Choosing a 4G UN Box

By August 29, 2022 August 31st, 2022 Packaging

Choosing a 4G UN box isn’t as simple as selecting a size that fits your inner containers, there are other important factors that affect this decision in order to make sure you are within compliance with the dangerous goods regulations. For example, depending on your specific mode of transport and the dangerous goods you are looking to ship, you must make sure you check the appropriate regulation to determine if a 4G UN box is an acceptable outer packaging as well as the type of inner container you are looking to put inside the box. But this is not all, there are several other factors below that must be taken into consideration.  

What is the Packing Group and How Much Weight is Going in the Box?

In order to remain in compliance with the regulations, it is important to note what packing group your dangerous goods fall under. This would be located in the dangerous goods tables across the various regulations. For example, if your dangerous good has a packing group II, this means that you must choose a packaging with at least a Y rating. This would include a packaging that has an X or Y in the UN packaging specification code. For example, in the UN Specification code below, we know it was tested to a Y rating, so if you have a dangerous good that has a packing group II, the below packaging would meet the requirement. On the other hand, if your dangerous good has a packing group I, the packaging with the specification mark below would not be compliant, and you would have to choose a packaging with an X in the specification marking.

In addition, you have to make sure the amount of weight you are looking to ship doesn’t exceed the gross weight limit in the UN specification marking. This weight would include all components such as the inner containers, liner bags, cushioning/absorbent, the dangerous goods, tape, and the box itself. In the marking in the example above, it tells you that in order to use this packaging, you cannot exceed 10.3 KG total gross weight 

Type of Inner Container

This is the factor that is often overlooked but is vital in picking out a 4G box and being within compliance with the regulations. In a nutshell, whatever type of inner container the 4G box was UN tested with, you must use the same type of inner container inside of the box when shipping your dangerous goods. There are some variations allowed per the various regulations (see 49CFR 178.601 (g) (1) and TP14850 8.1.2 for details), but generally speaking the size, shape, design, and material of the inner containers must be the same as what the box was tested with. For example, the box below was tested with a one-gallon round metal paint can with lid, a Ringlock, and 3M 375 tape on the top and bottom of the box. So, in order to remain within compliance, you would have to make sure that when you are using this box to ship dangerous goods that the inner containers and components are the same type as what it was tested with, and if there is a slight difference it must fall within the allowable variations referenced above. This box would not be allowed to ship an F-Style metal gallon container, or a plastic gallon jug for example as those would be considered different designs and material. It’s important to always reference the manufactures closing instructions before using a UN 4G box to make sure you are using it with the correct type of inner containers and components.  

4G UN Can Shipping Kit - 1 x 1 Gallon (with can & Ringlok)

On the other hand, you always have the option of choosing a 4GV box for your inner containers. The benefit of choosing a 4GV box is that you are allowed to use the box to ship a wide variety and different types of inner containers inside, however, there are some rules when using these boxes as well, such as a specific type of absorbent material is required, and the box must go through more stringent UN testing. Refer to our blog for details on Choosing the Correct 4GV box for your application To learn more about packaging, download our Free Packaging Infographic to share with your team.

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Michael Zendano

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.

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