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dangerous goods and transport

Sometimes, dangerous goods need to be transported from one destination to another. While this is an obvious consequence of our interconnected world, the fragility of shipping and scope for accidents leaves the transport of dangerous goods as a sector one that cannot afford any safety missteps or shortcuts. As such, a set of stringent dangerous goods regulations, signs and labels have come about to maintain the safety of recipients and couriers.

The Definition of Dangerous Goods

In a literal sense, a dangerous good is an item or substance that poses a risk to a person or property. Dangerous goods are not to be confused with hazardous substances, which differentiates itself from dangerous goods as it is a chronic or acute danger solely for the health of people; in general, dangerous goods is a little broader.

In legal terms, a dangerous good is any item that falls within the items listed in The Dangerous Goods Emergency Action Code (EAC) List 2019, which is updated every two years to reflect the development of new dangerous goods.

When shipping a good, if it is found on this list, then it must be properly labelled and signposted. On a wider level, emergency services, local government and those involved in health and safety must comply with the list.

The Regulations

Under The Carriage of Dangerous Goods (Amendment) Regulations 2019, a supplier must meet a set of specific requirements when transporting and supplying goods. Broadly-speaking, a supplier must, by law, signpost their products with hazard symbols, warnings, safety advice and medical guidelines in case of an accident.

Alongside the exterior label, somewhere on or packaged in with the product must be instructions for use, while goods used in the workplace must come with material safety data sheets.

Packaging must meet UN specification standards and pass the usual practical transport tests such as dropping tests, stack tests and pressure tests. The package must also meet the needs of its contents adequately, which will vary from export to export.

There are additional regulations for road, air and sea. Road regulations of dangerous goods transport is organised by The European Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR), which are updated regularly. Air regulations are organised by The International Air Transport Association (IATA), whereas sea shipping standards are set by the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG).

What Do Dangerous Goods Signs and Labels Look Like?

Dangerous goods fall into nine classes:

  • Explosives
  • Gases
  • Flammable Liquids
  • Flammable Solids
  • Oxidizing Substances
  • Toxic and Infectious Substances
  • Radioactive Material
  • Corrosives
  • Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods

Whichever class a product falls into, they must be labelled with the corresponding dangerous goods label or sign. These signs are diamond shaped and have different colours. Gases, for example, are a dark green, whereas the explosives label is an amber colour. These labels must adhere to both HSE and UN standards. 

Label Source has stocked the best in dangerous goods labels. For more from the world of labels, be sure to follow Label Source on Facebook and Twitter.


Food shipping simply wouldn’t exist without labels and signs. In order to maintain a baseline level of safety and quality, food shipping boxes and labels must be clearly legible.

Consciously mislabelling is considered a serious food crime, with consumers still very aware of major mislabelling and fraud scandals such as the 2013 horse meat fiasco, where horse meat was found in products advertised, shipped and labelled as beef.

Food shipping, then, has a delicate reputation, but it is safeguarded by stringent food shipping guidelines and labels.

The Law on Food Shipping

When food is shipped or sent via mail order in the UK, it must satisfy guidelines set by The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013. The law requires shipped food and traders to convey certain information, including:

  • A description of the goods or service.
  • The total price and/or how the price will be calculated.
  • How the consumer will pay for the goods.
  • Delivery charges and other cost details, such as who pays for the cost of returning items if you have a right to cancel and change your mind.
  • Details on the consumer’s cancellation right, meaning the trader needs to show a standard cancellation form to streamline the process.
  • Geographical and contact information about the seller.

Bundled in with this law is the standard labelling procedures detailed below, which Label Source’s stock satisfies.

The Food Shipping Regulations

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs states that a food label should have the following qualities:

  • Name of the food
  • Ingredients
  • Note presence of ingredients that trigger allergies or intolerances that are stated in the 14 allergens
  • Quantity and categories of certain ingredients
  • Net quantity of foodstuffs
  • The ‘use by’ date
  • Storage conditions and/or conditions of use
  • Name of food business operator
  • Country of origin or place of provenance
  • Instructions for use
  • The alcohol strength by volume for beverages containing more than 1.2 % of alcohol, by volume
  • Nutritional declaration

These features are easy to glance over for many people, but if any are missing, it poses a serious threat to consumers, as well as causing confusion for storage conditions when shipping.

The above is a baseline, with certain foods needing additions to their labelling, including foodstuffs that contain certain gases, sweeteners, glycyrrhizic acid or its ammonium salt, high caffeine, phytosterols and/or frozen fish and meat.

The Role of Quality Assurance Tapes

Quality assurance tapes play an important role in guaranteeing food hygiene and safety too, especially when large amounts are transported at a time.

Quality assurance tapes can safely secure packaging whilst communicating key information, including inspection dates, return to sender, and QA seals. We recently wrote about the role quality assurance tapes play in all industries here.

What Happens When Labels Aren’t Adhered To?

Aside from the well-documented case of the 2013 horse meat scandal, several other food-related incidents have come about from cutting corners with food shipping labels.

A scandal from the same year, in fact, went under the radar despite being much more dangerous than a case of mistaken red meat identity. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) discovered that certain products were using nuts as substitutes for cumin without declaring that the products contained them. Luckily, nobody was harmed, but even someone with a slight nut allergy would know the danger of putting nuts in a product without declaring their existence.

Late in 2016, too, a 15-year-old girl died on a flight to Nice after highstreet chain Pret a Manger failed to label one of its products – a baguette - as containing nut allergens. A regulation that stopped the need for products made on site prevented the Heathrow-based store from labelling it correctly, resulting in the worst consequences possible.

