Truck and Track Summer 2023

Truck and Track Summer 2023 60 DANGEROUS GOODS Hazard labels and handling marks are designed to minimise the risk posed by dangerous goods. They give information about the products to those who are handling and transporting them and, should an incident occur, the labels help emergency responders to rapidly determine the best corrective action to take. It is logical, therefore, that there are standard parameters for the specification, quality and properties of labels and marks included in the dangerous goods regulations for each mode of transport, namely ADR (road), RID (rail), IATA DGR/ICAO TI (air) and IMDG Code (sea). Properties of Labels The international regulations state that “All labels shall be able to withstand open weather exposure without a substantial reduction in effectiveness.” Similar text applies for identification and handling marks, such as OVERPACK, SALVAGE, address labels, UN number, Proper Shipping Name etc. In ADR and RID, the properties of vehicle placards are also specified: “The material used shall be weather-resistant and ensure durable marking.” Understandably, the IMDG Code is more demanding: “The method of affixing the label(s) or applying stencil(s) of label(s) on packages containing dangerous goods shall be such that the label(s) or stencil(s) will still be identifiable on packages surviving at least three months’ immersion in the sea. In considering suitable labelling methods, account shall be taken of the durability of the packaging materials used and the surface of the package.” The requirement to withstand three month’s immersion in the sea is repeated in the IMDG Code to cover marks on packaged goods as well as placards and marks on cargo transport units. One way of ensuring that your labels and marks are likely to comply with the above requirements is to make sure that they are certified to BS5609. This is a globally recognised specification to test printed labels for their adhesive properties and resistance to abrasion and sunlight. Labels are tested offshore, usually on aluminium plates, to the requirements of the IMDG Code. Of course, to get the maximum adhesion, it is important that labels are applied to a clean, dry and suitable substrate. Applying labels to an extremely cold surface can also affect their adhesive properties. Labeline’s labels are BS5609 compliant. However, we are fortunate to be situated on the banks of a coastal estuary in Devon and this gives us the opportunity to go one further and test our labels on a variety of substrates. We hang the articles into the estuary, where they are dragged through the sand in a strong tidal environment and exposed to all weathers. The view from Labeline’s offices Labeline’s placards This picture shows how Labeline’s placards stood up to the rigours of sand abrasion and saltwater submersion after seven months in the estuary! Labels are also applied to a designated south-facing wall to test for UV deterioration. We have purchased and tested other suppliers’ products too and found it quite concerning that some will even wash away from the surface after just a couple of minutes sitting in a bucket of water! Hazard Label Specification Hazard labels for packaged goods transported by all modes have specified dimensions and rules that determine their appearance. Procurement departments are not always aware of the regulations and would not necessarily know to specify label requirements. To the trained eye, an online search for images of hazard labels for sale will quickly bring up a plethora of cheap labels with non-compliant or out-of-date designs. Snagged Shipments Usually, the biggest costs of the delay from a consignment being held, for whatever reason, are: ■ Damage to the shipper’s reputation from delays when shipments have missed vessels or aircraft. ■ Inconvenience of having to rectify the problem. ■ Customer dissatisfaction. Hazard Labels and Placards: The cheapest element of a Dangerous Goods shipment - or the most costly? Labeline’s Compliance Manager Richard Shreeve Richard Shreeve, Compliance Manager at Labeline International, highlights the potential costs of using sub-standard labelling