The Safe Transportation of Dangerous Goods by Air

Article 18 of the SARPs of the ICAO made provision for the carriage of dangerous goods. States of Origin and States of Operator shall only give approval to an aircraft when the safety proscribed by the technical instructions is attained. This is also the possibility of getting exemption from the standard set by the technical instructions if the need to transport the dangerous goods is extremely urgent, no other means of transporting it or when full compliance with the proscribed requirements is contrary to the public interest. Full compliance is very important for Contracting States to ensure when it comes to following the Technical Instructions meant for transporting dangerous goods. In a situation where a Contracting State acts differently fro what the Technical Instructions states, it must quickly inform ICAO about this.

States should make provisions to enable dangerous goods intended for air transport and prepared in accordance with the ICAO Technical Instructions to be accepted for surface transport to or from aerodromes. To ensure facilitate the compliance with the rules behind transporting dangerous goods, each Contracting States shall elect and indicate an authority to be responsible for this to ICAO.

Dangerous goods need to be packed well. According to the Chapter 5 of the Annex 18, packaging used for the transport of dangerous goods by air shall be of good quality and shall be constructed and securely closed so as to prevent leakage, which might be caused in normal conditions of transport, by changes in temperature, humidity or pressure, or by vibration. Whether the content is directly in contact with the dangerous goods or not, the packaging must be suitable for with no reaction with it as well. According to the provision set in the Technical Instructions, packagings must be test so as to know if it meets the material and construction specification. It is important that all breakable or leakable goods must be well packed, secured or cushioned such that at normal condition, it will not break or leak during transportation. In addition, the materials used in packaging must have no reactive potentials with the goods. Re-using already used packagings must be free of damage and stains of corrosive elements and operator must not allow it to contaminate prospective goods to be packed with it.

Labeling with the standard labels must be placed on every package of dangerous goods, which must be in consonance with the provisions in the Technical Instructions. Unless otherwise provided for in the Technical Instructions, each package of dangerous goods shall be marked with the proper shipping name of its contents and, when assigned, the UN number and such other markings as may be specified in those Instructions. Also, until a dangerous good meets the required specification proscribed by the Technical Instructions, it must not be marked. As regards the language of markings, English is the preferred language.

According to Chapter 5 of Annex 18, before a person offers any package or over pack of dangerous goods for transport by air, that person shall ensure that the dangerous goods are not forbidden for transport by air and are properly classified, packed, marked, labeled and accompanied by a properly executed dangerous goods transport document. Except otherwise stated in the Technical Instruction, it is mandatory for the person transporting the dangerous goods by air to provide a document of declaration written in English language (that certifies that the goods are well described by their proper shipping names, classified, packed, marked, labeled, and in proper condition according to the relevant regulations) to the operator which has been completed, well signed and provide.

Here appears the responsibility of the operator that there must be no acceptance of dangerous goods without the completed declaration document, with the signature of the person transporting it. More so, the container containing the dangerous goods must have undergone inspection as well before it is accepted for transportation by air. The operator can guide himself with a developed checklist for acceptance to know if there has been compliance.

For radioactive elements, what was proscribed in Technical Instructions must be complied with. It must be inspected to ascertain it is free of leakage damage before loading and stowing. If there is a leakage or damage, the operator shall call for its removal by appropriate authority and ensure that all containers are perfectly arranged before flying. While after transportation, it is observed that where the radioactive elements or any dangerous goods were stowed had been contaminated, it shall be inspected and appropriate action must be taken to handle the contamination. Such action includes taking the aircraft out of operation until it is ascertained that the radiation level is low at an accessible level and the non-fixed contamination are not more than the values specified in the Technical Instructions. Except in permitted circumstances, Dangerous goods shall not be carried in an aircraft cabin occupied by passengers or on the flight deck of an aircraft.

Most times, reactive goods can start interaction with each other when together. When there are two or more dangerous goods having the possibility of reacting with each other, they shall not be kept close to each other or not allowed to be kept in a position that would be dangerous if there is leakage. Humans, animals, undeveloped films must be a good distance away from where the packages of radioactive goods are stowed.

When dangerous goods subject to the provisions contained herein are loaded in an aircraft, the operator shall protect the dangerous goods from being damaged, and shall secure such goods in the aircraft in such a manner that will prevent any movement in flight which would change the orientation of the packages.

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