Operational strategy and enforcement



1 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 is to ensure that high standards of compliance with the relevant legislation are achieved and maintained.

2  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.

3  In Britain there have been few serious accidents directly resulting from the carriage of dangerous goods. There are frequent accidents involving vehicles carrying dangerous goods and loss of containment often occurs to some extent. Proper identification of vehicles and information about the goods they are carrying is thus important. HSE's experience from roadside checks is that about one in three of those vehicles carrying dangerous goods and selected for inspection exhibit breaches of one sort or another.

4  From time to time enforcement officers stop vehicles that are blatantly breaching the requirements in many respects. It is important that firm action is taken when such cases are detected.

Operational strategy

5  The overall strategy is to operate an inspection regime that makes the best use of the skills of HSE staff, Police and DVSA officers to influence companies and other stakeholders. The regime includes:

  • vehicle checks at the roadside (see also para 7 below)
  • inspection of compliance with CDG Regs  during visits to duty holders' premises; this involves both the assessment of management systems (including the role of the DGSA) and checks on vehicles at the premises
  • regular liaison between HSE, police and DVSA officers at both national and local level, and
  • liaison with intermediaries such as trade associations to improve contacts with duty holders.

6  CDG Regs allows suitably appointed police or DVSA officers to enforce the regulations.  Officers may issue Prohibition Notices and initiate prosecutions where justified.

7  It is expected that police and DVSA officers will make the majority of "on the road" contacts. They work within HSE's enforcement policy and HSE (through CEMHD Unit 4) monitor activity. It is important that HSE continues to make regulatory contacts to maintain knowledge and experience within field units.

8  The main thrust of HSE's enforcement regime is directed at the premises of duty holders who consign or carry dangerous goods, and this is where enforcement officers determine the competence of management in complying with the full range of their CDG duties. This action is informed by the intelligence produced following vehicle checks. Enforcement notices served by police/DVSA are placed on a data base which appears on the HSE website (via the enforcement link). CEMHD Unit 4 uses this data to monitor the quality and consistency of enforcement.


9. Enforcement should be consistent with HSE's enforcement policy.

10  Enforcement officers have a range of powers that can be applied to the enforcement of CDG Regs. In general, the approach is to ensure that the action taken is proportionate to the nature of the risk and/or the contravention and takes account of the overall record of the duty holder.

11  Enforcement effort is focused on the most important requirements, ie those that contribute significantly to the safety of the public, etc. These are:

  • the integrity of packages, tanks, etc
  • documentation
  • equipment including fire extinguishers
  • other matters of obvious concern, eg insecure loads
  • driver training;
  • vehicle placarding and orange plate marking
  • package marking and labelling;

12  Some of these items are easier to inspect at the roadside than others. Unless there is good reason to do otherwise, officers are not expected to enter load compartments to check packages. Where that is needed proper arrangements for personal safety must be followed.

13  Other, less serious, breaches would normally result in either written advice contained in the report given to the driver at the time. This focus is particularly important as the legislation is prescriptive.

14 Enforcement is obviously a matter for the officer at the time, but should be in accordance with the HSE policy. HSE inspectors should use the EMM. There are particular challenges in the sense that in many cases the most obvious enforcement decision is to issue a Prohibition Notice, but judgements of "serious risk" are not always easy. Having said that, ADR and the regulations have risk assessment "built in", by setting transport categories, packing groups, small load thresholds and limited quantity exemptions. It follows that failure to comply may often be judged to represent a serious risk. Intuitively this is not the case for every transgression. Enforcement advice has been developed jointly with police and DVSA at the "Practitioners' forum" which allows the three bodies to share experience and views. The enforcement advice now takes account of the risk categories set out in the EU "Uniform Monitoring Procedures" directive.

15  For the Common problems likely to be seen at the roadside, this advice has been distilled into a form that permits reasonably easy reference and is reproduced below. Annex 3-1 It could for example be printed double sided and laminated. A fuller discussion of these and other potential problems is in Annex 3.2.

