Frequently Asked Questions
Dangerous Goods Training
Do I need training to ship dangerous goods (hazmat)?
Yes, all persons involved in the preparation and shipping of dangerous goods must have appropriate training. The amount of training required depends on the tasks undertaken. An indication of the training requirements is set out in subsection 1.5 of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR).
I need to send a shipment of dangerous goods by air but I don’t have the training (yet). What can I do?
You can outsource the task to a qualified service partner until you comply with the training requirements as per subsection 1.5 of the IATA DGR.
Where can I find the right training?
Many Civil Aviation Authorities (CAA) require dangerous goods training schools to be approved by the CAA. Approved schools are then listed on the CAA website. In addition, IATA has a accreditation scheme for dangerous goods training schools and authorized training centers. IATA-endorsed schools:
IATA also offers on-site training for larger groups of students.
Other commercial dangerous goods training schools may be found in the Yellow pages.
I only ship infectious substances in Category B and/or Exempt Human/Animal Specimen, do I need training?
There is no legal requirement for persons shipping these substances to have training. However, in order to ensure a proper understanding of the dangerous goods regulations dangerous goods training is recommended that at least covers general awareness and packing / classification of these specimens.
I am trained myself. Can I provide dangerous goods training to my employees / colleagues?
That depends on the local CAA regulations. Many countries require that both dangerous goods courses and instructors have formal CAA approval. In addition the IATA DGR requires that instructors of dangerous goods courses “have adequate instructional skills and must have successfully completed a DG training program”.
My training expired last month but I will attend training next week. Can I prepare DG Shipments in the meantime?
No, you have to attend recurrent training first.
Can I attend dangerous goods training online?
Online or computer based training may be appropriate for awareness training or for shipper training dealing with limited types of products, e.g. infectious substances. However, for more detailed courses covering dangerous goods acceptance or shipper training for multiple classes of dangerous goods, classroom training is recommended as classroom training with an instructor allows for topics to be addressed in more detail.
What's an IATA Accredited Training School?
IATA's accredited training school program is scheme whereby training schools submit their course material to IATA for review. A team of airline training experts review the material and determine whether the course meets the minimum standards necessary to become an IATA Accredited School. This establishes a minimum worldwide standard for dangerous goods training. Note however, that some countries have higher standards for training and may require training schools to be approved by the national government. There is no requirement that training be obtained from an Accredited School, however, such a school can be expected to deliver good quality training.
Who must have dangerous goods training?
The legal requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organization's Technical Instructions for the safe transport of dangerous goods by air requires that initial and recurrent in-depth training must be taken by shippers and their agents, packers, freight forwarders, cargo agents, operators (or airlines), agencies handling operators and performing the cargo acceptance function.
Awareness level training is required for staff of operators and agencies acting on behalf of operators performing the functions of ground handling, storage and loading of cargo and baggage; passenger handling and security staff responsible for screening passengers and their baggage; flight crew members and flight attendants.
How often must this training take place?
The ICAO Technical Instructions require that recurrent training must take place within 24 months of previous training to ensure that the knowledge is current, unless a competent authority has defined a shorter period. For example the United States requires operator staff to have recurrent training every year and The Netherlands requires recurrent training every 18 months.
What must the training cover?
- Familiarization: provide an awareness of the general provisions of the Regulations, including the criteria of the hazard classes and the identification of dangerous goods presented as general cargo;
- Specific training: provide detailed training in the requirements applicable to the function for which the student is responsible;
- Safety training: cover the hazards presented by dangerous goods and safe handling and emergency procedures.
What are dangerous goods?
Dangerous Goods are items that may endanger the safety of an aircraft or persons on board the aircraft. Dangerous Goods are also known as restricted articles, hazardous materials and dangerous cargo. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) or the local Civil Aviation Authority Regulations governs their carriage onboard aircraft. Many common items found in your household are considered dangerous goods for the purpose of air transport.
How do I know if my product is considered to be Dangerous Goods / Hazmat?
