The Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road Act gives effect to the European Agreement on the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR). The Department of Transport, Minister for Justice, National Authority for Occupational Health and Safety and Radiological Protection of Ireland are authorities for the purpose of the legislation. They may appoint persons to be inspectors under the legislation.
- Road Safety Authority (RSA) for technical examination of vehicles and issuing of certificates of approval
- National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) for testing of receptacles and tanks
- Irish National Accreditation Board (INAB) for accreditation of inspection bodies
- Minister for Justice and Equality for all matters relating to the carriage by road of explosives of the ADR Class 1
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for all matters relating to the carriage by road of radioactive materials of the ADR Class 7
- National Roads Authority (NRA) or ‘Transport Infrastructure Ireland’ for matters relating to the classification of tunnels as required
- Health and Safety Authority (HSA) for all other functions required to be performed by a competent authority under the Regulations
There is a duty on persons engaged in the carriage of dangerous goods by road to take practical steps to prevent risks of injury to persons or property. Persons must not procure the carriage of dangerous goods without are disclosing their precise nature and that they are dangerous. Failure to comply is an offence which may be prosecuted summarily or an indictment. When an offence is committed by a body, corporate officers, directors, managers may also be punished.
The Carriage of dangerous goods by road regulation relate to the carriage of bulk or packages of dangerous goods by road. They give effect to the European agreement concerning International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR).
ADR is the Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road, which was made at Geneva in 1957 by United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, and amended April 1985. Aart from some excessively dangerous goods, other dangerous goods may be carried internationally in road vehicles subject to compliance with:
- the conditions laid down in Annex A for the goods in question, in particular as regards their packaging and labelling; and
- the conditions laid down in Annex B, in particular as regards the construction, equipment and operation of the vehicle carrying the goods in question.
Annexes A and B have been regularly amended and updated since the entry into force of ADR. These annexes were entirely revised and restructured between 1992 and 2000, and a first version of the restructured annexes entered into force on 1 July 2001. The annexes to the ADR are amended every two years. Annex A details the general provisions and provisions concerning dangerous articles and substances which are divided into the following parts:
Part 1 – General Provisions
Part 2 – Classification
Part 3 – Dangerous goods list, special provisions and exemptions related to limited and excepted quanitities
Part 4 – Packing and tank provisions
Part 5 – Consignment procedures
Part 6 – Requirements for the construction and testing of packagings, intermediate bulk containers (IBCs), large packagings and tanks
Part 7 – Provisions concerning the conditions of carriage, loading, unloading and handling
Annex B details the provisions concerning transport equipment and transport operations which are divided into two parts as follows:
Part 8 – Requirements for vehicle crews, equipment, operation and documentation
Part 9 – Requirements concerning the construction and approval of vehicles
Under the European Communities (Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment) Regulations 2011 (S.I. No. 349 of 2011), as amended“the carriage of dangerous goods by road” is defined as any road transport operation performed by a vehicle wholly or partly on public roads, including the activity of loading and unloading, packing and filling, covered by the ADR, but does not include transport wholly performed within the perimeter of an enclosed area not open to the public.
The classes of dangerous goods according to ADR are the following:
- Class 1 Explosive substances and articles
- Class 2 Gases
- Class 3 Flammable liquids
- Class 4.1 Flammable solids, self-reactive substances, polymerizing substances and solid desensitised explosives
- Class 4.2 Substances liable to spontaneous combustion
- Class 4.3 Substances which, in contact with water, emit flammable gases
- Class 5.1 Oxidising substances
- Class 5.2 Organic peroxides
- Class 6.1 Toxic substances
- Class 6.2 Infectious substances
- Class 7 Radioactive material
- Class 8 Corrosive substances
- Class 9 Miscellaneous dangerous substances and articles
Each entry in the different classes has been assigned a unique, 4-digit UN number, which may be either specific to an individual substance or collective to a product or substance type. The UN numbers are assigned to different transport categories from 0 to 4 and this will influence the maximum amount of the goods that can be carried at any one time.
Chapter 3.2 of the ADR contains a Dangerous Goods List. This is a table which contains a list of dangerous goods by name and description, their UN numbers, classification, transport categories and all the relevant codes for packaging, labelling, special provisions, carriage in bulk, carriage in tanks, etc.
ADR Chapter 3.1 and the introductory paragraphs of Section 3.2.1 provide explanatory notes regarding each of the columns of the dangerous goods list. The relevant section of the ADR that details the requirements for each of the codes is provided in the column header.
