UN Numbers, Shipping Names and Packing Groups

UN or United Nations numbers are best described as a part number. It is a number that is internationally used to represent a specific dangerous good description.

Every dangerous good has its own number, even if the shipping name may be different in a different country. These UN numbers are listed in Schedule 1 of the TDG Regulations.

The initials UN must be in front of the 4 numbers on packaging and documentation.

e.g.:UN1203, GasolineUN1230, Methanol
UN1950, AerosolsUN3480, Lithium Ion Batteries

All UN numbers are represented by 2 letters and 4 numbers. This means that the initials UN must be in front of the four numbers on packaging and documentation.

Shipping Names – Schedule 1                                                                                              

Dangerous Goods that meet one or more of the 9 classification criteria will be listed in the TDG Regulations in Schedule 1 with a proper shipping name. The proper shipping name must match exactly with the UN number and classification. If the UN number is unknown, you may find the proper shipping name in Schedule 3, Alphabetical cross reference.

It is the shipper’s responsibility to select the appropriate shipping name. The carrier cannot accept the dangerous goods if the shipping name is incorrect or does not match the UN number.

These often describe the general hazard of the dangerous good and are often used when a chemical description or ingredient is not found in the regulations or is a mixture of more than one ingredient.

In this case, some proper shipping names will require a technical or chemical name of the main hazardous ingredient, listed in brackets following the proper shipping name. You can find this by checking Special Provision 16 in Schedule 2 of the TDG Regulations. Often these names will have the initials N.O.S. (Not Otherwise Specified) in the proper shipping name. The technical or chemical name can often be found on the Safety Data Sheet/SDS of the hazard.

You may recognize some of these as:

Flammable Liquid N.O.S. or Corrosive Liquid N.O.S.

Packing Groups – Schedule 1                                                                                              

Packing Groups indicate the level of risk or degree of danger. These are represented by Roman Numerals I, II, III. Packing Groups are determined through testing or through human experience or knowledge.

➤ Class 1 Explosives are always Packing Group II in Canada

➤ Class 2 Gases do not have packing groups

➤ Class 6.2 Infectious Substances use categories. UN3291, medical waste, use Packing Group II

➤ Class 7 Radioactive Materials use categories

– Category I low risk. Category II moderate risk. Category III high risk

➤ Class 8 Corrosives have packing groups. There are however some exceptions

➤ Class 9 Miscellaneous have packing groups. There are however some exceptions

A packing group will also provide information on the appropriate packaging types and approvals to help determine the correct packaging.


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