The Regulations place the responsibility for correct classification of dangerous goods on the shipper. Classification criteria for each class and division of dangerous goods is stipulated in DGR Section 3. Advice on the correct classification of a substance should be sought from the manufacturer or distributor of the substance. In addition classification may be performed by an accredited testing laboratory or advice can be sought from the competent authority.
The material safety data sheet (MSDS) that I have from the manufacturer really does not help to determine the correct classification and proper shipping name. What can I do?
Unfortunately many MSDS do not provide accurate classification for transport purposes. You should further inquire with the manufacturer or distributor or have the product tested by an authorized laboratory.
I have a shipment of electronic equipment containing lithium batteries, is it classified as a dangerous good?
Yes, but it may be exempted from the need of formal declaration. Check Section II of the applicable packing instruction in the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations. Or our lithium battery guidance document
How do I know if my Lithium batteries meet the requirements of the “UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, Part III, subsection 38.3”?
Check with the manufacturer or distributor for a recent MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet). Usually such MSDS are available on corporate manufacturers websites.
What's the relationship between the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations and the ICAO Technical Instructions?
The IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations is a "field manual" version of the ICAO Technical Instructions. Written and edited by airline dangerous goods experts, the Dangerous Goods Regulations presents the requirements for shipping dangerous goods by air in a user friendly, easy to interpret format. It also includes additional information which can assist shippers in making sure their consignments are in compliance and will be accepted quickly and easily by the airlines. Finally, since IATA airlines are somewhat stricter in their requirements than the ICAO Technical Instructions, the DGR specifies more precisely how to prepare a shipment.
We have done everything correct but the airline has refused to carry our shipment. What can we do?
Talk to the airline and try to get as much information as possible. Check the State and operator variations of Section 2 of the IATA DGR: Have you observed all variations ? Is there any likelihood the shipment may have been damaged on its way to the airport? Bear in mind that Paragraph 1.2.4 of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations clearly stipulates that Airlines are not obliged to transport a particular substance or product. They are free to impose requirements beyond and above the regulations.
Why do I have to declare lithium batteries as dangerous goods for Cargo Aircraft only according to US State variations if I do not send them to or from the US ?
Many longhaul flights have at least a fuelling stop at US destinations such as Anchorage. That brings US variations into effect.
What is a "Full" address?
While there is no definition of a "full address" in the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations, we recommend that a full address be an address indicating a physical location that would be acceptable in the Post (mail) in that country. This means that abbreviations would be completely acceptable.
Examples of these abbreviations could be USA, UAE, AUS or TX, QC, NSW.
Can I use any fiberboard box to meet the Limited Quantity provisions?
No. It is a myth that just any cardboard box will do to meet the requirements. Under the Limited Quantity provisions the fiberboard box must meet certain specifications and be capable of specified drop and stacking tests.
Limited Quantity packaging is combination packaging, with inner packaging inside an outer package. The inners and outers must be constructed according to the same criteria as UN specification packaging. The inners must meet the construction criteria of DGR 6.1 and the outer the construction criteria of 6.2. So if you have glass inners - DGR 6.1.1 applies, and if you have a fiberboard outer DGR 6.2.10 applies.
Almost all the General Packaging Requirements of DGR 5.0.2 and 5.0.3 for shipping dangerous goods by air apply. DGR 18.104.22.168 explains which requirements do not apply.
The main difference between the UN specification package and the Limited Quantity one is the testing. The Limited Quantity packaging, when packed as for transport must be capable of withstanding a 1.2 meter drop test in a position most likely to cause most damage, without leakage, and be capable of withstanding, without breakage or leakage a 24 hour stacking test.
Where can I get UN specification packaging?
Appendix F in the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations contains a list of companies around the world that can supply the packaging you require. You can also access it here (pdf).
Disclaimer for Check Before You Pack Video
Disclaimer:"Although every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, Civil Aviation Department Hong Kong shall not be held responsible for loss or damage caused by errors, omissions, misprints or misinterpretation of the contents hereof. Furthermore, Civil Aviation Department Hong Kong disclaim all and any liability to any person in respect of anything done or omitted and the consequences of anything done or omitted, by any such person in reliance on the contents of this video".
