Dangerous Goods Special Edition

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IATA Dangerous Goods Workshops

IATA presented two Dangerous Goods Workshops (in Johannesburg and Cape Town) to inform industry of the latest developments in the transport of Dangerous Goods by Air. The Workshops were sponsored by SA Airlink, BidAir Cargo, Kintetsu World Express and Professional Aviation Services.

The Workshops were supported by the SACAA with logistics support provided by Professional Aviation Services.  

The focus of the Workshops was on new developments in the 61st Edition of the Dangerous Goods Regulations.

Details of the changes contained in the 61st edition of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations, checklist and other valuable information can be downloaded from IATA at:

Dangerous Goods Checklists and Information from IATA

Please feel free to contact the Professional Team should you need any help.

The introduction of Competency Based Training for Dangerous Goods

David Brennan, Switzerland-based Secretary of the IATA Dangerous Goods Board, panel member of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and participant in the United Nations sub-Committee of experts on the transport of Dangerous Goods presented a summary of the background to the introduction of Competency Based Training.

The introduction of CBT will impact every single person, organisation and company engaged in the Dangerous Goods by Air industry. The changes are far reaching and will have a profound impact on your operations and the way you conduct, plan and develop your training programmes.

The new training regime will mean the re-examination of things that we have taken for granted, our old friend, Table1.5.a is to be removed. This Table has provided guidance on who need what training and has allowed the SACAA to exercise quality control on training provided to industry and on the Training Providers, this has ensured that industry has had the reassurance that training standards are being maintained, critical in the safety critical matter of Dangerous Goods training.

The theory around Competency Based Training is solid but many critical aspects such as course content, assessment and quality control remain to be adequately addressed in our opinion.

This from IATA:

The objective of competency-based training and assessment (CBTA) is to use the necessary tools to clearly establish the training needs for a specific job function and then ensure that employees acquire the level of knowledge and demonstrate the right skills to perform that function.

Read all about Competency Based Training

A great deal of engagement needs to take place before these changes are implemented with several CAA organisations around the world firmly opposing the changes.

The SACAA has not indicated what their stance on this matter will be, any changes would, in any event, be incorporated in our Regulations before they would become effective.

A comprehensive document, Appendix H to the 61st Edition of the Dangerous Goods regulations is available at:

Appendix H to the 61st Edition of the IATA DGR

We encourage you to study this document and very carefully asses the potential impact, good and bad, to your operations.

Industry and the SACAA

The Manager of Dangerous Goods at the SACAA Mr Bheki Ngiba made it clear in his address at the Workshop that the SACAA was committed to working with industry to solve Dangerous goods challenges and that they are available to advise, assist and facilitate when challenges arise.

Bheki was adamant that the proverbial “big Stick” was only taken out as a very last resort when all other options have been exhausted.

We encourage you to take the SACAA up on this offer, let’s work together to achieve safer skies for all.

African colleagues at the IATA Workshop

Mr Bheki Ngiba introduced our colleagues for the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the attendees. This is the first time that we have had the privilege of welcoming international guests to the IATA Workshops and we hope that this will continue in the future.

Contact Sonet Clarke at sonet@professional.aero for copies of the presentations.

Dangerous people?

The Managing Director and CEO of Professional Mr Rob Garbett stimulated thought in his opening remarks to the IATA Workshop when he referred to “Dangerous People not Dangerous Goods” as being the challenge in our industry. This is true, an item is an item, it only becomes “Dangerous” when not packed and documented correctly, or when concealed in a shipment and not declared or when handled, packed and processed by a person who does not have adequate training, experience or access to resources.

Are your people “Dangerous”?

Managing safety risks posed by the carriage of lithium batteries by air

The 27th meeting of the DANGEROUS GOODS PANEL (DGP) of ICAO was held in Montreal from the 16th to 27th of September 2019.

At this meeting a discussion on the position developed by the Flight Operations Panel (FLTOPSP) on the transport of lithium batteries and the need for the operator to perform a safety risk assessment that considered the risks associated with the transport of lithium batteries took place.

The meeting agreed that operators needed to carry out appropriate safety risk management activities in order to determine whether they could ensure the safe carriage of lithium batteries and cells.