In perhaps the most stomach-churning case of food crime in history, a lack of proper labelling and shipping standards led to a Chinese supplier attempting to sell 40-year-old meat to restaurants, most of which was obviously rotting. How meat stayed in a freezer for 40 years is a puzzle, but it’s a thought not worth dwelling on for long.

Label Source has stocked the best in quality assurance tapes and food shipping. For more from the ever-changing world of labels, be sure to follow Label Source on Facebook and Twitter.


Quality control is not an optional add-on or an afterthought. Establishing a programme that ensures quality can help businesses increase customer satisfaction, quality of product and savings. Quality management, control and assurance, though, all begin with proper control and recording of stock. This is where calibration and quality control tags come in, they allow businesses to organise and catalogue their products while also recording and guaranteeing quality.

The Importance of Calibration

Calibration is a catch-all term that refers to labels and the systems that can be used in measurement, testing, assessment, inspection and certification. Commonly, products need to be calibrated in order to meet international standards of safety and quality, as well as ensuring users and customers can trust the product. Why, then, do we need to use calibration tags?

Even though calibration tags are probably the easiest part of calibration, generally, without them, the process would be rendered useless. If a label is wrong, ineligible or missing, then there is no way to guarantee the safety or quality of the product. Calibration tags concisely illustrate a product’s key calibration information, including:

  • Expiration and due dates
  • Key features
  • D. number
  • In some cases, barcodes and signatures

In addition to being able to convey this information, calibration tags are tough enough to survive handling, environmental fluctuations and higher temperatures to ensure the information remains readable. Calibration tags are needed to build trust with a consumer base, safeguarding future sales.

Quality Control Tags

Quality control tags differ slightly from calibration tags as they are used more to identify areas for inspection and calibration as opposed to solely calibrating them. These tags can also be used to segregate batches or consignments of goods. By batching these products together, businesses can signpost products for inspection, quarantine, rejection, rework, repair, bonding and those that are a work in progress.

These tags help businesses organise stock, this ensures customers receive good quality products, as well as streamlining the business to cut down on confusion, shipping times and raising the efficiency of operations. All these bonus efficiencies lead to a business that is and comes across as professional and organised, leading to better sales both short and long-term.

The Role of UKAS

For the United Kingdom, calibration and quality control needs to pass through the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS), which is the sole national accreditation body in the country. As a government-recognised entity, UKAS is a not-for-profit company that assesses UK calibration and quality control standards against international standards.

UKAS is licenced by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy to use and apply national accreditation symbols which, essentially, mean the government recognises that a product is calibrated and accredited.

Businesses must then ensure their calibration procedures satisfy UKAS standards and meet accreditation. Its stringent evaluation procedure means suppliers and customers can trust that a product has been properly tested, inspected and calibrated without the need for background checks or cross-referencing.

Label Source has stocked the best in calibration labels and quality control tags for a variety of uses. For more from the ever-changing world of labels, be sure to follow Label Source on Facebook and Twitter.


Safety signs are present in our everyday lives to the point that it can become easy to forget about their slow yet important developments. While the overall design of safety signs remains largely similar, the industry is receptive to technological changes, especially as the wider world modernises. Below, we list how technology is changing safety signs and their meanings, as well as reflecting on where the wider industry can go from here.

Grounded Road Signs

Staring at your phone may offer some form of escapism when walking around, but its distracting nature can lead to some nasty roadside accidents. Accidents including pedestrians have increased in recent years, leading to industry experts calling for specialised road signs and warnings for phone-addled people. Shaun Helman works for a company that advises the Department for Transport, he is a big advocate for specialist road signs. Suggested measures include adding traffic light colours to pavements, indicating when pedestrians should stop and cross safely, as well as creating signposted “text-walking lanes”. While it’s probably easier just to pay attention to the road ahead, safety signs must adapt to modern risks.

LED Signs

In the future, it’s looking like painted-on and floor signs will be LED-based. Instead of using regular traditional signs, roads and factory lanes may employ a responsive system of LEDs. An example of this is the Starling crossing, which is in the prototype stage by London-based design firm, Umbrellium. Instead of having signs and walkways painted on the road, the system monitors traffic to activate LEDs and change signs according to traffic volume.

For example, the technology is currently being designed for a zebra crossing. The zebra crossing will activate when a pedestrian is waiting, the width of the crossing will change according to the number of people waiting:


By combining machine learning with adaptive technology, these LED signs may be the first step in creating bespoke signs suited to individuals, businesses and traffic management.  

Projected Safety Lines and Signs

Similar to LED signs, projected safety signs are predicted to save businesses a significant amount in repainting and putting up safety signs. Currently, a lot of money is spent on factory floors and other related industries on repainting safety lines. Whilst cutting down costs, the process also reduces business downtime.

This technology will be relatively cheap in the future, too, as businesses will only need a projector and gobo outlines to project safety signs, warning signs and health and safety signs with little to no maintenance.

Future Signs

With the rate of new technology progressing, there will come a time where safety signs need to be created to control modern risk. Modern inventions that will likely be part of HSE’s range of signs include:

  • Drone warnings
  • Automation/Robot warnings
  • Driverless Cars and Forklift Lanes

While these technologies are often seen as the future, people often forget that appropriate health and safety protocols need to be in place before they’re embedded into the mainstream working culture. The above are certainly exciting innovations for the future workplace, but they need to be controlled with appropriate signs and training first.

It pays to stay ahead of the curve with workplace signs and their meanings, so Label Source has stocked the best in safety signs for a variety of uses. For more from the ever-changing world of labels, be sure to follow Label Source on Facebook and Twitter.