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Classification, labelling and packaging in accordance with the model regulations of the United Nations for the transport of dangerous goods

The fundamental decision as to whether cargo has to be transported as dangerous good is based on hazard characteristics. For this reason, the criteria for the nine existing dangerous goods classes constitute a key element of the global dangerous goods regulations of the United Nations. The criteria take into consideration the physical-chemical properties and biological hazards of substances. The following are regulated:

  • Explosives (Class 1)
  • Gases (Class 2)
  • Flammable liquids (Class 3)
  • Flammable solids; substances liable to spontaneous combustion; substances, which in contact with water, emit flammable gases. (Class 4)
  • Oxidizing substances and organic peroxides (Class 5)
  • Toxic and infectious substances (Class 6)
  • Radioactive materials (Class 7)
  • Corrosive substances (Class 8)
  • Miscellaneous dangerous goods and articles, including environmentally hazardous substances (Class 9).

In most classes, dangerous goods are assigned to one of three packaging groups, depending on the severity of the hazard they constitute. The requirements for transport conditions depend on these packaging groups, in particular where packaging is concerned. If goods have several dangerous properties in several dangerous goods classes, this must be taken into account in the labelling as well as the packaging.

Allocation of a number in the directory of dangerous goods at the United Nations

If a cargo has to be classified as dangerous good due to its properties, it must have assigned to it a four-digit “UN Number”, a consecutive number in the directory of dangerous goods maintained by the United Nations. A cargo can be listed with a specific entry of the name of the substance or with an entry of a group of similar substances or materials. In addition to the UN number and the designation and description of the dangerous goods, the entry in the list of dangerous goods also contains information on the packaging types authorised for the transport and, where necessary, on the applicable special regulations or exceptions.

Labelling with hazard symbols

The allocated hazard classes also determine the labelling of the dangerous goods. In addition to the name and UN number, each package must have hazard label applied to it which draw attention to its hazardous properties. Their design is prescribed in detail in the UN model regulations. Pictograms can be downloaded from the hazardous substance pages of the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development.


External Links

Dangerous Goods Database of the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing


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