Transporting Dangerous Goods in Last Mile Delivery
The perils of last-mile delivery—that final leg of a product’s journey from the distribution hub to the end consumer—are well known. The last mile offers many ways to trip you up, from complex routes to failed deliveries. So what happens when you add dangerous goods into the mix?
If not handled correctly, hazardous substances harm people, wildlife, the environment, and property. While it’s easy to see that handling explosives or nuclear waste is pretty risky, many of the goods defined as “dangerous” might surprise you. For example, nail polish, hairspray, and paint are hazardous.
In this blog post, we’ll look at shipping hazardous materials, the best practices you need to know, and how to make sure they reach their destination safely.
6 Things to Know About Transporting Dangerous Goods
Given the risks involved, it’s no wonder that everything to do with shipping hazardous materials, from packaging to labeling and training, is governed by strict national and international laws with heavy penalties for non-compliance. Being familiar with the regulations and staying updated with any changes is crucial. In Canada, for example, the government is modernizing the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act (TDGA) to align it more with international regulations.
That’s why it’s crucial to partner with a dedicated logistics provider —they’ll be familiar with the legislation and have your back regarding compliance.
Anyone handling or receiving a hazardous substance must know what they’re dealing with. The UN has created an international system of classification that has been widely adopted worldwide. Here’s how the nine different classes of hazardous materials (hazmat) break down:
- Class 1: Explosives
- Class 2: Gases (flammable, non-flammable, non-toxic, and toxic gases)
- Class 3: Flammable liquids
- Class 4: Flammable solids
- Class 5: Oxidising substances, organic peroxides
- Class 6: Toxic and infectious substances
- Class 7: Radioactive material
- Class 8: Corrosives
- Class 9: Miscellaneous dangerous goods
The UN has also assigned four-digit codes to specific materials—for example; ammonia has the number 1005—so you can label them correctly.
It’s a legal obligation to properly package dangerous substances to avoid any leaks or spills in transit. So, use containers specifically designed, tested, and certified by safety standards. A dedicated logistics provider will be up to speed on all the regulations to help you meet these requirements.
With dangerous goods regulation comes a stack of paperwork, including a description of the materials in the shipment and emergency contact information, and it’s important to get it right. Even a small discrepancy can result in your products being held up at customs or the distribution center. More importantly, these documents are there to ensure everyone’s safety.
Training and Certification
It’s crucial that anyone involved in handling dangerous goods, whether they’re driving the delivery vehicle, loading or unloading the shipments, or preparing the packages for delivery, is properly trained and certified. Again, this is a legal requirement.
Emergency Response Plan
If disaster strikes during the last mile—if your delivery vehicle is involved in a crash, for example—you need to have a clear action plan. For instance, do your drivers know how to protect the public from a chemical spill? Create an emergency response plan, communicate it effectively, and review it regularly.
Ensuring Safety in the Last Mile
Safety should be top of mind for any company, but it’s even more important when handling dangerous materials. Let’s zoom in on a few of the specifics:
- Ensure anyone handling hazardous substances has the appropriate protective equipment, such as safety goggles and gloves.
- Hazmat labelling is a legal requirement and doesn’t just apply to packages. You must also put placards identifying hazardous material on all four sides of the delivery vehicle, so emergency responders can identify the risks immediately and take appropriate action if an accident occurs.
- While there are specific training programs and policies for handling hazardous materials, it’s also important to follow standard health and safety procedures. For example, a road accident is even more harmful when dangerous goods are involved, so it’s crucial to monitor driving time and ensure that drivers are not overtired behind the wheel.
Ziing: Your Safe Delivery Partner
Delivering dangerous goods? No problem. At Ziing, we use an innovative, data-led model and a sustainable mindset to pioneer mindful mobility solutions to fit your delivery needs, including the safe delivery of dangerous goods such as car batteries.
We have vast experience in transporting dangerous goods safely and securely. Our experts understand the gravity of the situation and take every step to ensure your dangerous goods are handled with the utmost care. Plus, we've got your back with our advanced tracking and secure delivery services, so you can always know where your shipment is.
Reach out to us today, and experience the peace of mind that comes with knowing your deliveries are in safe hands - every step of the way.