The International Maritime Dangerous Goods IMDG Code is available in a two volume set. It categorizes dangerous goods into ten groups including: explosives, gases, flammable liquids, oxidizing substances and organic peroxides, toxic and infectious substances, radioactive material, corrosive substances and miscellaneous dangerous goods and substances.
Together with IMDG Code, the IMDG Supplement is necessary for full implementation. This supplement includes important details of methods for the packing of dangerous goods and emergency procedures to take in the event of accidents involving workers who handle dangerous goods on board vessels.
Volume I of the IMDG Code includes: general provisions, definitions, training, classification, packing and tank provisions, consignment procedures, construction and testing of packagings, intermediate bulk containers (IBCs,) large packagings, portable tanks and road tank vehicles and transport operations.
Volume II of the IMDG Code includes: limited quantities exceptions, an index and appendices.
The IMDG Supplement includes: an emergency schedule (EmS) guide, a medical first aid guide, reporting procedures, regulations for packing cargo transport units, regulations for the safe use of pesticides and irradiate nuclear fuel (INF) code.
The IMDG Code was first envisioned at the 1960 Safety of Life at Sea Conference (SOLAS.) It was recommended that governments internationally should adopt a uniform set of standards for the transport of dangerous goods at sea to supplement other SOLAS recommendations. It was resolved that the IMDG Code should provide standards for packing and container traffic and storage, particularly with regard to the separation of incompatible substances.
The IMDG Code was officially adopted in 1965 and it has undergone many changes. Changes to the code that do not affect the principles upon which the code is based are made by the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO.)
The IMDG Code and the IMDG Supplement are amended as required, due to changing industry conditions, technology and advances in safety. Amendments may originate from proposals made by member states and those necessary to take account of changes to the United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods which is responsible, internationally, for establishing the basic safety requirements for all forms of transport. Amendments to the United Nations Recommendations are made on a biannual basis and are adopted by governing authorities within approximately two years.