Did you know that the Dangerous Goods Regulations in New Zealand state that laptops are considered dangerous goods? Surprising, right? Dangerous goods can become downright complex, so it’s critical to know just what makes a good hazardous and what is deemed hazardous for when you’re planning to send any of these items. That way you’ll know whether you need to fill out a dangerous goods form or undergo specific training. Here are ten goods classified as dangerous that may surprise you, and an explanation on why they are considered hazardous to transport.
1. Lithium batteries
Why are Lithium batteries dangerous?
According to the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA), “most lithium-ion batteries, including those found in laptops and cell phones, can give off a flammable gas.” What makes these batteries dangerous is that they can heat up if not monitored correctly or if they are punctured, which can result in a fire.
When transporting any items that contain lithium batteries, do be aware that they are classified as Class 9 dangerous goods. For this reason, lithium batteries may need pre-approval before sending, depending on your carrier. As the most commonly sent dangerous good, the IATA dangerous goods regulations list go into more detail on what is needed to send Lithium Batteries and further explains why they’re dangerous on planes.
2. Aerosols cans
Aerosols are a Class 2 dangerous good. Aerosols are anything in a pressurised can such as spray paints, deodorants, air fresheners and gas canisters. What makes aerosols a hazardous good is that they have certain properties which increase their risk of combustion. This means that if there was some kind of spark or if the aerosol was placed at a high temperature, the aerosol would explode and cause harm to anyone or anything around it.
There have been many instances where incorrect aerosol storage has led to workplace accidents, so it’s essential to handle these dangerous goods properly. Understanding what is considered hazardous will help you to understand the dangerous goods responsibilities that are required.
Paint is a Class 3 flammable liquid. Paint is another product that doesn’t sound overly dangerous but is considered hazardous because of the solvent in each paint bottle or tin.
Can paint be delivered?
Paint can be delivered so long as proper procedure is followed and all delivery partners are aware of what you’re sending. Additionally, the paint container should be sealed appropriately to make sure it does not leak during transportation.
What you can do is tap the container against your hand or knee to get rid of any air bubbles inside before sealing it tightly.
Even the most innocent looking items such as perfumes, makeup, and creams can be hazardous. Perfumes in particular are a Class 3 dangerous good because they contain ethanol, a flammable liquid that can leak. The consequences could be disastrous.
How to send Perfumes in NZ
When transporting perfume, package it in an inner packaging like a box or compartment divider and place this inside your original manufacturer’s container that has been properly sealed. Then put these items into the outer container. You should also communicate with your carrier company to let them know you are sending perfumes, so they can follow safety procedures when delivering it.
Fireworks are explosives, and as such, they fall under the Dangerous Goods Classification 1. However, over time they may become unstable. As they’re a dangerous good, it’s still critical to ensure they are stored and transported correctly.
Fireworks in particular are subject to the Hazardous substance (fireworks) Regulations 2001 in which any importer of fireworks must obtain a certificate for each type of fireworks that is being sent.
Fireworks aren’t allowed to be transported by sea but some are via air, so it’s best to check with your shipping company which items are able to be sent and by what means for the safety of everyone involved.
Do note that fires can be started from fireworks if they are not packaged adequately and appropriately handled. Other items under Classification 1 (Explosives) include rifle ammunition, flares, and toy caps.
Pesticides are considered hazardous substances as they include chemicals that can cause serious harm to humans. These chemicals can be active or inactive. The Dangerous Goods List of New Zealand states that pesticides’ transport, distribution, and use are strictly regulated under the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (ACVM) Act 1997. Their carriage must not pose an unacceptable risk to humans, livestock, property, or the environment.
Pesticides can include:
- Most agricultural insecticides
- Some weed killers
Pesticides fall into Class B Hazmat (hazardous materials) and is a Dangerous Good under the Dangerous Goods classification 6.1 (Toxic). To transport pesticides, you must meet specific standards such as classifying them correctly, meeting proper packaging requirements and labelling each package with UN identification number 20B or 21B.
7. Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide falls under Class 5 of the substances that are considered dangerous goods in New Zealand as it is an oxidising agent. Oxidising compounds are chemicals that do not necessarily burn but may lead to the combustion of other materials by emitting oxygen. Oxidising agents are more dangerous when combined with flammable materials because the combustion is successful when both oxygen and fuel are mixed in an ignition source.
Classification 5 of oxidising agents has two divisions.
- Division 5.1: Oxidising substances that include hydrogen peroxide (bleach), calcium hypochlorite (pool chlorine) and nappy sanitisers.
- Division 5.2: Organic Peroxides including hardeners from products like Plastibond.
If your package contains hydrogen peroxide, it must be separated from the other goods, and from other items under this Class. Pre-approval from your carrier may be needed to ensure the safety of all those helping to transport these items.
8. Used healthcare products
Any used healthcare products that could contain chemical waste or any blood samples are dangerous. Chemical waste and blood samples are classified under Classification 6 of the Dangerous Goods code.
Healthcare products that may contain chemical waste or blood samples such as needles or syringes will be under division 6.2 (Infectious substances). The Health Act 1956 and Medicines Act 1981 deem division 6.2 as “infectious substances affecting humans”. In addition to that Biosecurity Act 1993 also term division 6.2 as “Infectious substances affecting animals.”
Fertilisers such as ammonium nitrate are oxidising substances and therefore can be classified as a Class 5 Dangerous Good. However, depending on the quantity being shipped, it can also be classified under Class 9 miscellaneous dangerous goods.
Ammonium nitrate fertiliser is an excellent example of an item that can be classified as more than one type of dangerous good. This is why if you plan to send any hazardous goods, it’s essential to understand the Land Transport Rule: Dangerous Goods 2005 set out to ensure the transportation process stays safe.
Like any dangerous good that is left mishandled, it can, in worse cases, take lives. In 2015, 200 lives were taken in Beirut when ammonium nitrate was left unattended for 7 years. “Ammonium nitrate is not inherently dangerous, but it becomes unsafe if put in storage, often in a warehouse that is contaminated or where the storage parameters for the cargo are not being followed properly.”
10. Sanitisers and alcohol wipes
Alcohol wipes are considered dangerous goods because they contain flammable solvents, such as ethanol. Alcohol wipes fall under Class 4 of substances that are considered volatile solids. As most sanitising solutions like alcohol wipes and sanitisers contain more than 70% of alcohol, they are also considered a dangerous good. However, hand-sanitiser is classified as a Class 3 (Flammable liquids) dangerous good.
If you plan to send hand-sanitisers or alcohol wipes, it’s crucial to have the correct labelling and proper training to ensure that these items will be handled safely. Pre-approval may be required by the carrier before sending.
When sending dangerous goods, for the safety of everyone, you should ensure you understand what is considered a dangerous good and the procedure and training that needs to take place to send such goods. For example, you may need to fill out a dangerous goods form and also understand the variety of dangerous goods labels.
Remember there are courses available to upskill yourself or your team in the sending of dangerous goods. These courses ensure you’re positioned to understand the Land Transport Rules: Dangerous Goods 2005 and they include Effective Dangerous Goods Road Handling Training.