• Dale Allen

GHS Safety Data Sheets Explained: Section 14

Updated: May 4

Section 14: Transport Information


In Section 14 of the safety data sheet, the supplier will provide you with some of the information you need to ensure you're able to comply with the appropriate regulations when you're transporting the product via land, air or sea.


This information is primarily intended for use by shipping companies and professionals who deal with the transport of dangerous goods. It does not give you the experience and knowledge to safely transport dangerous goods.

Please note: Even if the supplier provides information in this section, this goes not guarantee that the labelling, packaging and product itself are suitable for transport by those routes.


In this section you should find:

  • UN number.

  • UN proper shipping name.

  • Transport hazard class(es).

  • Packing group.

  • Environmental hazards.

  • Special precautions for users.

  • Transport in bulk according to Annex II of MARPOL 73/78 and the IBC Code.

Transport information should be provided for each different mode of transport:

  • Air: Under the International Air Transport Association's (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGRs).

  • Land: Under ADR (road), RID (rail), and possibly ADN (inland waterways).

  • Sea: Under the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code.

The information in Section 14 will be provided in a different format, depending on the supplier. Some suppliers will format it as a simple-to-read table, while others will simply write the information as normal text under different headings. Some suppliers may include a subsection 14.8 to further clarify information in subsections 14.1-14.7.


However, subsection 14.7 often will not be applicable, but should still be completed by the supplier to indicate that the transport in bulk (e.g. loaded directly into the cargo hold of a ship, plane, etc.) of product has not been foreseen by them.


14.1. UN Number

A four-digit number, preceded by the letters UN. This number identifies the product being transported. Some chemicals will be given a specific UN number, while others, which it isn't possible to assign a unique number be assigned 'group' numbers.


14.2. Proper Shipping Name

The proper shipping name (PSN) is the name chosen from the UN restricted list of allowable names and assigned to the vessel transporting the product. You may also find this name titled the 'designation', the 'transport document description', or the 'shipping name'.


There are four types of proper shipping name which can be assigned:

  • Single entries for well-defined substances (e.g. n-Amyl methyl ketone).

  • Generic entries for well-defined group of substances, mixtures or articles (e.g. carbamate, pesticide, solid, toxic).

  • Specific Not Otherwise Specified (N.O.S) entries covering a group of substances, mixtures or articles (e.g. nitrates, inorganics, N.O.S).

  • General N.O.S entries covering a group of substances, mixtures or articles of a hazard type meeting the criteria of one or more classes or divisions (e.g. flammable, liquid, toxic, N.O.S).

In circumstances where the chemical name is provided here, it may also be accompanied by one of the words, liquid, molten or solid. This indicates the products physical form. If the product has been dissolved in water or mixed with another non-hazardous substance then the words which accompany the name may be mixture or solution (e.g. ethyl bromoacetate, solution).


If the supplier uses the generic or N.O.S names, then they should be supplemented with the name or name of the chemical(s) responsible for the hazard(s) (e.g. corrosive liquids, basic, inorganics, N.O.S (hypochlorite and sodium hydroxide).


Please note: The proper shipping name will often be written in capital letters because this is the way they appear in the surface mode requirements. However, air mode requirements write the name in bold type with the first letter being a capital letter.


14.3. Transport Hazard Class(es)

The following hazard classes and divisions of hazards are universal:


Class 1: Explosive.


Class 2:

  1. Flammable gases.

  2. Non-flammable, non-toxic gases.

  3. Toxic gases (including corrosive gases).

Class 3: Flammable liquids and desensitised liquid explosives.


Class 4:

  1. Flammable solids, self-reactive, and solid desensitised and explosives.

  2. Substances liable to spontaneous combustion.

  3. Substances which, in contact with water, emit flammable gases.

Class 5:

  1. Oxidising substances.

  2. Organic peroxides.

Class 6:

  1. Toxic substances.

  2. Infectious substances.

Class 7: Radioactive materials.


Class 8: Corrosive substances.


Class 9: Miscellaneous dangerous substances and articles.

Please note: You may find different suppliers using different identifiers for hazardous classes. They will either be called classes, division or a mix of the two.


Also, products being transported can present more than one hazard (e.g. explosive (class 1) and flammable (class 3)). As such, each will be assigned as the primary (whichever hazard is identified as the most hazardous) or secondary risk (which will be given - in brackets - after the primary risk class (e.g. 1(3))).