Passenger Dangerous Goods
I have to transport urgent patient specimens but they have to be kept refrigerated. What do I need to do when I want to carry such specimen as a passenger?
Only specimens that have a minimal likelihood of containing pathogens may be carried in passenger baggage. If there is any doubt then the specimens must be treated as infectious substances, Category B, packaged according to Packing Instruction 650 and consigned as cargo. Infectious substances may be packed with Dry Ice (Carbon Dioxide, solid) or in a so-called Dry Shipper if they need to be kept refrigerated. Further information on infectious substances classification and packaging.
I am a sailor / pilot / skier and I want to travel by air with my life vest / parachute / avalanche rescue backpack. Are there any exceptions?
Passengers may carry certain articles even though the article contains dangerous goods. Parachutes themselves are not restricted. Some parachutes are fitted with an automatic activation device (AAD), e.g Cypres, which contain small quantities of explosive material. Most of these are not classified as dangerous goods and are not restricted in passenger baggage.
Avalanche rescue backpacks are authorized if they do not contain more than 200 mg net of explosives in Division 1.4S and / or not more than 250 milliliters of compressed gas in division 2.2.
Self-inflating life jackets are permitted if they contain not more than two small cylinders with a non-flammable gas in Division 2.2 plus not more than two spare cartridges per person. More information of what is permitted in passenger baggage.
For items that are acceptable only with approval from the airline, consult with your airline well in advance and also allow additional time for check-in.
For my personal safety I always carry a small can of Mace. Is there any problem?
Yes, disabling devices of any kind are forbidden in both carry-on and check-in baggage.
What to take out, what to declare and what's okay
As a general rule passengers are not permitted to transport dangerous goods on board an aircraft in their carry-on, checked baggage or on their person. The table below provides you with information on common items that may be prohibited or restricted due to the presence of dangerous goods. Enhanced security measures for carry on baggage, in many countries may override these allowances.
I am really unsure which of my personal belongings may be allowed and which not. I have doubts about my after shave / hairspray / gas cartridge for curling iron, etc.
Most normal toiletry items in reasonable quantities are acceptable and therefore allowed in carry-on and check-in baggage. List of items permitted in passenger baggage.
However, be aware that security requirements restrict liquids in carry-on baggage to those in containers of no more than 100 milliliters (3 fluid ounce). In addition the liquids must be packed in a clear Ziploc bag. For special items please check with your airline when making your reservation.
I am a sporting shooter and need to travel to a competition with my weapon and ammunition. Is there anything I have to observe?
Sporting weapons and an amount of ammunition up to 5 kg (11 lb) may be in passenger checked baggage only. The weapon must be unloaded and be in its designated transport box. Please check with the airline you intend to travel on to make necessary arrangements.
I am handicapped and want to travel with my battery-powered wheelchair. Can I travel by air with that?
Yes, but there are different procedures depending on the type of the batteries your wheelchair uses. Most modern types use gel-type non-spillable batteries, which are considered to be non-dangerous and can be loaded along with the checked baggage in the cargo compartment of an aircraft without further restrictions. Older “wet cell” batteries will require disconnection of the battery and possibly removal of the battery from the wheelchair with the battery being packed in a special box, depending on the type of aircraft. Lithium battery powered wheelchairs will also have additional requirements, please check with the manufacturer / distributor of your wheelchair and battery to get appropriate documentation also check with the airline well ahead of your planned trip.
I am planning to travel and want to take a number of items powered by lithium batteries such as a mobile phone, handheld computer, laptop computer, mobile printer, GPS system, MP3 player, etc. Is that a problem?
Provided the batteries are either installed in the equipment or packed in a way that they are sufficiently protected against short circuits there shouldn’t be a problem. There is a restriction on the carriage of larger spare lithium batteries of the type used to power video cameras. List of permitted items.
However, please be prepared for extended security checks when traveling with an unusual amount of electronic equipment and be aware although you may be allowed to carry these items their use on board the aircraft may be prohibited or at least limited. Check with your airline for further details.
For more information on lithium batteries