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Dangerous Goods by Air

Are you involved in the preparation and transport of dangerous goods by air?

Transportation of dangerous goods can be performed safely if everyone involved applies the required safety conditions and rules. Do you know the specific responsibilities you have to comply with the international regulations? Learn more about our online courses here >

What are dangerous goods?

Dangerous goods are items or substances that when transported by aircraft are a risk to health, safety, property or the environment. They include: explosives, radioactive materials, flammable liquids, dangerous or volatile chemicals, strong acids, compressed gases, poisons, and aerosols.

EU and international legislation states that all staff directly or indirectly involved in the transport of goods classed as dangerous must receive training appropriate to their job. The scope and content of this training is defined in law.


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‘The safety of aviation and the public is paramount and that’s why there are important international and domestic restrictions to prohibit the shipping of certain goods that pose a flight safety risk.’ General Counsel, CAA

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What are the risks?

There were 2,048 dangerous goods by air incidents reported in Europe between 2012 and 2016.

For the shipper, failure to comply with the regulations can result in freight being delayed and costs being incurred. 



For the freight company, incorrectly labelled dangerous goods can result in an incident onboard a flight.  These incidents can be caused by: acid leaks from wet cell batteries, fuel spills from lawnmowers and chainsaws, explosives, aerosols, flammable paints and thinners.

Who is involved?


The Dangerous Goods by Air course is intended for anyone who is involved in the packaging, handling and transportation of hazardous goods by air. IATA list the following roles for people who should undertake the training:

  • Shippers - packers and people who work within the organisation
  • Freight Forwarders – drivers and warehouse staff
  • Customs & Security - screen passengers and their baggage and/or
  • Ground handlers - who accept, handle, load, unload, transfer or process cargo.

Specific to the Oil & Gas industry, the following roles should take the online HCA training:

  • Offshore Helicopter Landing Officer (HLO)
  • Offshore Helideck Assistant (HDA)
  • Heli-Admin Medic
  • Materials Controller
  • Radio Operator
  • HSEA Advisor


What are the regulations?


The IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR) manual is the global reference for shipping dangerous goods by air and the only standard recognized by airlines.

In November 2017, OPITO, the global skills body for the energy industry, implemented a mandatory training pre-requisite, whereby personnel must hold an approved dangerous goods awareness qualification before starting the Helideck Operations Initial Training (HOIT).  This standard was updated in April 2019 to the following:

 "As a minimum, delegates must have completed Dangerous Goods by Air training course in accordance with Part 1, Chapter 1.4 of the ICAO Technical Instructions and sub section 1.5 of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations, Category 7, 8 or 9 or state aviation approved dangerous goods awareness training course" - OPITO



Asset duty holders are responsible for ensuring that personnel appointed to Helicopter Landing Officer (HLO) and Helideck Assistant (HDA) roles comply with the standard.

The OPITO helideck training and competence framework can be seen here:

How can we help?

Atlas Knowledge offers an HCA-approved online Dangerous Goods by Air awareness course that qualifies as the pre-requisite for the OPITO HOIT course.  The HCA approval includes the training requirements: ICAO Technical Instructions 1.4.1 and Table 1.4 and IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations 1.5 and Table 1.5A.  

According to Table 1.4 of the ICAO TI, the following requirements apply to offshore based personnel involved in helicopter operations: 

  • Helicopter Landing Officer: Key 7 and 8
  • Helicopter Deck Assistant: Key 7 and 8
  • Helicopter Admin Staff: Key 7, 8 and 9


The Helideck Certification Agency (HCA) works to ensure the safe take-off and landing of helicopters around the world, and their involvement helps us provide you with a deeper insight into the associated legislation and regulations.

The course will help you to stay safe when handling dangerous goods, both in your day-to-day activities and in emergency situations. It illustrates the labels and marks they need for shipping and explains the importance of appropriately classifying each package's contents so that it can be safely transported by air.

Learn more here >