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Safety should never be overlooked, and if your business is or intends to undertake the transportation of dangerous goods, then you must know what you are doing. Hazardous and highly-dangerous materials include flammable, explosive, radioactive, or acidic items and include items you might think of as common goods, such as paints, pesticides, and solvents.

Whether the items are being moved by road, rail, inland waterway, or sea, they must be packaged and labelled correctly. Transporting dangerous goods correctly will help your business avoid spillages that might cause injury or damage to the environment. If an incident does occur, you will be armed with the information that emergency services will need.

Legal Guidelines For Moving Dangerous Goods

You must comply with national and international regulations to ensure the safe transportation of dangerous goods. Different classes are used to number packages, ranging from 1 to 9, which defines the substance’s danger. Other guidelines define the qualifications and training that drivers and safety advisors must hold for preparing the transportation of dangerous goods.

The business or person moving dangerous goods is responsible for packaging, classifying, and marking the item to the following UN classes:

  • Class 1 – Explosives
  • Class 2 – Gases
  • Class 3 – Flammable liquids
  • Class 4 – Flammable solids
  • Class 5 – Organic peroxides and oxidisers
  • Class 6 – Infectious and toxic substances
  • Class 7 – Radioactive materials
  • Class 8 – Corrosive substances
  • Class 9 – Miscellaneous dangerous substances

To comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, you must appoint a Dangerous Goods Safety Advisor or DGSA. However, if your transportation of dangerous goods involves only small quantities or if this is not your primary or secondary business activity, then a DGSA may not be required.

A certified DGSA is also required, and regulations must be followed, by any business that allows dangerous goods to be carried. This often includes warehouses, freight forwarders, factories and manufacturers, and cargo consignors. The certification training can typically be completed with two to five days.

DGSA duties include monitoring compliance, preparing annual reports, monitoring safety procedures, investigating and reporting accidents and emergencies, and advising on potential security aspects.

Safety Equipment

Before the transportation of dangerous goods, on the road or within your premises, you should ensure that the vehicle and workers are equipped with the right personal protective equipment (PPE), fire extinguishers, and documentation. This applies when the transport of hazardous goods is undertaken by an electric tug, lorry, forklift, or pedestrian carrier.

PPE and safety equipment for the transportation of dangerous goods might include a warning vest, wheel chocks, warning signs, portable lighting, protective gloves, eye rinsing liquids, and goggles.

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