Transportation of dangerous goods involves movement of highly toxic and hazardous material, and involves concern regarding the safety of not only the transporter, but also the public surrounding a large area around the dangerous goods. The transportation involves risks not only for the workers but also for the environment. The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) took a step in creating certain regulations regarding the transportation of such goods. Here, we will mainly discuss about the guidelines put forward by UN and also will discuss a brief history on the formation of the guidelines.
Various classes of dangerous goods
Before we discuss more about the transport of dangerous goods, we first require knowing about the classes of dangerous goods in brief. The dangerous goods can be mainly divided into 9 classes:
- Explosives-they are treated as class 1 since they have blaze up rapidly and easily out of a chemical reaction.
- Gases-gases are class 2 since any reaction out of them can spread rapidly.
- Flammable liquids – they are class 3 since they can also create an accident if not properly cared for.
- Flammable solids- they are generally heavy and even reactions can occur when they collide among themselves and thus is placed as class 4.
- Substances that are oxidizing- they can cause combustion when contacted with oxygen and due to redox reaction.
- Infectious and toxic substances- they can cause serious health hazards to the human beings and is also responsible for causing havoc with environmental pollution.
- Radioactive material- they can not only cause health hazards or environmental damage but can also cause blasts and other serious accidents making the whole area affected for at least a decade.
- Corrosives- they are goods that can damage or destroy anything by a chemical reaction process.
- Miscellaneous dangerous goods- it can be any other dangerous goods that are not covered within these previews of the above categories.
Guidelines put up by the UN regarding the transportation of dangerous goods.
Transport of dangerous goods needs to be followed under strict supervision to avoid danger to life and to ensure environmental protection. They are contained in the UN model regulations prepared by an expert committee and cover the transportation of these goods by all means except by bulk tankers or by the sea route. They are although not binding on the countries, but it has been widely accepted by the member countries and many national and international laws and treaties are based on such guidelines.
Brief history of the formation of the guidelines for the transport of dangerous goods
The concept was first introduced in the year 1956, but from 1996 it was divided into two parts for the ease in the understanding. The first part contains the suggestions for the drafting of the laws and regulations relating to the transport of dangerous goods. And the second part contains mainly about the technicalities for the methods of the testing procedures and the risks involved. The testing of the hazard level is based on the quantity and the packaging involved. Most of the transportation agencies around the globe follow the guidelines made. You can also found some good companies which transport your valuable goods with safety and security to one to another place.
Conclusive note on the formation of the guidelines
Transportation of the dangerous goods directly affects those who take the responsibility of transporting these goods. As the dangerous goods are all reactive and can cause explosions, contamination, and other health hazards. Therefore for the protection of the workers a fixed set of rules needs to be followed. As the transport of dangerous goods require inter country transports, therefore the UN intermediated in forming these guidelines for the general interest of all the countries. The protection off the environmental damage was also an important factor considered while the formation of the guidelines.