Education, promotion and liaison with industry

16  In the past, HSE has produced publications and guidance as ready sources of information to industry, explaining the law and providing advice on methods of compliance. This is now unlikely for three main reasons.

  • It is felt that ADR itself is so prescriptive that in most cases the duty holder (guided by his DGSA) can find what is required,
  • DfT is now the lead department and produces literature of its own
  • There is a suite of guidance on the DfT website

17  HSE staff also make presentations at seminars, conferences, etc about the requirements of the legislation, as a means of promulgating good practice. Such techniques are particularly valuable as advice is given simultaneously to numerous duty holders.

18  HSE (through CEMHD Unit 4) also seeks to develop closer links with intermediaries with an interest in the carriage of dangerous goods (trade associations, industry groups, employee representatives), and such bodies can be a valuable source of intelligence. See also Regulatory environment.

Technical input

19  DfT is the competent authority for most functions. DfT maintains its own technical expertise and consults HSE and others as needed.

Inspector training

20  To ensure the effective implementation of the above strategy, especially in relation to complex and prescriptive legislation, it is important that inspectors are trained to an appropriate level. Training is not merely by attendance at a formal training course. HID has prepared this manual of essential information on CDG Regs for inspectors, and has mechanisms in place to provide technical and operational advice to its inspectors, police forces and DVSA. Both police officers and DVSA traffic examiners are provided with specific training for this work.

Arrangements for dealing with 'on the road' incidents involving dangerous goods

21  'On-the-road' emergencies involving vehicles carrying dangerous goods are dealt with by the emergency services in the usual way. Their personnel are trained and equipped to handle such incidents. HSE is not an emergency service and there are no circumstances in which inspectors should expose themselves to danger.

22  As police forces now have relevant powers there should be no need for HSE inspectors to attend incidents on the road. There may be a need to follow up incidents at duty holders' premises, in which case police officers will provide the necessary information by liaison with CEMHD Unit 4

23  It would be most unusual for the emergency services to require support from HSE whilst an incident is being dealt with. They might require later support in considering technical and legal issues surrounding for example vehicle or tank standards, or sometimes packaging standards. CEMHD Unit 4 will provide advice and support where needed.

24  In a situation where the Emergency Services are unable to obtain relevant emergency information, they can contact the National Chemical Emergency Centre, through the dedicated Chemsafe emergency telephone line, which should be available through their Control Centre. More information about how Chemsafe operates may be found at the NCEC website.

25  Information on packaging certificates, issued in UK, can be obtained from the VCA Dangerous Goods Office 

Annex 3.1 - Enforcement guidance for common offences

Carriage of Dangerous Goods & Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations Consult the relevant regulations or chapter of ADR for clarification of the precise requirements. A more detailed discussion of some of the issues is in annex 3.2. In every case it is assumed that evidence exists to show that the regulations are applicable.

Unless otherwise noted, the legal breach will be of Regulation 5 of the Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2009.

The following table is for guidance and the officer should use their judgement to determine the appropriate enforcement action based on the individual circumstances.

No column header ADR reference RISK Cat. ACTION Notes

Carriage of Goods

Transporting dangerous goods that are prohibited for transport



Consider security risks

Goods carried in a non-approved container.



Consider security risks


No indication of any sort of the presence of dangerous goods.




No or inappropriate details of the nature & quantity of dangerous goods.
The information specified in ADR 5.4 (and 5.5 where relevant) should form part of the transport document



A PN is appropriate if the information is so lacking that the inspector is unable to identify what is being carried.

No "Instructions in Writing"



Deferred PN

The purpose of "Instructions in Writing" is to give information to the driver.
As long as required text and symbols are legible all four pages may be reproduced on two sides of A4 as a minimum. Similarly, a company or other logo is acceptable.
If not in colour, treat as RC 3 (written report to operator only).

