Dangerous Goods 2: DGR Checking

Our first DGR newsletter last month touched on the rules, restrictions and regulations involved with the shipping of dangerous goods. This issue looks more closely at the roles of the people working with DGR who are key in making sure shippers comply with air regulations and any potential risks are minimised.

The transportation of some items may endanger the safety of an aircraft or the people on board. These are classified as dangerous goods and it is the ground handler’s duty to establish that all relevant checks have been carried out, any irregularities have been reported and that all shipments are correctly packed, labelled and documented before they are transported.

Shipper

The main responsibility for a Dangerous Goods (DGR) shipment lies with the shipper or packer. Whoever signs the “shipper’s declaration” bears the main responsibility that the shipment is declared and packed according to the regulations for transport by air.

DGR Checker

DGR checkers, employed by the airline or ground handler (GHA), perform an equally important role in ensuring the shipment is “declared and packed” according to the current IATA regulations.

However, the airline or GHA representative rarely looks inside the package to check the shipment has been packed according to the declaration

This is not practiced for obvious reasons (for example, possible contamination, dangers to personnel if there is some leakage) and the Airline accepts the signature of the shipper as proof that the contents inside the package are correctly declared.

Warehouse

The actual dangerous goods check performed in the warehouse of the airline/ GHA is only part of the process.

Some substances can react very dangerously if they come into contact with each other, so every airline or GHA must ensure the Dangerous Goods shipment is stored correctly. This responsibility falls to the warehouse operators who need to be aware of, and ensure they follow, DGR class segregation guidelines covering storage in the warehouse.

The warehouse operator may also be restricted in the amount of dangerous goods that can be stored. If there was a fire in the facility the stored dangerous goods could make matters much worse. Therefore, in the event of an emergency the warehouse operator must be able to provide the fire authorities with an inventory of dangerous goods. Or at the very least, be able to advise the fire crews where in the warehouse they are being stored.

Handlers & Loaders

All handlers and loaders of DGR shipments must receive training in the correct handling of the DGR shipments. Segregation must be strictly enforced to ensure that all the loaded DGR shipments are compatible with each other and that when they are loaded onto the aircraft that no incompatible shipments come into contact with each other.

Lashing of DGR shipments is also a big part of the loaders responsibility, if the shipment is not held in place by other cargo then the loader will need to tie the shipment to the loading equipment to ensure there is no possible way the package can move inflight.

DGR shipments containing substances with a serious hazard must be placed on the outside edge of the pallet to ensure visibility, as loading crews may need to identify the location of the hazard before loading to the aircraft.

Aircraft

Aircraft load crews are also involved in the DGR process chain and can quickly identify DGR loaded by a special pallet tag. All DGR shipments are declared by the airline or GHA onto a Notification to Captain (NOTOC). This document (or message) is used by the flight crew to identify what DGR shipments are included in the load. In the event of a flight emergency the crew will need to advise air traffic control of any hazards on board the aircraft.

Interesting Fact

The shipping of Dangerous Goods by air is big business and almost all commercial flights will carry dangerous goods of some kind in the lower holds. Anything from explosives to radioactive materials can all be loaded in the holds below passengers.

Enjoy your next flight!

Airlines take the safety of its aircraft, passengers and crew very seriously.

Any breach in the regulations by a GHA can bring significant penalties. Small clerical errors (even those that pose no danger) are still treated very seriously. In some cases an airline can impose a “double check” culture where every shipment must be checked twice by the GHA staff.

Hermes & DGR

The integrated Hermes DGR system can assist your users in the correct checking of Dangerous Goods shipper’s declarations.

This full check solution includes:

  • Fully updated and date relevant DGR data used in the check process, ensuring your staff are using the most recent DGR data
  • Full handheld package checks
  • Automated checklists production
  • One button NOTOC production
  • ADR compliant
  • Message support for FDD (in/out), NTM & NOT

This check solution is supported by our DGR data suppliers DGM.

More information?

For comprehensive information from IATA on the Dangerous Goods Regulations visit their website: www.iata.org

Questions?

If you have any questions on the topics discussed here mail us at marketing@hermes-cargo.com

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