Dangerous Substances

The transportation of dangerous goods is heavily regulated in all regions by state, regional, national and international laws and treaties.

Register of Dangerous Goods

Explosive hazard sign

The United Nations (UN) maintain lists of dangerous goods, substance specifications, advice on how to deal with substance leakages and other information about dangerous substances. It also categories substances according to their danger and keeps information on packaging requirements and provides globally recognized signage for dangerous substances.


The UN also provides regulations for the safe transportation of these goods. These regulations are provided to governments and inter-government bodies so that they can include them in their laws. Many countries simply adopt the UN regulations while others adapt them for local use. It is very common for countries to add extra regulations onto the existing UN ones.

Global Harmonization

By having a global organisation keeping and disseminating this information the handling of dangerous goods in transport has become uniform around the world


The responsibility for the contents of vehicle loads varies widely from one authority to another. It is common that producers are expected to notify others in the supply chain of dangerous or potentially dangerous substances contained in their products along with approved advice on how to deal with them. The responsibility, therefore, is shared between the producers who provide the advice and the users, including shippers, who must heed such advice. The penalties for non-compliance can be severe in most jurisdictions.