Inadequate "Instructions in Writing"
~ not in "ADR Format"
~ in language the driver does not understand

ADR (9.1.3) certificate not carried
(tank vehicles, packaged explosives)



Deferred PN
But see notes

Care needed to distinguish between the failure to carry the certificate and the possible unsuitability of the vehicle. If the vehicle is clearly unsuitable treat as Risk Cat 1.
Photocopies acceptable for GB vehicles on GB journeys.
Check certificate is appropriate to UN Number of load (AT, FL or EX).
As long as legible, reduction in size is acceptable.
Note that for most vehicles registered before 10 May 2004 and on a domestic journey, there is no need for such certificates.


Mandatory Items for all vehicles (Wheel chocks, warning signs, pocket lamp, high visibility jacket, gloves, eye protection). It is not the role of the enforcement officer to judge suitability of equipment.  Concerns should be reported to HSE

None carried




Items missing (other than wheel chocks)


Deferred PN

Use judgement. eg only one item missing may justify written report (RC3). Several types of gloves or eye protection may be seen. Doubts about condition or suitability should be recorded without reference to risk and referred to HSE with details.

Wheel Chocks – none


Written report to operator

Considered low risk.  Authorisation 24 allowing use of a single chock on domestic journeys no longer applies.

Equipment dependent on load

In all cases the suggested action is the most severe to be considered. Many cases may be treated as Risk Category 3 (written report only)
It is not the role of roadside enforcement officers to decide suitability of equipment. On no account should a vehicle be held up solely because of doubts about this equipment. Such doubts should be referred to HSE with details and photo if possible.

Classes 3 – 9  Eye rinsing liquid




Written report to operator

Eye rinsing liquid is sometimes "dated". If outdated, also treat as RC3 (report only). No other first aid equipment is needed under ADR.
Use judgement. For some DGs (eg some class 7 and class 9 goods) may add little value.

Classes 2.3 and 6.1        Emergency escape mask
This equipment may be in a vacuum sealed bag with a long "shelf life" and should not be opened for routine checks

None provided and
carrying class 2.3 (toxic gas)



Deferred PN

For toxic gases (class 2.3) this continues the (now deleted) provision S7- so deferred PN justified.

Carrying class 6.1 (other toxic substances)


Deferred PN or Written report to operator

For class 6.1 (Use judgement as in some cases this may not add great value) 

Classes 3, 4.1, 4.3, 8, 9

Drain seal



Deferred PN

Use judgement. For solid goods (some class 9 for example) may add little value.
Drain seals vary in design and type. Also some kinds of absorbent "sock" could function as a drain seal.



Deferred PN

A shovel has upturned sides and may be short or long handled.
Use judgement. For some DGs (eg some class 9) adds little value. Treat as RC3 (report only).
If a spade is carried, treat as risk category 3 (Written report to operator only

Plastic collecting container:


Deferred PN

Use judgement. A wide interpretation of this requirement is justified.
May be a bucket or other container for absorbent materials or spill kit. No size is specified, but it should be watertight.
For some DGs (eg some class 9) adds little value.
If not plastic (eg galvanised bucket), treat as RC3 (written report to operator only).

Fire or an unprotected light being used




8.3.4 relating to unprotected lights applies to all classes of goods.
The prohibition on the use of fire or naked flames relates to Class 1 goods.  The use of combustion heaters is prohibited during loading and unloading FL type vehicles.

Fire Extinguishers

None, discharged or "under pressure" (see separate decision matrix) below 8.1.4 1 PN  
Fewer fire extinguishers than required 2 Deferred PN As long as the larger extinguisher is fully functional.
Treat as RC 3 where the deficiency is marginal.
Fire Extinguishers – not in full compliance with ADR
eg not sealed or inspection dates not clear (but extinguisher appears functional)
3 Written report to operator see also separate decision matrix below
The extinguisher must show the date (month, year) of the NEXT examination. Risk Category 3 breach if otherwise complies with matrix below. It is also permissible to indicate the maximum permissible period of use.

