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Law relating to Hazardous Items Sent by Parcel

By 27th June 2014

Sending goods through the mail is a convenient way of getting items to their destination in an acceptable and timely way. These days, there’s a fantastic choice of private parcel delivery services around that offer a top notch service. However, there are certain items which cannot be sent through the mail or with a courier service for safety reasons and as such there are strict rules which have to be adhered to at all times.

 

Health & Safety Reasons

Many items cannot be sent through the mail due to health and safety regulations but there are also legal reasons why many products and goods cannot be handled by couriers or the postal service too. However, these same regulations might not apply to products and goods that need to be sent overseas. Before sending out anything you are not sure of you would need to make yourself aware of any international regulations in order to avoid getting into trouble with the postal/courier service and the authorities.
Most prohibited or restricted goods on the list of hazardous items are common sense things which you fully understand should not be placed in a parcel and sent through the post. This includes items like firearms, ammunition or any kind of explosives. However, there are other items which are deemed to be dangerous and this includes any item that might be pressurised which could also cause an explosion if the outer casings are pierced or broken.

If goods inside a package are deemed hazardous, companies will refuse to take them

There are other items and products which should not be sent through the post in a parcel and which are not quite as obvious which includes the following:

  •  Alcoholic beverages
  • Pesticides
  • Poisonous, toxic liquids, solids or gases
  • Corrosive substances
  • Electronic items containing any batteries exceeding 100Wh
  • Solvent-based paints, wood varnishes and enamels
  • Oxidising materials and organic peroxides
  • Lighters and refills containing flammable liquid or gas
  • Batteries
  • Magnetised material
  • Obscene publications and unlawful indecent images
  • Matches
  • Gases

Sending Live Animals or Reptiles is a No-No

You should never send any sort of living creature through the mail in a parcel with the exception of certain insects. However, if you are uncertain, it is best to check with the courier service first to make sure you are allowed to send the insects as long as they are in the correct type of container.

Responsibility of the Sender

It is the responsibility of the sender to find out if the goods they want to send by parcel are prohibited or restricted items or not. If you fail to do this, a courier service or the Royal Mail has the right to refuse to take the parcel. Again the rule of thumb is that if you are at all unsure, you would need to contact the parcel service company to confirm they would be prepared to take the parcel.

Conclusion

If you at all unsure whether the items you would like to send in a parcel are considered hazardous or not, you need to contact the courier service you use to find out if you would be allowed to send them or not. There are certain things which are not that obvious and this includes aerosols and alcohol or anything that could explode whilst in transit. Batteries and some electronic goods are considered hazardous too but it is up to the sender to find out about all prohibited and restricted items before they send anything via the post. Failing to do this could result in the couriers or the Royal Mail refusing to take parcels on the grounds they contain hazardous items.