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New Year, New IATA: Significant Changes to IATA's 61st Edition

For over 60 years, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR) have been the global reference for preparing, handling, and accepting dangerous goods shipments by air. A new edition is published every year, with revised provisions going into effect on January 1.

The 61st edition goes into effect on January 1, 2020. Its changes and amendments are related to the identification, documentation, limitation, packing, marking, and labeling of dangerous goods transported by air. IATA dangerous goods training must cover these significant yearly changes.

Out with the Old

Significant changes and amendments do not always mean new rules or harsher restrictions. Regulations are sometimes removed after research shows they were harsher than necessary.

For example, consider the IATA "pointing hand" symbol, which appears next to dangerous goods regulations when they are more restrictive than their International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) counterparts. IATA removed the pointing hand symbol from UN3449 Bromobenzyl cyanides, which can now be shipped on passenger planes (up to a certain quantity). The symbol was also removed from UN2389 Furan, making it permissible on passenger and cargo planes.

While UN2216 Fish meal, stabilized, did not carry the pointing hand symbol, its status has been changed from forbidden to permitted on all aircraft.

In with the New

The 61st edition of the IATA DGR introduces four additional UN numbers. Three are for explosives- UN0511, UN0512, and UN0513-and one, UN3549, is for Category A medical waste. Provisions for infectious substances have been updated to provide general information on Category A medical wastes.

The DGR's glossary also contains new entries and definitions. There is a new entry for "aggregate lithium content," as well as a new definition for UN3536, Lithium batteries installed in cargo transport units. The dagger symbol has been added to UN3536, indicating a new glossary entry in Appendix A that provides additional information.

What's Changing

Yearly updates to the DGR often serve to clarify existing regulations. The 61st edition provides major changes to packing instructions for composite packagings. Currently, the Single Packagings table shows "Composites - Plastic - All" where composite packagings are permitted. However, this does not adequately identify required packaging material.

The packagings table will now specify the permitted packaging. This reduces the risk of label misinterpretation, which could cause dangerous goods to be contained in the wrong packaging.

Stay Current with IATA Changes

The examples provided are a small sample of changes introduced in IATA's 61st edition, effective January 1, 2020. There are many more. All affected parties, such as shippers, freight forwarders, ground handlers, and airlines, must familiarize their personnel with the newest DGR edition. IATA HAZMAT training ensures that employees are familiar with regulations that are new, removed, and modified.

While the DGR requires HAZMAT employees to receive hazardous material training at least once every 24 months, the DGR is updated yearly. To help implement changes made to the DGR, Compliance Training Online updates its IATA online training courses to provide comprehensive, up-to-date information concurrent with the latest regulations. Contact us today to learn more about IATA training online.



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