I suppose it is only human to want to turn our attention to the more attractive sectors of our industry and turn a blind eye to the more functional packaging disciplines.

After all the design and engineering involved in, say, a food or beverage pack is far more appealing than the secure packaging and transit of any item that may be flagged up under the dangerous goods banner.

Yet, this indifference to a significant part of our industry could result in the UK not meeting fresh legislative deadlines, a loss of business to other European countries and the packaging or transit of dangerous goods not meeting current specifications.

A well-known specialist on the packaging of dangerous goods, who will remain nameless, was asked to update this very important subject for the readers of Packaging Today International. He declined to do so on the basis that nothing of significance had or was about to take place!

I was naturally concerned as I just had received an e-mail from the Government’s Health and Safety Commission outlining the introduction of fresh legislation on the safe packaging and transit of hazardous goods.

This is of immense import to our industry, particularly as a ridiculously short consultation time appeared to make it impossible to put into effect within the given deadline. I began to wonder whether the civil servants involved had lost the art of communication.

So I gave the brief to a ‘lesser’ mortal to explore for fear of the specialist having lost the ability to read or write, let alone the will to live. As ever Mr Thomas-Emberson responded with considerable enthusiasm and energy. The results of his research can be found in the article ‘A lesson in avoidance’ and, believe you me, they make interesting reading.