Fire extinguisher decision matrix (see para 8 of annex 3.2 where no gauge is fitted)

Gauge reading Inspection date Action Risk category
Low red N/A PN  (immediate or deferred depending on whether 2nd FE is in good order)
Note: a second FE is not always required
1 or 2
up to 1 month overdue Written report to operator3
Gauge reading Inspection date Action Risk category
High Red Overdue more than 3 months PN  (immediate or deferred depending on whether 2nd FE is in good order)
Note: a second FE is not always required
1 or 2
Overdue 1 – 3 months Deferred PN 2
Gauge reading Inspection date Action Risk category
Green Overdue more than 3 months PN  (immediate or deferred depending on whether 2nd FE is in good order)
Note: a second FE is not always required
1 or 2
Overdue 1 – 3 months Deferred PN 2
Overdue up to 1 Month Written report to operator 3
In date None N/A
  ADR reference Risk Category Action Notes
Vehicle Markings
No orange plates and in scope 5.3 1 PN For tanks/bulk only, CDG Regs Regulation 6 requires GB regd. vehicles on GB national journeys to display the Emergency Action code in place of the HIN. For tanks only, an emergency telephone number also has to be displayed. Usually combined as the "Hazard warning panel" though that is optional.
Tanker placards
ie panels on one side only or on sides but not rear
1 PN PN should only be considered when the inadequacy is such to prevent the emergency services from identifying the risks and taking appropriate action.

ADR allows the use of 'stick on' warning panels on vehicles constructed before 2005.

For vehicles in switch loading service (petrol /diesel) no objection need be taken to displaying 1203//3YE hazard warning panels (see Common Problems – switch loading).

Fire resistance of orange plates- see discussion below
Treat as RC 3 where there is doubt.
~ Plates/placards provided but not fully compliant
~ information is inconsistent with load/contradictory/misleading 
2 Deferred PN
~ Plates/placards/hazard warning panels dirty, not vertical, not correctly positioned, party obscured, too small,
not properly fixed etc
3 Written report to operator
use of HIN (Kemler) instead of EAC when engaged on GB domestic journey Not ADR
CDG Regs Reg 6
2 Deferred PN
EHS mark not displayed or incorrectly displayed 5.3.6 3 Written report to operator See DfT guidance. The mark is distinct from other placarding and plating
LQ markings not displayed/incorrectly displayed when required. 3.4.10 3 Written report to operator Only required if vehicle unladen weight >12 tonnes and >8 tonnes LQs carried.  Can display new LQ label or 'LTD QTY' to front and rear of vehicle.
Freight Containers
No markings displayed or danger signs displayed do not match goods carried 5.3 1 PN  
Plates/placards when not needed
Empty & cleaned but orange plates/class placards displayed.
3 Written report to operator Remedy by having markings removed or covered.
Tankers and bulk should display their placards / plates until cleaned.
Driver Training
No ADR Training certificate (formerly known as VTC)
Driver has none or is not carrying it

