Whether you’re completing the dangerous goods transport information on a Dangerous Goods Note (DGN), ADR transport document or hazardous waste consignment note, here are our top three tips to getting everything correct.

1 – Get a copy of the regulations

Whether it’s ADR, the IMDG Code, or IATA, make sure you have the most up to date copies of the regulations and you follow through the requirements for completing the dangerous goods information.

You can even download the latest version of ADR for free! Just search for “ADR UNECE” using your preferred search engine.

By following Chapter 5.4 of ADR or the IMDG Code, or Section 8 of IATA, you’ll be able to make sure that you:

  • complete the dangerous goods description in the correct order,
  • supplement the Proper Shipping Name where appropriate, and,
  • include any additional information required, such as the flashpoint, additional information and terms for specific classes and the required package information

2 – Get trained and keep your training up to date

Whatever mode or modes of transport you’re preparing dangerous goods for, there will almost always be mandatory training requirements.

For air transport, this may involve an IATA Shipper’s Course.

For road transport using ADR and sea transport using the IMDG Code, this may involve general awareness training, plus function-specific training, such as for completing documentation.

Our online training available at: https://www.dangerousgoodstrainingonline.com covers general awareness training for ADR and the IMDG Code, plus, we have specific function-awareness training available for completing dangerous goods paperwork.

The general awareness training will teach you what the paperwork is, when it is required and how long you have to keep a copy for.

The function-specific training will teach you how to accurately complete the required dangerous goods paperwork for road and sea transport.

Don’t forget to refresh your training as the regulations change!

3 – Empathy

As with learning any new skill, practice makes perfect. But why do we see so many DGNs come through our DGSA Helpdesk that have been rejected by forwarders and shipping lines?

Well, the answer usually lies in points 1 and 2 above.

Failing that, try to think about what you’re trying to achieve with your dangerous goods document. We’re not talking Jedi mind-tricks here, just a bit of empathy for the people further down the shipping chain.

For example, if you’re shipping limited quantities by sea, the shipping line may want to establish, firstly, that they are limited quantities (so make sure you’ve declared them as such) and secondly, that your goods meet the limited quantities requirements. So they probably want to see a description of the outer packaging accompanied by the quantity or weight, in order to see that the 30 kg gross mass limit per package has not been exceeded.

If you’re shipping flammable liquids by sea transport, the forwarder and shipping line will check that the packing group matches the flashpoint you provide – so make sure that the information you’re providing matches the product you’re shipping!

Your forwarder or shipping line may also ask you to include information that isn’t required by the regulations, such as details of inner packagings of combination packages, or the type of aerosol being shipped to name just a couple of examples. Don’t worry though, just include it if their request seems sensible; be pragmatic and help them out.

See, you’re already becoming a DGN expert!