Packaging of dangerous goods for safer transport

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A new International Standard will help prevent the release of dangerous substances into the environment and contribute to the overall safety of people and property.

Accidents and incidents can occur when transporting goods of any type, but when these goods are classified as being 'dangerous' the consequences can be very serious. For example, the spillage of dangerous goods can lead to fire, explosion or chemical burn. Although accidents associated with transporting dangerous goods carried by road, rail, inland waterway, or when in a harbour area, can never be completely eliminated, the packaging used for their transport plays a key role in greatly minimizing such risks.

ISO 16104:2003, Packaging - Transport packaging for dangerous goods - Test methods

Published by ISO (International Organization for Standardization), ISO 16104:2003, Packaging - Transport packaging for dangerous goods - Test methods, provides internationally recognized test methods for showing that the packaging used meets minimum international requirements in the worldwide transport of dangerous goods. It will help ensure the effectiveness of the packaging design in providing adequate physical safeguards for the given dangerous product. The standard is performance-based and imposes no design specifications other than a few general requirements.

"ISO 16104 will contribute towards limiting human exposure to - and the release of - dangerous materials into the environment," said Mick Maghar, Secretary of the subcommittee that developed the new standard.

The new standard was developed with a view to providing requirements and test procedures designed to meet the multi-modal United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods. The successful passing of the tests contained in ISO 16104 may lead to the allocation of an appropriate packaging mark.

"The new standard will make it easier to apply the UN Recommendations and leave fewer areas open to interpretation. What's more, it will also contribute towards the consistent application of the regulations in different areas of the world," further explains Mr. Maghar.

ISO 16104:2003 costs 140 Swiss francs and is available from ISO national member institutes (see the complete list with contact details) and from ISO Central Secretariat. The new standard is the work of ISO technical committee ISO/TC 122, Packaging, subcommittee SC 3, Performance requirements and tests for means of packaging, packages and unit loads.

Note: The UN Recommendations have been developed by the United Nations Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods as a "model regulation" in the light of technical progress, the advent of new substances and materials, the exigencies of modern transport systems and, above all, the need to ensure the safety of people, property and the environment.

Elizabeth Gasiorowski-Denis
Elizabeth Gasiorowski-Denis

+41 22 749 03 25
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