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ISO Container Inspection Checklists

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What is an ISO Container Inspection?

An ISO container inspection is a process of assessing the structural integrity of intermodal containers based on International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and Convention for Safe Containers (CSC) requirements. It aims to guarantee the durability of shipping containers before transporting cargo through multiple modes such as truck, rail, or ship.

Safety officers use an ISO container inspection checklist to ensure compliance with international regulations, maximize the utilization of ISO containers during their life cycle, and prevent container fires. This article features:

    1. 5 crucial checkpoints of ISO container inspections;
    2. powerful mobile inspection checklist app to easily identify and report container damages; and
    3. free ISO container inspection checklists you can download, customize, and use.

5 Critical Checkpoints of ISO Container Inspections

While easily avoidable, container fires may occur on a weekly basis and a major container ship fire can happen at sea roughly every 60 days. On the maiden voyage of the Maersk Honam, a fire broke out from one of 7,860 containers which caused the death of 5 crew members and an estimated total loss of $1 billion. Here are 5 critical checkpoints that safety officers should watch out for in ISO container inspections to prevent similar incidents from occurring:

  1. ISO Identification
    ISO 6346:1995 is the international standard for coding, identification, and marking of freight containers. It specifies a physical presentation of marks on the ISO container to identify its size and type and verify the accuracy of its use. The ISO mark should be clearly displayed on the upper right corner and roof of the shipping container.
  2. CSC Plate
    An ISO container should undergo static longitudinal restraint, concentrated loads, and stacking tests to be approved for transport under customs seal and gain CSC safety approval. Usually located on the exterior doors, the combined data plate should be a permanent, non-corrosive, fireproof rectangular plate with alphanumeric characters of proportionate width and thickness stamped into, embossed on, or indicated on its surface.
  3. 7-Point Technique
    Safety officers should follow the 7-point visual inspection method in checking the condition of shipping containers before transit. Keep an eye out for the condition of these intermodal container parts:
  4. Cargo
    Improper cargo lashing, especially for dangerous goods, can lead to container fires as cargo moves or is damaged inside the ISO container during transit. Safety officers should inspect the cargo before and after packing and inspect cargo holds before and after loading.
  5. Shipping Documents
    One of the leading causes of container fires is misdeclared cargo. Safety officers should examine shipping documents and confirm the consistency of the commercial invoice, packing list, and bills of lading to the actual cargo inside the ISO container.

iAuditor Container Inspection Checklist App

Use iAuditor, the world’s most powerful inspection checklist app, to guarantee the safe transport of cargo and prevent container fires. With iAuditor, you can:

  • Perform container inspections offline or online
  • Capture and store unlimited photos of ISO marks and CSC plates
  • Schedule regular container and cargo inspections
  • Assign actions for damages or misdeclared cargo
  • Automatically generate and share reports
  • Easily access records secured in the cloud

To help you get started, here are container inspection checklists you can download and customize for free.


Shine Colcol

SafetyCulture Staff Writer

Shine has been professionally writing about virtually anything since her internship for a digital publisher of niche blogazines. She is passionate about building a culture of continuous improvement in the environmental, health, safety, and quality space through well-researched, engaging, and impactful content.