The UN System Explained

When organizations are involved in the transportation of dangerous goods, they must know about UN certified packaging.This is based on the UN System, which has been developed by United Nations member states for the classification, packaging, marking and labelling of hazardous goods.The national and international regulations are designed to facilitate the safe movement of goods and they cover road, rail, sea and air transport.

Under the rules, packaging must meet or exceed certain minimum standards of performance before it can be authorised for the carriage of the relevant goods. To qualify, samples of the packaging must be sent for testing. If the specimens pass the tests, then packaging may subsequently be produced to the same specification. This can also be referred to as the design-type.

Meanwhile, the packaging is allocated a unique UN approval mark and this is done by the competent authority of the country in question. In the UK, this is the secretary of state for transport. However, the VCA Dangerous Goods Office operates the UN package certification scheme on behalf of the secretary of state.The specification of each packaging material design type allocated a GB UN mark must be revalidated every five years to help ensure sufficient quality is maintained.

Thanks to the rigors of this system and the superb packing products now available, the risk of accidents involving dangerous goods in transit can be effectively minimised. This is good news for those who work with hazardous goods, as well as for the general public and the environment.

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