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UN Packaging Codes

UN Packaging doesn’t just include fibreboard boxes, drums, and jerricans. There are many different types of UN packaging, each with a specific code attached to it. For example, some of the more common UN packaging codes would be 4G (4 meaning box and G meaning fibreboard) or 3H1 (3 meaning jerrican, and H1 meaning plastic non-removal head). Although these UN packaging codes may be common knowledge among dangerous goods shippers, there are many types of UN packaging codes which may not be. What are the less common UN packaging codes you may see out there and where are UN Packaging codes found in the various regulations?

Where are UN Packaging Codes Found in The Regulations?

The different UN packaging codes are found in several locations across the various regulations. In the 49 CFR they are found at 178.502, in the TP14850 they are found in section 5.2, in IATA they are found in section 6.0.3 and in the IMDG Code they are located at UN packaging codes are generally set up as the type of packaging, which is referenced by a number, and the material of construction which is referenced by a capital letter. For example:

1 means drum, 2 means wooden barrel, 3 means jerrican, 4 means box, 5 means bag, 6 means composite packaging, and 7 means a pressure receptacle. For material of construction, a capital letter is referenced as follows: A means steel (all types and surface treatments), B means aluminum, C means natural wood, D means plywood, F means reconstituted wood, G means fiberboard, H means plastic, L means textile, M means paper, multi-wall, N means metal (other than steel or aluminum), and P means glass, porcelain or stoneware. In addition, there is also a number indicating the category of packaging to which the packaging belongs. For example, for steel drums (“1A”), “1” indicates a non-removable head drum ( i.e., “1A1”) and “2” indicates a removable head drum (i.e., “1A2”).

Packaging Codes you May Not See Often

As mentioned above, 4G boxes and different types of plastic/metal drums and jerricans are commonly used in the dangerous goods industry, but other UN Packaging may not be as common. For example, there are UN rated multiwall paper bags which you will see a code printed on it starting with 5M1 or a water-resistant multiwall paper bag which is 5M2. There are Metal UN boxes which would bear a 4N marking, or similarly an aluminum 4B box.  There are even UN rated woven plastic film bags which would have a 5H4 code printed on them. No matter which type of UN packaging you decide to use, it’s always important to make sure you are choosing compliant packaging based on the dangerous goods you are shipping as well as the specific regulation. For a list of different UN Packaging codes please see below:

Do you have questions about UN Packaging? Take a look at our UN Packaging FAQ or contact our team of experts at 855.734.5469 or send us an email, we’re happy to help.

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Michael Zendano

Michael Zendano started with ICC Compliance Center back in 2016 with several years in the packaging field as a Quality Control Manager. In addition, he has 8 years experience in teaching. Michael works at the Niagara Falls Office as the Regulatory Packaging Expert where he manages packaging projects and procedures and is a member of the Institute of Packaging Professionals (IOPP) and The Chemical Packaging Committee (CPC) . Degrees: M.S. Science of Education.