Hazardous materials and products of many kinds often need to be
packaged for shipment, transportation, storage, and other purposes. As might be
expected, packaging hazardous products safely and securely takes more
knowledge, preparation, and effort than does dealing with less-dangerous items.
Fortunately, simply being aware of the most frequently important issues will
make it possible to package hazardous materials and goods appropriately.
A Few Basic Concepts Combine to Dictate Packaging Requirements
There are thousands of different kinds of hazardous materials
and items that are regularly packaged for transportation or shipment. In
practice, most of these products and resources have enough in common with
others that some general guiding principles can be established.
As such, simply focusing on a handful of important issues will
normally make the most appropriate type of packaging clear. The factors that
are most fundamentally important in most cases are:
1- Container and material type
Hazardous materials are normally placed in appropriate containers before being packaged for shipping. Product lines like the HazPlus family of packaging materials are designed to cover all the most common types of containers. Boxes designed specifically to accommodate tin cans which contain hazardous materials, for instance, must be reinforced appropriately.
So-called “4GV” packages cover hazardous products regulated under section 178.601(g)(2) of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Materials which require special permits to ship will most often need to be packed into containers and boxes that adhere to the associated requirements.
2- Packing group
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration promulgates rules that govern the transportation of hazardous products over publicly accessible byways. Hazardous products and materials of all conceivable kinds are assigned to one of three established packing groups under this comprehensive scheme.
When a product seems eligible for inclusion in two or more packing groups, its proper classification must be established by referring to 49 CFR, Part 173, Subpart D. Knowing the packing group of a product from the outset will make it easier to choose an appropriate, compliant form of packaging in almost every case.
3- Carrier rules
All carriers adhere to the various federal packaging requirements for hazardous materials described in the CFR. Just about every shipping company also has its own particular rules that build on this foundation, as well. In many cases, these will reflect the particular processes that are typical of a given carrier and revolve around basics like the gross weight of a packaged product.
Carriers will oftentimes also try to simplify matters for their clients by including in their rules specific prohibitions against particularly common mistakes. FedEx, for instance, notes that its own packaging can never be used to ship hazardous products.
4- Mitigation and containment requirements
Finally, some types of hazardous products and materials can be shipped safely and legally only if their packaging is designed to mitigate the effects of mishaps that could happen along the way. Packages that are able, by design, to contain spills of hazardous materials held within them, for example, are frequently needed to ensure safe shipment.
Appropriate, Compliant Packages are Readily Available
Being familiar with issues like these will normally make it fairly straightforward to select packaging that is appropriate for any type of hazardous product that can be shipped. That is even more the case when care is taken to choose packaging that has been designed specifically for the purpose and type of product in question. Fortunately, high-quality packaging that accounts for all of these details and any other relevant ones can now be found and obtained quite easily.