The Regulations principally apply to the carriage of dangerous goods by road, in tanks, in bulk and in packages, in accordance with the provisions contained in the technical Annexes to the ‘Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road’ (ADR). They impose duties on the various participants associated with the carriage of the dangerous goods, including the
- tank container or portable tank operator,
- vehicle crew,
- safety adviser,
- inspection body or
- any other person with a duty under the relevant transport statutory provisions.
The ADR contains requirements for the vehicles, tanks, tank containers, receptacles and packages containing the dangerous goods during their carriage. They require that those involved in the carriage of the dangerous goods by road (including drivers and those responsible for the packing, loading, filling and unloading of dangerous goods) be adequately trained and, in the case of drivers, hold a certificate of such training.
The Regulations also contain provisions on an EC harmonised approach to the road checks aspect of enforcement (Directive 95/50/EC).
In 2011 Directive 2010/35/EU on transportable pressure equipment was transposed in Irish law and was incorporated in the national regulations concerning the carriage of dangerous goods by road (see section on TPED).
Annex A to ADR sets out the requirements for classifying, packaging, labelling and certifying dangerous goods. Vehicles carrying dangerous goods must comply with Annex B to ADR, which includes vehicle and tank specifications and other operational requirements.
Drivers of all vehicles carrying dangerous goods must have an ADR training certificate. There are exemptions for drivers carrying:
- small loads below the threshold limits
- dangerous goods packed in limited quantities
- dangerous goods packed in excepted quantities
For transport of dangerous goods loads that are below certain volumes or weights, many parts of ADR may not apply, or only apply in a modified form. General exemptions are listed in chapter 1.1.3. part 3 of Annex A to ADR. It includes the dangerous goods list, special provisions and exemptions related to dangerous goods packed in limited quantities.
Undertakings involved in the consignment or carriage of dangerous goods by road, and related activities, must appoint a vocationally qualified safety adviser or advisers. A DGSA’s function is to advise you on health, safety and environmental matters in connection with the carriage of dangerous goods. The businesses affected are those:
- Who consign dangerous goods for carriage which may include the packing, filling or loading the means of transport;
Who are operators of road vehicles used for the carriage of dangerous goods;
- Who load/unload dangerous goods in transit to their final destination (including temporary storage), such as freight forwarders or warehouses – this category also covers undertakings at ports and airports that load/unload dangerous goods on or off road vehicles.
A Dangerous Goods Safety Advisor (DGSA) is a person certified to provide advice to undertakings whose activities include the consignment, carriage, or the related packing, loading, filling or unloading of dangerous goods, to monitor compliance with legal requirements and to ensure the preparation of an annual report. The detailed provisions regarding the role of a DGSA for carriage by road are listed in ADR 1.8.3.
Persons or companies involved in the consignment or transport of dangerous goods who require the services of a DGSA may opt to contact the DGSA Association of Ireland (DGSAAI – see link provided below) or the DGSA training providers (provided by CILT) who may be in a position to refer them to a qualified DGSA.
Persons holding a current DGSA certificate from any Member State of the European Community may act for an undertaking in any other Member State for those classes of dangerous goods and transport modes covered by their certificate.
Transport businesses must use a suitably trained driver certified to drive vehicles carrying dangerous goods subject to national legislation/ADR. As there are exemptions to the rule you may require advice from a dangerous goods safety adviser (DGSA) to establish whether formal certification is necessary in your circumstance.
In general all tank vehicle activity requires a driver certified for carriage in tanks and for the dangerous goods being carried. For packaged dangerous goods there are thresholds under which a certified driver may not be necessary. Guidance on the various exemptions that may be available to you, and your relevant training requirements, is provided in section 6 in our guide on the carriage of dangerous goods by road.
When transporting dangerous goods internationally under ADR, the operator must ensure that your loads are always accompanied by a transport document. This sets out detailed information on the load being carried, including full classification of any substances carried and how to package them. Under ADR the operator must ensure that the following documents are carried on the transport unit:
- transport documents containing prescribed information for each dangerous substance, material or article being carried
- emergency instructions in writing
- means of identification, including a photograph of each member of the vehicle crew
The consignor of a vehicle carrying dangerous goods must provide the driver with details of the hazards associated with their dangerous goods loads and instructions on emergency action to take if an accident occurs:
- before a journey commences, the driver/haulier must provide the instructions in writing (rather than the consignor)
- the instructions must be in languages that every member of the vehicle’s driver/crew understand one set of instructions – based on a 4 page model –
- covers all dangerous goods rather than specific products
Operators who carry explosives or dangerous goods in tanks by road to or through countries which apply ADR, may need to obtain a certificate under Annex B of ADR.
