Advice on safe shipping of hazardous materials

Shipping hazardous materials is a very complicated process. International shipping regulations have changed a lot since 2001. Nowadays, laws and regulations regarding this matter have become stricter than before. And the list of potentially hazardous materials has become longer than ever. Luckily, you do not have to learn about every potentially hazardous item. If you find a good freight forwarder in Saudi Arabia, they should be your go-to place for information. However, maybe you would like to know a little bit about this matter before you jump into international shipping.  If you do, read this helpful advice on the safe shipping of hazardous materials.

Small danger sign warning about hazardous materials
Safe shipping of hazardous materials is no joke

Learn about what is considered a hazardous material

When you are thinking about the safe shipping of hazardous materials, first you need to learn what is considered a hazardous material in international shipping.  Here is the small list of materials that are considered hazardous:

  • Hazardous chemicals
  • Infectious substances
  • Radioactive materials
  • Compressed gases
  • Dry ice
  • Liquid nitrogen

These descriptions will help you identify products that contain hazardous materials

On the other hand, you might be shipping to Saudi Arabia a product that could contain hazardous materials. Moreover, you could have big problems in Saudi customs clearance if you fail to notice it. As well as in other customs clearances all over the world. But how to know does your product contain such materials? Well, you can read the product’s description. Here is the list of words that may indicate that your product contains hazardous materials:

  • Explosive
  • Acidic
  • Combustible
  • Flammable
  • Infectious
  • Inflammable
  • Poison
  • Radioactive
  • Toxic
  • Corrosive
  • Caustic
  • Communicable
  • Compressed gas
  • Refrigerated
  • Volatile

Terms that could identify a product with hazardous material

Another way to identify products that potentially contain hazardous materials is to look for certain terms in a product’s description. Here are the most common examples:

  • Air Bags – This product uses airbag inflators, or airbag modules or seat-belt pretensioners that may contain hazardous materials.
  • Air Conditioning Equipment – This type of product may contain pressurized fuels and gasses.
  • Batteries – There are many types of batteries and some are regulated as hazardous materials. Learn about the safe shipping of hazardous materials before you start shipping batteries.
  • Camping equipment – This may indicate that your shipment contains batteries, flammable fuels and liquids, lighters, signal flairs and similar items that are considered to contain hazardous materials.
  • Construction equipment – This may imply that your shipment contains CO2, batteries, different types of fuels and chemicals.
  • Electronic equipment – Almost every piece of electronic equipment contains hazardous materials. There may be magnets, different batteries, or even mercury.
  • Household goods or items – May contain paints, different sorts of chemicals, sprays and many other hazardous materials.
Pile of batteries
Batteries are one of the main problems

Safe shipping of hazardous materials – batteries

The most common thing that you will have to think about is batteries. They can be found in numerous products. And we are not only talking about regular batteries that you can find under a battery lid on the back of your item. Many products contain small hidden batteries that you are not even aware of. They usually control one part of your product, like a switch or internal memory. That is why you need to know your product well before you hire shipping companies in Bahrain to transport it.

Learn about types of batteries before safe shipping of hazardous materials

So many products use batteries of some sort. Therefore, you can find dozens of different kinds and sizes of batteries. They are divided into lead-acid batteries, non-spillable batteries, lithium metal, lithium-ion batteries and the rest are denoted as “other batteries”. Also, you cannot ship recycled batteries by air.

Packing is one of the most important parts of safe shipping of hazardous materials

If you are shipping batteries or products that contain batteries, you must take certain steps before sending your item. Of course, the most important part is to remove the battery if it’s possible and to pack it separately. When you pack your battery, make sure that you protect it from being damaged or crushed. 

If you can’t remove it you must protect and insulate all terminals that may trigger a short circuit.  Of course, if you have a device that contains batteries you must make sure that it doesn’t turn on while in transport. You need to know that even the smallest and simplest devices can cause a fire if they accidentally turn on. Therefore, your task will be to protect all switches to make sure that it doesn’t happen.

Which packaging to use when safe shipping of hazardous materials

Besides batteries, there are many more hazardous materials that you can come across. But the most important part is to use suitable packaging. It is not enough to pack a hazardous material in a cardboard box or in a plastic bag.  You need to make sure that your item is in a package that will protect it from all outer influences. And that it will keep all potential spills safely inside.  If you are not sure how to do it, hire some help. There are some great packaging companies in Jeddah that could be of service in this situation.

Illustration of a employee learning about safe shipping of hazardous materials
Train your employees or you will have to pay for professionals

Train your employees for safe shipping of hazardous materials

If you are a company that is planning to ship hazardous materials on a regular basis, hiring packaging companies may be costly in the long run. That is why you should train your staff to do it. Try to find a training center in your vicinity for handling dangerous materials. On the other hand, you can probably find an online course that they could complete. Of course, make sure that you do it too. That way you can control your employees better.

Prepare instructions that everyone can see

Your packing and handling hazardous materials process should put to paper and hang somewhere where everyone can see it. It is good to have it as a reminder, to reduce the risk of potential problems. It should contain directions on handling hazardous materials, packaging directions, proper labeling, use of tools. AS well as all other aspects of the process.

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