5. The point at which regulations become relevant is not just during shipment, but also prior to that, when the packaging is checked. How are those checks conducted, and what exactly is tested?
The dangerous goods regulations contain precise details about test procedures. They include drop tests, stacking pressure tests, leak tests and internal hydraulic pressure tests. UN-approved packaging can only be checked by official test facilities and must be certified in the form of test reports. In Germany the body which is often consulted as a test facility is the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (LINK: https://www.bam.de/Navigation/DE/Home/home.html). If a test has been passed, the institution issues a certificate.
6. As Düsseldorf Airport is an important traffic and transport hub where a large number of dangerous goods are shipped every day, you train your colleagues in the safe handling of hazardous materials and their packaging. How come you also offer such seminars to other target groups?
And who exactly are they? Before a dangerous goods shipment is approved for air transport, all the relevant persons involved in the preparations must have undergone suitable training. They include shippers, packers, carriers, airlines and ground handling staff. The training always concludes with a final exam, which must be repeated within 24 months, to ensure that their knowledge is up to date. Acting as training organisers, Düsseldorf Airport offers appropriate training in each of the twelve staff categories – a service it has provided for over 20 years. However, our training courses also include training on dangerous goods transport by road and by sea as well as on air security.
7. Why is it necessary and indeed a requirement for in-house and external staff to be well prepared from the very beginning and for such training to be repeated at regular intervals?
The training obligation is specified in the dangerous goods regulations for each mode of transport. Regular repetitions of such courses are indispensable to ensure awareness among the workforce. Otherwise they would almost never have access to new regulations or changes, and neither would they be aware of them. Experience has shown that unless a person works regularly with dangerous goods regulations, they quickly forget some of the points.
8. Packaging must provide protection from dangerous goods not only along the entire transport chain, but also when it is opened by the recipient. How exactly can packaging provide safety at that point?
Inner or individual packaging must be correctly sealed and contain advice on safe handling in compliance with the German Hazardous Substances Act.
9. How important is it for this purpose that the labelling on the packaging indicates straight away what kind of hazard there is?
Hazardous goods labels must be present on each packaging item and must show what kind of hazardous items it contains. This is the only way to comply with regulations on shipping, storage and separation. Such labelling is also important for emergency response staff, such as firefighters and police.
10. What differences are there between the carriage of dangerous goods by rail, air and road? Do the labelling regulations differ? And if so, how and why?
The dangerous goods regulations of the various modes of transport have in many cases been harmonised. In each mode of transport there are differences between the permitted volumes per package, and not every substance can be conveyed under each mode of transport. The shipping of dangerous goods in air transport differs with regard to markings and labelling requirements. Regulations also differ concerning the positions of labels. In air transport there is a requirement that, wherever possible, all the details must be displayed on the side of a package.
11. From explosives to radioactive substances: Why can certain substances only be transported along specified routes, and why are they subject to more stringent volume restrictions and higher technical requirements when they are shipped, for instance, by air?
In road transport, certain substances can only be taken along certain routes and are subject to tunnel codes. In air transport, on the other hand, we need to pay attention to differences between national requirements and airlines. The packaging, too, needs to meet special transport requirements in air transport. This includes major temperature differences, differences in pressure on the ground and in the air and also vibrations.