Carriage of Dangerous Goods
Hazardous Chemicals and Dangerous Goods are transported throughout the United Kingdom, by road and by rail, every day. These goods include dangerous chemicals such as:
- toxins and carcinogenic substances
- radioactive materials
- inflammable liquids
- volatile chemicals likely to spontaneously combust or react with air, water etc.; and
- inflammable, poisonous or compressed gases
Although the Health and Safety Executive is primarily responsible for enforcing the many regulations designed to ensure safety while these substances are in transit, it is the members of the emergency services who will have to deal with the consequences of any incident.
The carriage of dangerous goods by road creates risks to drivers, other road users, the public and the emergency services. In addition some substances create environmental risk. HSE pursues an enforcement strategy that is proportionate to the level of risk, the objective of which is to ensure that high standards of compliance with the relevant legislation are achieved and maintained.
There have been serious incidents overseas which illustrate the potential risk, and the ACDS report, 'Major hazard aspects of the transport of dangerous substances' (1991), indicated that past experience and previous rates of infringement do not necessarily provide an adequate basis for assessing the risk of rare but potentially very serious events.
ADR is too large and complex a subject to put together in these few pages, we've merely scratched the surface. Although we've tried to bring you as much positive and useful information as possible here. To endorse what we're saying concerning the complexities of ADR, there is also the subject of wastes (including Clinical Waste).
With the exception of clinical waste, wastes are classified in the same way as other substances. The rules at ADR 126.96.36.199 mean that where generic or 'NOS' names are chosen, the substance or substances giving rise to the hazards may have to be named. The word 'WASTE' should qualify other descriptions where applicable (ADR 188.8.131.52.3).
ADR also places specific duties on consigners, carriers and the consignee. This involves providing information, documentation, correct vehicle equipment packaging and labelling. In addition vehicles carrying dangerous goods above the limited quantities provision will need to display orange plates identifying that they have dangerous goods on the vehicle. There are additional requirements for tanks.
ADR requires that anyone involved in the carriage of dangerous goods by road must:
- act to avoid damage/injury from, and minimise the effects of, foreseeable dangers
- when there is an immediate risk to public safety, notify the emergency services and give them the necessary information.
When dangerous goods are being consigned for a third party, the third party has to inform the consignor in writing that the goods are
dangerous and make available all the necessary information and documentation.
ADR places specific duties on three principal classes of duty holder:
Asides from the 3 classes of duty holder (listed above), it also includes other participants, including (but not limited to) loaders, packers, fillers and operators of tank containers and portable tanks. ADR identifies certain instances where the relevant duty holder does not personally have to carry out the required actions, but can rely on information provided by other participants in the carriage of dangerous goods.