ADR, CDG Regs and Dangerous Goods Safety Advisors


1. ADR is available on line.

2. ADR is highly prescriptive but structured logically.

3. The structure of ADR is that each part is subdivided into chapters and each chapter into sections and paragraphs and sub paragraphs. So for example, 2.1 is the introduction to classification, 2.2 is the class specific provisions, 2.2.1 relates to class 1(explosives), 2.2.2 to class 2 (gases) and so on.

4  Part 1 is the introductory part setting out high level aims and duties, together with exemptions. This includes the need for a Dangerous goods safety adviser (DGSA) at chapter 1.8.3.

5  It then goes logically through the process as follows:

  • Part 2. Classification
  • Part 3. The dangerous goods list (including special provisions and exemptions related to limited quantities.
  • Part 4. Packing and tank provisions
  • Part 5. Consignment procedures, including documentation and vehicle marking
  • Part 6. Construction and testing of packagings, intermediate bulk containers (IBC), large packagings and tanks
  • Part 7. Carriage, loading, unloading and handling
  • Part 8. Vehicle crews, equipment, operation and documentation (including driver training)
  • Part 9. Construction and approval of vehicles

6  It follows that, if care and time are taken, the answer to most problems can be found, and for that reason there is little or no need for explanatory literature or guidance.

7  ADR itself contains general exemptions (at 1.1.3). CDG Regs provides that exemptions allowed by the EU Dangerous Goods Directive and UK derogations apply in GB. These are discussed in detail in the Main Exemptions part of this manual.

8  Many duty holders are required to have a Dangerous Goods Safety Adviser (DGSA) who should have the training and knowledge to deal with the matter. GB exemptions are discussed below.

The Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2009

9 The Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2009 (CDG Regs) set the legal framework in GB, as ADR itself has no provision for enforcement. The regulations include a number of exemptions and make substantial changes to the ADR requirements for the domestic carriage of many explosives.

Dangerous goods safety adviser (DGSA)

10  ADR at 1.8.3 requires many of those involved in carriage of dangerous goods to appoint a DGSA.
11  It applies to carriers, packers, fillers, loaders and unloaders, subject to some exemptions discussed below. The exemptions arise from ADR and have been implemented by CDG Regulation 3 (j). The GB exemptions do not apply to international carriage. The two exemptions are alternatives.

12  Packer and unloader are defined in ADR at 1.2.1. DfT guidance is that "final unloaders" (consignees) will not need to appoint a DGSA. Intermediate unloaders (such as freight forwarders and consolidators and operators of "in-transit" storage facilities) will need to have a DGSA.

Exemption (a)

Carriage related activities  for small loads, where ADR applies for radioactive materials, and for limited and excepted quantities

Exemption (b)

Where the main or secondary activity of the duty holder is not the carriage of dangerous goods or (related activities). Various questions of interpretation arise in connection with this exemption. "Main or secondary activity" should be interpreted as the main or secondary purpose of the business. Thus companies whose business is not the transport of dangerous goods per se but whose activities involve such transport will normally not require to appoint a DGSA. Examples include

  • Construction companies taking dangerous goods to and from sites would not be regarded as having transport of dangerous goods as either a main or secondary activity
  • Repair organisations that occasionally recover vehicles which are still loaded with dangerous goods. For routine services, it would be expected that the vehicles would be unloaded and where applicable cleaned and purged.

Carriers (in this context synonymous with vehicle operators) delivery companies, freight forwarders etc are not within this category as carriage of dangerous goods is often their main or secondary activity.

This exemption is further qualified. The terms "occasionally engage" and "little danger or risk of pollution" pose practical difficulties of interpretation. In so far as the limited quantities exemptions apply a risk assessment approach, it could be argued that carriage above those thresholds cannot qualify. The regulation clearly envisages that there will be such cases and the following examples may help in making the judgment.

  • transport of dangerous goods in transport category 4
  • transport of dangerous goods in transport Category 3 but only in packages (not tanks/bulk) where the volume/mass of the load concerned does not exceed 1500 litres or kg. Goods in transport categories 0, 1 and 2 should not be treated in this way.
  • transport of explosives in loads of up to 10% above the thresholds at which placarding requirements apply.
  • "occasionally" should be interpreted as 1 to 2 journeys per month. If more frequent deliveries (eg by a contractor to a site) are required this should not be regarded as occasional. Other exemptions may allow a duty holder not to appoint a DGSA.

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Updated 2020-06-04