14.4. Packing Group

The three packing groups:

Please note: Not all dangerous goods assigned to hazard classes or their divisions will be allocated to Packing Groups. In such a case the supplier will state 'Not applicable'.


14.5. Environmental Hazards

As well as verifying the primary hazard class and any other classes, the supplier must determine whether the products are hazardous to the environment. This is a legal requirement under the IMDG Code and the ADR and RID.


The same criteria are applied across them all, but they will receive different designations depending on their mode of transport:

  • Inland transport: Environmentally Hazard Substance (EHS).

  • Sea carriage: Marine Pollutant (MP).

14.6. Additional Information

The following information is not required but may be included by suppliers:


Classification code


Products classified under ADR, RID and ADN are also assigned a 'classification code' which identifies groups of dangerous goods within the primary hazard class (e.g. A class 3 toxic pesticide would be assigned the classification code FT2.


Danger labels


A large diamond-shaped hazard label, which can be black, white or coloured. They contain a symbol in the centre and a number in the bottom point to provide a clear visual indication of the hazard inherent in the product.


Emergency Action Code (EAC)


A number between 1 and 4 qhich is followed by a letter (e.g. 2W). Under certain circumstances, the letter E will follow the first letter (e.g. 2WE). The EAC is unique to UK road transport via tanker or bulk carrier.


Including the letter E indicates that the product presents a public safety hazard, the first letter indicate which PPE to wear, whether a spillage should be contained or dispersed, and whether the product presents a reaction or explosion hazard, while the number indicates which fire fighting extinguishant to use:

  1. Water.

  2. Water fog.

  3. Foam.

  4. Dry agent.

Emergency Schedules (EmS)


Indicates the emergency procedures that should be followed in the event an incident occurs involving hazardous substances.


Medical First-Aid Guide (MFAG)


No longer required and usually seen as an indicator of an out-of-date safety data sheet. In the past, MFAG numbers would be included on an SDS to provide guidance based on the symptoms the victim is showing and not the chemical product the victim was exposed to.


Hazard Identification Number (HIN or the Kemler Code)

A Hazard Identification Number (HIN), or Kemler Code, is an international road and rail transport code. It is used globally and provides very little information. A HIN is generally a two-digit code (sometimes 3-digit) which indicates which hazard class(es) the product belongs to (e.g. a product with a class 2 primary hazard and a class 4 secondary hazard would give you a HIN of 24).


IMDG Code Segregation Group

Dangerous goods which have similar chemical properties are grouped together so no incompatible materials are transported together.


There are 18 segregation groups in total:

  1. Acids.

  2. Ammonium compounds.

  3. Bromates.

  4. Chlorates.

  5. Chlorites.

  6. Cyanides.

  7. Heavy materials and their salts (including organometallic compounds).

  8. Hypochlorites.

  9. Lead and its compounds.

  10. Liquid halogenated hydrocarbons.

  11. Mercury and mercury compounds.

  12. Nitrates and their mixtures.

  13. Perchlorates.

  14. Permanganates.

  15. Powdered metals.

  16. Peroxides.

  17. Azides.

  18. Alkalies.

Packing instructions


Packing instructions are assigned to the UN number and packing groups in the appropriate regulations. For transport by air, they are given as a 3-digit, often with a preceding letter Y (e.g. 341 or Y341). This number is specific to the substance being transported, the type of aircraft and the size of the package. If the product is too dangerous to be transported by air, then it will be classes as 'Forbidden'.


Transport category


The regulations covering hazardous chemical transport on UK roads assign products to one of five transport categories.


Those categories range from 0 to 4:

Transport categories are used to indicate whether the load is considered a small enough load to have relaxations of regulatory requirements applied.


Tunnel code


Under the European Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) all tunnels are assigned a code which indicates the levels of restriction placed upon the transport of dangerous goods through them. Tunnel codes start at A and go through to E.

All dangerous goods are also assigned a tunnel code, which will match the restriction levels required to safely transport the product.

Please note: This section is closely linked to and should be read in conjunction with Sections 2, 9, 11 and 13.


Confused by the many pieces of information provided in those safety data sheets? Join the International Association for Chemical Safety's completely free health and safety academy now and take the Safety Data Sheet Awareness Certification™.


This article was originally published by the team over at Sevron Ltd and has been shared here with full permissions.

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