Faith of dangerous goods

The SRA must consider the action to be taken to reduce or mitigate the identified hazards to achieve a level of safety that is acceptable to the operator.


David Brennan, Assistant Director, Cargo Safety and Standards shared that in early 2016 SAE Aerospace, at the request of ICAO, establish a new committee, G-27, to develop a performance standard for packaging for lithium batteries (UN 3090 and UN 3480). The high-level objective is to develop a standard that provides a test method to demonstrate that a packaging for lithium cells or batteries, as prepared for transport, can safely contain inside the package a fire event from one of the cells. Development of the G-27 standard is almost complete; once finished it will be considered by ICAO for implementation. Potentially, the use of the G-27 standard may allow lithium batteries back as cargo on passenger aircrafts.


The IATA Dangerous Goods Board and the ICAO Dangerous Goods Panel are considering the implementation of restrictions on having lithium batteries packed with flammable dangerous goods and also loading restrictions on lithium batteries with flammable dangerous goods. It is likely that there will be something on this implemented in the IATA DGR for 2018 and potentially the next edition of the ICAO Technical Instructions.


Undeclared mail order

Undeclared dangerous goods in mail, particularly with the increase of mail from e-commerce sellers are an issue that is being worked on by both the IATA Dangerous Goods Board (DGB) and the Air Mail Board (AMB) with the Universal Postal Union. The growth in the use of e-commerce and the availability of dangerous goods such as lithium batteries, chemicals and other items classified as dangerous goods means that the hazard presented by mail is increasing. While not air cargo, but still dangerous goods, the DGB has a small working group developing guidance material on the carriage of battery-powered mobility aids. As more and more mobility aid manufacturers switch to lithium ion batteries to power mobility aids, there is a need for some clear information both to the airlines that have to handle the mobility aids and ensure that they are safely carried in the aircraft, and to the passengers who need the mobility aid for their daily life.


Safety risk assessments (SRA)

A safety risk assessment (SRA) for dangerous goods is a systematic way for the operator to consider the hazards that may exist for the carriage of dangerous goods. The SRA would look at the entry points for dangerous goods as cargo, including the potential for hidden or undeclared dangerous goods to enter the cargo system, and the capability of the system to prevent the dangerous goods from causing an accident or incident.


A SRA looks at the probability of an event occurring as well as the severity of the event should it occur. The SRA must then consider the action to be taken to reduce or mitigate the identified hazards to achieve a level of safety that is acceptable to the operator.


The operator’s safety management system (SMS) must include methods of measuring the performance of the SMS that would include no-fault incident reporting as well as a process of internal audits. For the carriage of dangerous goods, the incident reports and the audits provide an opportunity to identify areas where the mitigations are not as effective as expected, or where hazards have been overlooked or underestimated. This can then be fed back into the SRA process as a means of continuous improvement.