Requirements for Ground Handling and Cargo Agents

Guidance relating to Dangerous Goods

Services such as check-in and baggage handling are contracted to ground handling agents at airports by the operating airlines.

Dangerous goods are routinely carried by passengers in their cabin or checked baggage and on their person and international provisions are in place which, when complied with, ensure that they can be carried safely.

What are dangerous goods?

Many items which might appear to be harmless in everyday use can pose dangers wherever they are carried on an aircraft and are consequently forbidden for carriage by passengers either in the cabin or in their checked baggage. Examples of forbidden items include:


fireworks, flares, party poppers, toy caps


mace, camping gas, culinary glazing torches

Flammable liquids:

machines with petrol fuelled engines including those which have been drained, petrol, lighter fluid

Flammable solids:

non-safety matches






car batteries, mercury

Dangerous Goods Training for Ground Handling Agent Staff

The AN(DG)Rs place responsibility for the safe carriage of dangerous goods on all parties involved in the transportation. This is inclusive of ground handling staff who check-in passengers and process baggage.

Anyone involved in the process of sending dangerous goods by air, whether the originator of the goods, the company that packs them or delivers them to the airport, the handling agent and the aircraft operator, has a legal responsibility to ensure that the applicable requirements have been met.
Failure to do so may endanger the aircraft, its occupants or persons handling the dangerous goods and may result in prosecution of the person responsible for the incident.

The following staff of a Ground Handling Agent must receive dangerous goods training

Ramp / Baggage Handling

  • Staff accepting dangerous goods;
  • Staff accepting cargo, mail or stores (other than dangerous goods);

Passenger Handling Staff – Check-in

  • Passenger handling staff; and
  • Passenger assistance staff.

Lithium batteries - Video of the hazards to flight safety from the improper carriage of lithium batteries

Lithium batteries are very safe, but because of their high energy, if they are not treated with care or if they are abused or have a manufacturing fault, they can catch fire. Batteries have been the cause of a number of fires onboard aircraft and during ground handling. The following videos are intended to raise awareness of the hazards from lithium batteries and the importance of ensuring they are transported in accordance with the Technical Instructions, both as cargo and by passengers.

Lithium batteries: Guidance for crew members

Lithium batteries: Guidance for cargo and ramp personnel

Lithium batteries: Guidance for passsenger handling staff


Frequently asked questions

How soon after employment must I receive dangerous goods training?

Dangerous goods training must be provided or verified upon employment, before you carry out any of the functions for which you are employed involving dangerous goods or general cargo.

What will my dangerous goods training involve?

Persons involved in the tasks listed above must be trained in the requirements corresponding with their responsibilities and must include familiarisation, function-specific training and safety training. Table 1.4 of the Technical Instructions provides the subject matter relating to dangerous goods transport with which various categories of personnel should be familiar.

I have changed companies but I received dangerous goods training from my previous employer. Is this still valid?

Yes, provided that the training covered the areas required by your new role and you can provide your new employer with a copy of the certificate that was issued when you were last trained.

My dangerous goods training qualification is no longer valid. Can I still carry out my duties?

No. It is a legal requirement that dangerous goods training MUST be kept current. Failure to receive recurrent dangerous goods training and continuing to carry out a function involved in the processing or the carriage of cargo (whether or not it includes dangerous goods), would be a contravention of the Air Navigation (Dangerous Goods) Regulations. The same rules apply to staff of operators.