NB. There is now no "small vehicle" exemption. If the load is in scope the driver must hold a valid ADR Training certificate
8.2 1 PN It may be possible to establish whether the driver has been issued with a Training certificate. If this is done and the operator has been informed of the failure to carry the certificate then this can be dealt with by verbal or written warning. If the issue of a certificate cannot be verified then a PN is appropriate until it can be produced.
All relevant trade associations have been told of this policy.
For waste batteries in bulk see the relevant entry in "common problems".
Drivers of all vehicles carrying goods above "small load" thresholds require an ADR Training Certificate.
No awareness, function specific, or safety training –
Relevant to "small loads" only
1 PN or deferred PN Level of driver knowledge in such cases is bound to be subjective. Except in the grossest cases, deferred PN is appropriate. Refer concerns to HSE CEMHD4.
Loading / Stowing (Insecure load/leakage) Bulk or container
Load integrity presents danger to the public and CANNOT be easily remedied 7.5 1 PN May call for other emergency services or for the vehicle to be moved to a safe place if that is reasonable in the circumstances.
Serious Leakage – cannot be immediately dealt with by driver
Load integrity presents danger but CAN be remedied safely by the driver 2 PN or deferred PN If appropriate a deferred PN could be issued. In this case "defer until leakage remedied" and this could be supervised at the time. The vehicle might have to be moved to a safe place to achieve this and be re-examined before being allowed to continue. Consideration must be given to the risk involved if the vehicle is allowed to continue its journey without any remedial action and whether this creates a greater risk for other road users and the public.
Minor Leakage – can be dealt with safely & immediately by driver
Inadequate separation of incompatible loads 2 Deferred PN only when ADR 7.5.2 breached The restrictions on "mixed loading" are very limited and mostly apply only when carrying explosives – refer to ADR 7.5.2. & 7.5.4
Rules governing the securing and stowing of loads have not been complied with. 7.2.4
  PN or deferred PN  
Mode of Carriage
Dangerous Goods Being carried in BULK or TANK when not permitted by ADR 3.2 7.1.1 1 PN or deferred PN To allow movement to nearest safe place for unloading.
Vehicle & Tank Requirements
Vehicle does not comply with approval standards and presents an immediate danger 3.2
1 PN or deferred PN  
Vehicle does not comply with approval standards but does not present an immediate danger 3.2
2 Deferred PN  
Unprotected Tank Fittings at chassis level or tank fittings extend behind rear protection. 9.7.6 1 Written report to operator Reports to be forwarded to HSE CEMHD4.
Tank fittings – clearance between rear end protection and tank/fittings substantially less than 100mm 2
Examination Plates do not show last examination date, or plate illegible 6.7 (MEGC)
6.8/6.9/6.10 (tanks)
Tanker – Emergency telephone number
No number
No response or seriously inadequate response to number
Note: applies to GB tank transport only
CDG 2009  Reg 6
N/A PN Initial response with basic advice within 10 minutes, more detailed advice within 30 minutes, 1 transfer allowed.
'Consult local depot' can be displayed subject to approval from chief fire officer in area of transport.
The ban on smoking is not being observed. 7.5.9
1 PN The use of electronic cigarettes is also prohibited.
The vehicle is not properly parked or supervised. 8.4   Report to DfT.
Written warning.
Non- crew member being carried on the vehicle. 8.3.1 2 Deferred PN ADR does not allow unauthorised passengers to be carried on vehicles carrying dangerous goods.  Consideration must be given to the safety of the passenger.
Gauge reading Inspection date Action Risk category
Low red N/A PN  (immediate or deferred depending on whether 2nd FE is in good order)
Note: a second FE is not always required
1 or 2
Gauge reading Inspection date Action Risk category
High Red Overdue more than 3 months PN  (immediate or deferred depending on whether 2nd FE is in good order) 1 or 2
Overdue 1 – 3 months Deferred PN 2
  up to 1 month overdue Written report 3
Gauge reading Inspection date Action Risk category
Green Overdue more than 3 months PN  (immediate or deferred depending on whether 2nd FE is in good order)
Note: a second FE is not always required
1 or 2
Overdue 1 – 3 months Deferred PN 2
Overdue up to 1 Month Written report 3
In date None N/A

Annex 3.2 - Enforcement discussion

1 Despite the complexity of the regulatory package, the issues to be considered by those carrying out a roadside check on a vehicle carrying dangerous goods are in most cases reasonably straightforward. These have been divided into two sections, viz, those that are relatively easy to determine at the roadside and those that are more likely to be the subject of contacts with other duty holders in the transport chain.

