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You Must Be Aware Of The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Safety Regulations Regarding The Transportation Of Strong Magnets, Before You Travel

The civil aviation authority has classed a magnetic mattress cover, with a surface gauss rating of 2,400 or more gauss per magnet and containing more than 50 magnets per cover, as a strong magnetic device which could interfere with the instrumentation of a plane. Magnetic devices of this strength are classified in the “Dangerous Goods” for transportation regulations.

The CAA dangerous goods for transportation regulations contain stipulations on how potentially harmful items can safely be carried on aircraft.

The transport of dangerous goods regulations state that;

Strong magnet devices may only be allowed onboard an aircraft if they are sufficiently protected and carried in the cargo hold.

Sufficiently protected is defined as:

The magnetic device must be wrapped in a protective layer that will reduce the flow of the magnetic field; i.e. 5cm (2 inch) thick bubble wrap or similar material.

Failure to comply with these regulations may result in one of the following:

1. Seizure of the ‘dangerous’ goods by airline staff

2. Investigation of the incident by the CAA

3. Prosecution in the Magistrates court and a £5,000 fine And in the most extreme cases (extremely unlikely for carrying magnets) prosecution in the County court and a maximum prison sentence of 2 years

I do not want to seem like an alarmist and it is highly unlikely that you would be subjected to an investigation, fine or imprisonment but you may have your mattress cover confiscated and not returned to you and I do not want you to lose your mattress cover because you were unaware of the fact that you could not carry your cover onto the plane.

All other types of magnets can safely be taken on holiday. You should keep them in your hand luggage so that they can be scanned through airport security and be inspected if needed.

Airports are used to people travelling with magnets, so you should not worry about being questioned. You will not make the airport scanners go off or raise any alarm bells.

Here is the extract from the dangerous goods for transportation regulations that explains how your mattress cover may be seized

The Dangerous Goods Office carries out inspections and has a scheme for the recording and investigation of incidents, as required by Annex 18. Regarding inspections, the four authorised Inspectors carry out inspections to check for compliance with all the requirements of the Technical Instructions. They are to check on packages and documents, procedures for handling dangerous goods, the state of training for those involved and the provision of adequate notices at cargo acceptance points and passenger check-in areas.

The Inspectors are empowered to seize packages of dangerous goods if there are reasonable grounds to suspect a consignment does not comply with all applicable requirements. Regarding the recording and investigation of incidents, approximately 400 incident reports are received each year in the UK and the Dangerous Goods Office maintains a database of such incidents. Many incidents are of a minor nature and do not warrant investigation; these are usually dealt with by letter. Sometimes there is insufficient information to enable further action to be taken. Sometimes, if an incident arises with imported dangerous goods, there is little action that can be taken if the offence originated outside the UK; in these circumstances, all available evidence is determined with a view to informing the originating State so that action can be taken there. When an incident is judged to be sufficiently serious to warrant a formal investigation this is carried out by an Investigation Officer from the CAA Legal Department, in liaison with the Dangerous Goods Office. On completion of the investigation, all the evidence is considered and a decision made as to whether or not to prosecute the alleged offender. In the event of a prosecution, an offender can be fined up to £5000 per contravention in a Magistrates Court. If there is a Crown Court trial, the penalty can be an unlimited fine or up to two years imprisonment or both.

Transportation of Dangerous Goods by Air 15/4/2002.

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