As the eCommerce boom continues, many companies are shipping more diversified products than ever before. Whether you have increased your product offering to expand into new markets or if you are fulfilling for various partners, most likely you are shipping new products that you have not shipped before, introducing changes to your warehouse management operations.
An important process to keep in mind as you add these new product offerings is screening these new products to see if they fall into a Dangerous Goods class. Many people think that identifying what is a Dangerous Good or Hazardous Material is fairly obvious. For example, explosives, gasoline, ammunition, chlorine, acids, etc. However, this is not the case at all, just ask any owner of the old Galaxy Note 7’s!
Many more products than you think can fall into a DG class. Some surprising examples are, Aerosol Sprays, Nail Polish, Cosmetics, Alcohol, Paints, Medicines and Batteries. Speaking of batteries, there are a lot of changes going on with Lithium Battery shipping due to recent incidents caused by exploding Lithium Batteries. Therefore, if you ship Lithium Batteries either within another product or on their own, I suggest you keep informed on the changes as they are happening very quickly.
It may seem like a lot of effort to validate which products could be classified as DG and even more effort to then meet the compliance requirements to transport these items, however, failure to do so can result in substantial fines. For example, Amazon.com was recently fined over $90,000 for a single package that contained an adhesive that was flammable and not marked as a Dangerous Good.
As you can see it is more important now than ever before to make sure you evaluate the products you are shipping to identify any possible Dangerous Goods. While identification is the first step, you will then need to put systems in place to ensure that you can meet the safety regulations in order to keep your employees safe and to avoid incurring any fines from the Department of Transportation.