Fixed-tank vehicles, tank-battery vehicles and other vehicles carrying explosives must undergo technical inspection and a certification procedure in their country of registration to make sure that they conform with ADR requirements and to the standard safety regulations in force, for example covering brakes, lighting and steering.
International carriage of dangerous goods
Regulation is via the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR).
The carriage of dangerous goods by rail is governed by Appendix C of the Convention Covering International Carriage by Rail – International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Rail. T
The International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) code provides guidance on transporting dangerous goods by sea. Find information about the IMDG code on the International Maritime Organization (IMO) website.
The IMDG code is used by operators transporting dangerous goods on journeys involving a sea crossing. This includes ferry services. In the UK, the Merchant Shipping (Dangerous Goods and Marine Pollutant) Regulations 1997 and the Dangerous Substances in Harbour Areas Regulations 1987 also apply. Read about dangerous goods on the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) website.
The International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Technical Instructions are an internationally agreed set of provisions governing the requirements for transporting dangerous goods by air. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) publishes the Dangerous Goods Regulations in accordance with the ICAO technical instructions.
The transport document must be completed by the consignor (the person or firm from whom the goods have been received for transport). Legislation contains an example of a multimodal dangerous goods transport document and describes occasions when the document may not be required, for example for limited quantities.
To move air cargo that is classified as dangerous, a dedicated air transport document such as the IATA Shipper’s Declaration of Dangerous Goods must be used.
Marking and labelling of dangerous goods – suppliers’ responsibilities
As well as the requirements specific to their transportation, suppliers of dangerous goods are required by law to label their hazardous products and packaged chemicals with hazard symbols, warnings and safety advice. A range of internationally recognised symbols has been developed so that people handling the goods know the nature of the hazard they present. Manufacturers must also include instructions for use, either on the label or on a leaflet supplied with the product. Suppliers must provide material safety data sheets for dangerous products used in the workplace.
Packaging (other than for limited and excepted quantities) has to be designed and constructed to UN specification standards and must pass practical transport related tests such as being dropped, held in a stack and subjected to pressure demands. It must also meet the needs of the substance it is to contain. Packagings must be certified by a national competent authority.
UN approved packaging is marked with the prefix ‘UN’ and followed by codes that are listed in the relevant regulations relating to the national and international carriage of dangerous goods by road, rail, air and sea.
Packaging must also bear the correct labels and markings appropriate for the substance and package.
Inspectors must have a warrant of their appointment. For such purposes, inspectors may
- carry out checks on any transport equipment for reasons of safety inherent in the carriage of goods.
- They may enter any premises where there are reasonable grounds for suspecting it is used in connection with the carriage of dangerous goods and inspect the premises equipment and records.
- Where he has reasonable grounds for suspecting that at any premises or place an offence has been committed.
Reasonable force may be used to enter the premises provided it is authorized by a warrant. This is not required in the event of an emergency involving likely danger to life. Transport officers may be accompanied by members An Garda Síochána.
Officers may take samples of goods or transport equipment which they have reasonable grounds they suspect are being used for the carriage of dangerous goods by road. There are powers to require information from persons at the relevant place. They may inspect, examine and take copies of extracts from documentation kept in connection with the carriage of dangerous goods. It is an offence to obstruct or interfere with an inspector, or wilfully to give misleading information.
There is provision for service of prohibition notices in connection with the carriage of dangerous goods by road where this constitutes a danger to safety on a public road. The Prohibition notice takes effect immediately and may be issued by members or senior officers of An Garda Síochána. It is possible for a person aggrieved by a prohibition notice to appeal to the District Court.
Where an offence is suspected to have been committed the member of an An Garda Síochána may require names and addresses for service of summons within the State. A person who gives false or misleading information or information that appears to be false or misleading on reasonable grounds or fails to give an address within the State may be arrested without a warrant.
It is an offence to alter or forge any transport document or certificate required under the regulation, driver’s instructions or otherwise with intention to deceive. It is an offence without authority to interfere with transport equipment being used for the carriage of dangerous goods by road.