Roadside matters

Transport documentation: ADR part 5 and 8

2  Missing or inadequate information on the nature and quantity of the dangerous goods being carried would usually warrant a PN. Where there are no "Instructions in Writing", or they are not in a language the driver understands a deferred PN should usually be issued. It is now wholly the carrier's duty to comply with the "Instructions in Writing" requirements.

Driver training: ADR part 8

3  A completely untrained driver, or a driver whose knowledge and awareness is grossly inadequate, would justify a PN (immediate or deferred depending on arrangements necessary for the safety of the vehicle and other road users). If the driver is not carrying his/her training certificate some judgement is needed. It may be possible to make a phone call to the carrier to check the position.  This is at the officer's discretion and is usually not possible outside office hours or where the driver does not hold a British certificate.  If some evidence that the driver holds a valid certificate cannot be provided, a PN is appropriate and trade associations have been advised that enforcement officers will take that action. At the least, reference should be made in the UMP or (police) 10500 form and a follow up letter to driver and/or carrier would be appropriate. For DVSA and police officers this can be done through CEMHD Unit 4.

4 Sometimes drivers carry a photocopy of their ADR training certificate. This is generally not acceptable but there may be a good reason such as loss or theft of the original. In these cases the driver should be able to show that he has applied for a replacement (eg a letter from his employer or a copy of a letter to SQA). A driver holding a non-UK driving licence may have a GB issued hand-written ADR certificate.

Precautions against fire and explosion: ADR part 8

5 Fire extinguisher provision depends on load and vehicle size. Any vehicle carrying dangerous goods (other than as LQ -see main exemptions) must carry a cab extinguisher of at least 2 kg dry powder capacity. Additional fire extinguishers are only required where loads above the "small load threshold" are carried, and this varies according to vehicle size (see table below). Details may be found at para 8.1.4 of ADR and in crew and vehicle requirements.

Permissible maximum weight Total FE capacity (inc cab FE)
Up to 3.5 tonnes 4 kg
3.5 tonnes to 7.5 tonnes 8 kg (inc at least one 6 kg)
Above 7.5 tonnes 12 kg (inc at least one 6 kg)

If carrying only infectious substances, only the cab extinguisher is required regardless of vehicle or load size

6  A PN will usually be appropriate if the vehicle has no fire extinguishers or where they are empty or substantially discharged. A deferred PN is appropriate where there is one functional fire extinguisher (where there ought to be two).  Some judgement will be needed where the total provision is marginally short (eg 10 or 11 kg where there should be 12 kg)

7  Difficulties can arise where the pressure gauge on the fire extinguisher indicates "low pressure" (that is the needle is in the "lower red zone").  This usually indicates that there is a problem with the extinguisher and the enforcement table in annex 3.1  should be consulted.

8  Fire extinguishers without a pressure gauge may also be seen.  These are likely to be "cartridge" types.  Their serviceability can only be assured by a specialist.  In these cases the integrity of the seal and the inspection record is vital. Where these are not as they should be, the extinguisher should be regarded as unserviceable and action taken as in the decision matrix in the enforcement table in annex 3.1.  

9  For stored pressure extinguishers (with a pressure gauge) minor breaches (such as where the seal is broken but there is no evidence that the extinguisher has been discharged, or where the way test dates are recorded is not correct) should be referred to on the UMP form or the police report form (risk category 3)

Mandatory equipment: ADR 8.1.5

10  A total absence of the equipment (other than the wheel chock - see para 12 below) specified in ADR 8.1.5 would normally warrant a PN.

11  Equipment is now divided into two categories.  Some is required in all cases and some is dependent on the classes of the goods carried.  Detailed advice is in the table at annex 3.1

12   The provision of a wheel chock was new to GB with the 2004 regulations. Within the haulage community there were strong representations that wheel chocks add little or no value to the overall safety package. The requirement is clear, but the lack of wheel chocks should not be regarded as an issue warranting a PN. It should be reported on the UMP (or police) form, and if appropriate confirmed in a letter to the duty holder. Under authorisation 24 (see main exemptions) only one wheel chock is needed even where there are two "vehicles" ((such as a lorry with drawbar trailer)

Vehicle marking and placards: ADR Part 5.3

13  Vehicles carrying dangerous goods (other than packaged goods below the "small load threshold") must display orange plates (and placards in the case of tanks/bulk carriage and packaged class 1 and 7 goods) which alert emergency services, enforcement officers and other road users to the hazards associated with the vehicle.

