Are there any batteries or fuel in the aid transport? Pay attention to safety

One way to help people in distress is to offer different types of aid. Together with other authorities, the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom wants to remind you that you must also keep safety in mind when collecting and transporting aid. If you transport goods or materials that may cause a hazard during the transport, you need to take special care of packaging and labelling them as well as submitting the related notifications. The party that organises aid transports is always responsible for their compliance with the law.

In transport, dangerous goods refer to objects or materials that may cause harm to people, property or the environment because they are explosive, flammable, infectious, radioactive, toxic or corrosive or have other, similar hazardous characteristics. Such objects and materials include e.g. lithium batteries and accumulators, different kinds of battery-operated devices, emergency power supplies, gas cylinders and cartridges, flammable liquids and aerosols. 

“There is specific legislation that governs the transport of dangerous goods, intended to prevent and combat the damage and hazards that transport of dangerous goods may cause. As for aid transports, the sender is responsible for making sure that they comply with the legislation; in practice, this means the organiser of the transport,” says Senior Specialist Miina Grönlund, Traficom. 

The transport regulations apply to specific types of transport; for example, goods that can be transported by road may be prohibited from transport by sea, or the transport requirements may differ slightly from each other.

Package and label the goods correctly – do not forget the notifications 

Dangerous goods must be packaged according to the requirements; correct packaging minimises the risks in case of a potential accident. Transporting dangerous goods is based on the appropriate classification of substances, meaning the specification of the substances’ hazardous properties. Internationally consistent labels ensure that transports can reach their destination safely and smoothly.

“The packages must be marked with labels that indicate their hazardous properties or similar markings to ensure that the information needed for rescue activities is available, if necessary. The cargo must also be tied down and placed so that it cannot move or become damaged during transport and cause dangerous situations,” Grönlund instructs.

When transporting dangerous goods, you must also keep with you the transport documents stating the name and classification of the goods as well as the other necessary information. “If your shipment contains dangerous goods, mention it when making the transport order. Likewise, you need to notify the staff about the dangerous goods you are carrying when driving the car into a ship, among other things,” Grönlund continues. 

The Finnish Customs monitors transports of dangerous goods at the ports. “For aid transports outside the EU, private individuals who are organising transports should submit the customs notifications already before they leave Finland. This will make it easier to take the transport across the EU border from Poland to Ukraine, for instance, and bringing the aid to its destination will go more smoothly. You should always take an itemised list of the aid supplies in the transport with you,” Senior Customs Inspector Nadja Painokallio from the Finnish Customs reminds people.

Take occupational safety and health as well as driving and rest times into account

If the driver of the aid transport is an employee, the employer must take care of their occupational safety and health. 

In addition, the driver and the potential employer must ensure that the regulations on driving and rest times are followed during the transport. The different Member States may have granted national exemptions to the regulations, and you should find out what they are before you leave.

For private individuals, the most effective way to help is to make a donation to relief organisations. The organisations can send aid to its destination in a centralised manner, and they can also assess the need for help on site.

Further information

Traficom: Miina Grönlund; Senior Specialist, miina.gronlund@traficom.fi, tel. +358 29 534 5267

Regulations on the transport of dangerous goods for different modes of transport (in Finnish) (External link)

Finnish Customs: Nadja Painokallio; Senior Customs Inspector, nadja.painokallio(at)tulli.fi, tel. +358 40 332 7577, Twitter: @nadjapainokall1

Export declarations  (External link)

Find out more about the Export Declaration Service of the Finnish Customs for companies and private individuals  (External link)

The press release has been drawn up in cooperation with the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom, the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the Finnish Customs, the Finnish Border Guard, the National Police Board, the Ministry of the Interior, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) and the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK).