that only ship lithium batteries or devices powered by lithium batteries and the biomedical industry that only ship infectious substances, IATA developed separate manuals to address these commodities

Dangerous goods are grouped into nine classes:

he IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR) manual is the global reference for shipping dangerous goods by air and the only standard recognized by airlines. It provides everything needed to classify, prepare, accept and handle dangerous goods shipments in compliance with international air transport regulations. IATA has been publishing the DGR for over 60 years. The DGR is published annually to ensure that the industry has the most up-to-date information regarding the shipping of dangerous goods. IATA works closely with governments, other industry associations and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in the development of these regulations. This way, IATA ensures that the regulations for the transport of dangerous goods by air are effective, efficient and internationally accepted to facilitate their transport while putting the safety of all those on board first.

Limitations for shipping dangerous goods

While some dangerous goods are too dangerous for transport by air except under very detailed allowance by the civil aviation authority, many can only be transported on cargo-only aircraft, and others can be transported on both cargo and passenger aircraft. No matter which type of aircraft the dangerous goods are shipped on, there are always specific requirements that must be followed.

When considering limitations for shipping dangerous goods it is never acceptable to ship any substance that is likely to "explode, dangerously react, produce a flame or dangerous evolution of heat or dangerous emission of toxic, corrosive or flammable gases or vapours under conditions normally encountered in transport must not be carried on aircraft under any circumstance," per the IATA DGR.

There are still many other materials that may only be carried under very particular circumstances. These are considered "Dangerous Goods Forbidden Unless Exempted."

Other everyday items may not seem outwardly dangerous but need to be checked for hazardous components, such as battery-powered devices, breathing apparatus, and dental apparatus. This is why it is important that passenger check-in, cargo reservation, sales, and passenger reservation staff all be provided with appropriate information so that they are well-informed and well-trained on what are dangerous goods.

Classification of dangerous goods

Dangerous goods are grouped into nine classes:

  • Class 1-Explosives

  • Class 2-Gasses

  • Class 3-Flammable Liquids

  • Class 4-Flammable Solids; Substance Liable to Spontaneous Combustion; Substances which, in Contact with Water, Emit Flammable Gases

  • Class 5-Oxidizing Substances and Organic Peroxides

  • Class 6-Toxic and Infectious Substances

  • Class 7-Radioactive Material

  • Class 8-Corrosives

  • Class 9-Miscellaneous Dangerous Substances and Articles, Including Environmentally Hazardous Substances

Several classes are separated into sub-divisions due to the wide scope of the hazards within the class.