It was noted that the ICAO Technical Instructions did not contain any provisions related to an operator’s responsibility to conduct safety risk assessments.

This has very important implications for all in the supply chain as operators will rely on Ground Handling Organisations, Freight Forwarders and Shippers to be part of the safety risk assessment and will require that they have appropriate risk mitigation strategies in place.

This will be effective from November 2020. We will monitor developments.

DG Autocheck from IATA

David Brennan, Switzerland-based Secretary of the IATA Dangerous Goods Board, panel member of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and participant in the United Nations sub-Committee of experts on the transport of Dangerous Goods presented  the IATA DG AutoCheck solution designed to play a key role in the transformation of how industry deals with Dangerous Goods

At the 2019 IATA AGM, the IATA Board of Governors discussed the growing concern about the safety implications raised by the increase in the incidence of undeclared lithium battery shipments on commercial airlines.

To answer this need, IATA launched several new initiatives to address this growing safety risk, including a system for incident information sharing, a regulatory campaign to promote supply chain compliance and the use of the IATA Dangerous Goods (DG) AutoCheck solution.

The acceptance of dangerous goods shipments affects the timeliness of your operational processes. It also improves efficiency and also reduces human errors.

You can ensure you are applying all the provisions of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations for acceptance of dangerous goods by air and automatically check all state and operator variations. DG AutoCheck acceptance check validation tool applies all the provisions contained in the latest edition of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR) through an automated compliance solution.

DG AutoCheck:

  • Automates dangerous goods acceptance checks
  • Validates compliance of all rules for every consignment
  • Flags all issues identified
  • Provides confidence in the accuracy of the acceptance checks
  • Allows for analysis of the dangerous goods consignments processed for business intelligence

Full details at IATA DG AutoCheck


David Alexander (Johannesburg) and Nicole Alexander (Cape Town) discussed the challenges facing industry in dealing with the burgeoning eCommerce sector bearing in mind that eCommerce is growing at around 16% per year and that the major growth in eCommerce is the use of mobile devices to make purchases. A major challenge lies in the fact that eCommerce operations do not label consignments, so operators have no indication if shipments contain Dangerous Goods. The fact that Dangerous Goods can be introduced into the courier and express system by the general public who have no knowledge of Dangerous Goods or the dangers they pose is of concern.

Industry will need to engage with the major eCommerce role players to design systems and procedures to deal with Dangerous goods in this section of the supply chain. This will have to be an industry wide initiative as the dangers and challenges impact us all

Last word

Undeclared, misdeclared or hidden Dangerous Goods are a catastrophe waiting to happen. They put lives, equipment and property at unnecessary risk. There has recently been a spate of incidents caused by this unholy trio which have caused a great deal of concern. These are clear and present risks.

Fortunately, in the Republic, we have a strong South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) determined to work with the industry to combat this scourge. The SACAA is uncompromising about compliance and firm about recording any breaches, yet at the same time it offers encouragement and provides guidance to members. It works on a partnership basis, not master and servant and has a highly positive impact on the security of our business.

Misdeclarations may occur accidentally because of ignorance or confusion regarding the regulations. This clearly indicates the need for education and training, more intensively or more frequently.

Less commonly, there may be an irresponsible attempt to circumvent Dangerous Goods regulations, procedures and costs.  Such unethical activity puts lives and property at risk and has no place in a responsible industry like ours. That’s why every one of our people must be alert, aware of the rules and authorised to call out any behaviour inconsistent with security and safety standards.

What about hidden Dangerous Goods? Paints, aerosols containing various products, glues and adhesives, bleaching powders, cleaners – many common household items contain Dangerous Goods.

The public may be unaware of this when handing them over for transport. Thus, it is the responsibility of our people to recognise and neutralise such unintended exposure at every stage of the express supply chain.

For the last several years the SACAA, SAEPA and our industry have been laying great stress on the need to put watertight measures in place to deal with The Unholy Trio of hidden, misdeclared and undeclared Dangerous Goods. All of us must take seriously this danger presented by Dangerous Goods by remaining alert to the risks and up to date in our knowledge and procedures for mitigating them.

This article appeared in the October 2019 SAEPA Newsletter

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