Dangerous Goods are articles or substances which are capable of posing a risk to health, safety, property, or the environment when transported by air. 

Unknown to some, many household items, consumer products and industrial supplies (e.g. lithium batteries, aerosol cans, and compressed gas cylinders) are classified as dangerous goods. When such items are transported by air, they can become a hazard if not declared, packed and handled properly. For safety reasons, it is therefore important to observe the regulations and requirements on the carriage of dangerous goods by air. 

Some common examples of dangerous goods can be found here

To ensure the safe transport of dangerous goods by air, shippers, freight forwarders and air operators must comply with the following regulations and requirements in place: 

Responsibilities of Shippers and Freight Forwarders

Your Responsibilities as a Shipper or Freight Forwarder

Dangerous goods, if not declared, packed or handled properly, may leak hazardous contents, give off flammable or toxic fumes, ignite a fire, or even explode due to vibrations or changes to air pressure and temperature, when transported by air.  

However, with proper declarations on transport documents, packaging and handling of dangerous goods in accordance with regulations, and by providing the necessary training and information to employees and service providers, dangerous goods can be safely transported by air on both passenger and cargo aircraft.  

To ensure the safety of aircraft, passengers and crew, if you are a shipper or freight forwarder^, please ensure that:

i) The articles or substances are not forbidden for carriage by air under any circumstances;

ii) Dangerous goods are properly classified, identified, packed, marked, labelled and accompanied by a Dangerous Goods Transport Document (also known as the Shipper’s Declaration for Dangerous Goods), in compliance with the ICAO Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air

  • Classifying dangerous goods - Dangerous goods are classified into one of nine classes depending on their hazardous properties and characteristics. Some classes are further subdivided into hazard divisions. Find out more here.
  • Identifying dangerous goods - Identifying dangerous goods is critical in the proper handling and safe transport of dangerous goods. Shippers and freight forwarders can identify dangerous goods through one or more of the following methods:
    • Dangerous Goods Marks and Labels 
      Hazard labels corresponding to the hazard class and division of dangerous goods are the primary means of identifying dangerous goods by ground staff and air crew. Most dangerous goods packages may also contain makings and handling labels providing more information on the nature and handling of such goods. View the different types of markings and labels here
    • Globally Harmonized System (GHS) Pictograms 
      Packaging of articles and substances marked with GHS pictograms may suggest that the contents are classified as dangerous goods when transported by air. View the different types of GHS pictograms here
    • Hidden Dangerous Goods List 
      Many common household and commercial products known by their general descriptions may contain articles or substances that are classified as dangerous goods. If undetected, such products containing hidden dangerous goods may be erroneously offered as undeclared dangerous goods for transportation by air. Examples of such hidden dangerous goods can be found here
    • Safety Data Sheets
      A Safety Data Sheet (SDS), also known as Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), or Product Safety Data Sheet (PSDS), contains information on the classification of dangerous goods based on their hazardous characteristics, for the purposes of transportation by air. While it is a requirement to provide an SDS for chemical substances, many manufacturers and suppliers of other kinds of commercial and consumer products also publish and provide SDS for their products. View a sample SDS here.

      An SDS is often used to identify dangerous goods when there is no clear identification on the packaging. As such, when uncertain if certain items should be classified as dangerous goods, shippers and freight forwarders may contact the supplier/manufacturer for confirmation, or request a copy of the SDS for further information.

      The information in the SDS would identify and classify dangerous goods without the need for addition references, but the other three methods above should be used in combination with the SDS for more accurate information. 
  • Packing dangerous goods – To ensure safe transportation of dangerous goods by air, they must be packed according to stringent requirements and in prescribed quantity limits. The ICAO Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air contains packing instructions and the quantity limits applicable to each dangerous goods substance or article that shippers must comply with. Specific packaging materials (e.g. boxes, drums and jerricans) meeting performance test standards must be used to pack and prepare dangerous goods for transport by air.
  • Marking and labeling dangerous goods - Prior to transportation by air, articles and substances classified and identified as dangerous goods must be accurately marked and labelled with their UN or ID number and proper shipping name, with such information clearly indicated on the dangerous goods transport document and cargo packaging.

iii) Training and information is provided to employees to enable them to carry out their responsibilities in the carriage of dangerous goods. 

If any person contravenes dangerous goods regulations*, he/she may be fined and/or imprisoned upon conviction.

^ A freight forwarder is any person or organisation which offers the service of arranging the transport of cargo by air. As the shipper’s agent, the freight forwarder may undertake part or all of the shipper’s responsibilities.
* Under the Air Navigation Order, it is against the law for any person to take or cause to be taken on board any aircraft, or to deliver or cause to be delivered for loading thereon, any goods that he knows or ought to know or suspect to be dangerous goods for carriage. On conviction, the offender is liable to a fine not exceeding $100,000 or to imprisonment for a term of five years or to both.

 
 

Responsibilities of Air Operators

An air operator refers to a person or an organisation which is engaged in, or offering to engage in, an aircraft operation. 

Your Responsibilities as an Air Operator

The air operator is responsible for:

  1. Acceptance of Dangerous Goods
  2. Storage of Dangerous Goods, prior to loading and after unloading from the aircraft
  3. Loading of Dangerous Goods including segregation, stowage and securing of Dangerous Goods on board the aircraft 
  4. Inspecting Dangerous Goods packages to ensure that they comply with the technical instructions, prior to loading onto and after unloading from the aircraft
  5. Providing passengers and crew with Dangerous Goods information (including emergency response information to train the crew to handle Dangerous Goods incidents and accidents)
  6. Reporting Dangerous Goods incidents and accidents to CAAS and the State of Occurrence
  7. Retention of Dangerous Goods documentation records
  8. Training of employees

No Dangerous Goods may be carried on board a civil aircraft unless the air operator obtains a permit from CAAS.

For permit requirements on Dangerous Goods, please click on the link below.

Dangerous Goods Permit

Training Requirements

Training Requirements for Safe Handling of Dangerous Goods

To ensure that dangerous goods can be safely transported by air, it is crucial to provide training to all employees involved in the handling of Dangerous Goods. This includes the service providers appointed to handle dangerous goods consignments on behalf of shipper.

Initial and recurrent training programmes for Dangerous Goods must be established and maintained by the following persons or organisations involved in the carriage of Dangerous Goods by air:

a. Shippers of Dangerous Goods, including packers and persons/organisations undertaking the shipper’s responsibilities

b. Operators of Singapore-registered aircraft

c. Ground handling agencies, which perform, on behalf of the operator, the act of accepting, handling, loading, unloading, transferring or other processing of cargo, mail or stores

d. Ground handling agencies, located at an airport, which perform, on behalf of the operator, the act of processing passengers

e. Agencies, not located at an airport, which perform, on behalf of the operator, the act of checking in passengers

f. Every public postal operator

Important to Know:

  • Contents of Dangerous Goods training programmes should comply with the requirements as specified in the ICAO Technical Instructions.
  • Employers are required to maintain Dangerous Goods training records of their employees in accordance with the requirements of the ICAO Technical Instructions
  • Operators of Singapore-registered aircraft, ground handling agents and aviation security screening service providers, providing dangerous goods training to its employees, must submit their training programmes to CAAS for approval using form CAAS(FO)136 (PDF, 99 KB).

Dangerous goods are classified according to the ICAO Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air. The manual containing the full list of dangerous goods may be acquired here.



Last Updated on 09 September 2021