Significance of UN 4G Boxes in Hazardous Goods Packaging

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Transportation of dangerous goods is internationally regulated with UN standards in order to prevent any accidents to the property or people as well as to avoid environmental hazards. The basic standardization in this regard is the UN4G packaging methods, which everyone needs to follow.

If you are planning to ship such items, at the first point one needs to ensure that the packaging service you approach must have proper license and certification to transport such materials. Without proper handling and adequate shipping of hazardous goods being managed well, trade of chemicals and other such products may get adversely affected.

UN4G boxes

‘4G’ is the code designator in terms of dangerous goods packaging. A 4G box is basically a handling device, which is the outermost packaging component of the compliant combination packaging of dangerous goods. This outer packaging will hold an inner package that actually consists of the dangerous material. The purpose of this outer packaging is to provide adequate protection to the inner packaging as well as to ensure ease of handling of containers, small bottles, jars, and cans etc. in the inner package.

In real, UN4G boxes are not standalone packages. It is only a component in the standard dangerous goods combination package and this needs to be known by the supplier, shipper, freight handler, and the airline operators. Improper packaging and handling of such goods is illegal, which has significant legal implications in case of any accidents.

Various industries using UN4G packaging

The major industries coming under the dangerous good packaging standards include;

  • Petroleum
  • LPG
  • Paints and chemicals
  • Pesticides
  • Acids etc.

There are various types of standard plastic bottles, cans, tins, cartons, and tight-head pails used for packaging. Not just the manufacturers, but all the industries which would require such chemicals also, by default, have to be compliant with UN4G packaging standards to safety transport supplies to the customers. In a broader sense, this would also cover the automotive industries, exterminating companies, pharmaceutical companies and lot more.

UN 4G packaging

As discussed above, UN 4G is not just a standalone box, but a comprehensive packaging standard and a fiberboard 4G box is only a component of it. It is the application of UN 4G marking on to the outer fiberboard packaging, which acts as a legal certification of compliance with the UN4G standards on the part of the person responsible for packaging.

So, a box manufacturer of 4G boxes is not in a position to apply the UN 4G markings on it, which can be a violation of the International Code for Air Transport (ICAO) Technical Instructions.

Combination packaging

So, what makes a packaging UN4G compliance is a compliant combination packaging, which ideally consists of;

  • Outer packaging – This is a standard fiberboard box or a wooden box, in to which one can place single or multiple inner packaging for easy handling.
  • Inner packaging – The inner packaging of dangerous goods may be of plastic cases, glass, bottles, or metal cans, which contains the actual hazardous material.

As per the UN Recommendations for Transportation of Dangerous Goods, all such packages should be tested and verified. In combination package, the testing has to be done to verify the outer packaging, inner packaging, cushioning, and other components all are subjected to the set standards for transportation purposes.