14  The absence of plates/placards when required to be displayed would justify a PN (immediate or short deferment to allow movement under supervision to a safe place), and in some cases prosecution of the carrier and/or driver. Under ADR it is the carrier's obligation to ensure the vehicle is placarded/plated as required but in some cases it is the driver who has deliberately allowed the vehicle to travel unmarked for his own reasons. There is some evidence that this may be done to allow vehicles to travel through tunnels or onboard ships that would otherwise be barred to them. Such a case should be treated as a serious contravention. The wording of CDG Regs regulation 5 now allows any person who "causes or permits" a breach of ADR requirements to be subject to enforcement action.

15  Placards giving information that is inconsistent with the load, contradictory information or information that could seriously mislead the emergency services would also justify similar action in most cases.

16  Information displayed on orange plates, placards, Hazard Warning Panels etc that is faint, worn or unclear needs to be considered on its merits. Where the problem is more serious a deferred PN may be appropriate, to allow the vehicle to complete its journey before new placards are provided.

17  Vehicles displaying 'no hazard' or 'low hazard' placards when dangerous goods are actually being carried should be subject to a PN. Prosecution of the carrier and/or driver would also be justified as this is seriously misleading.

18  Displaying placards when not carrying dangerous goods could mislead the emergency services. This can often be dealt with by removing the placards; it is not usually necessary to issue a PN. However, enforcement officers should take a more serious view where the offence involves the unnecessary display of hazard warning panels etc. on empty and cleaned road tankers, tank containers or vehicles designed to carry dangerous goods in bulk. Formal enforcement action should be considered in these circumstances, particularly if there is evidence that the carrier and/or a particular driver have been previously warned for the same offence.

19  Displaying plain orange-coloured placards when carrying packaged dangerous goods in quantities below the thresholds set out in ADR (small loads) is not an offence. It is common practice on vehicles doing delivery rounds (such as LPG cylinder delivery and collection) 

20  Displaying the front plain orange-coloured plate propped up inside the cab windscreen is unacceptable. Such placards should be fixed in a position where they can be clearly seen on the front of the cab before the vehicle is allowed to continue its journey. This is usually so easily remedied that a PN will not normally be necessary but a mention on the UMP or police (10500) form would be appropriate.

21  Similarly plates/placards swinging on chains, or jammed under door locking bars etc is not acceptable.

22  Spare placards should be removed and stored in a secure place on the vehicle. Any failure to comply is usually so easily remedied that a PN will not normally be necessary, but a record will be appropriate.

23  The Emergency Action Codes (EAC) list is on the web site of the NCEC. A copy may also be purchased from TSO. Unless seriously misleading (which should be unusual) action should be limited to UMP or police (10500) form. Note: paragraph 5 of schedule 1 of CDG Regs permits tankers constructed before 1 January 2005 to display non-fire resisting orange coloured plates.

24  GB registered vehicles carrying dangerous goods in tanks/tank containers on domestic journeys must display a telephone number where specialist advice about the goods is available at all times (subject to alternative described in paragraph 4 Sch 1).   A domestic journey is one that is wholly within GB. Some carriers engage third parties to act directly as a source of specialist advice on their behalf, or to arrange for a nominated person to be contacted. Such arrangements are acceptable as long as they work effectively. If the initial contact promptly refers the caller to another number where specialist advice is available then this should be accepted, but further referrals would be unacceptable. No response or a seriously inadequate response would usually warrant a PN. See also Frequently asked questions.

Environmentally hazardous substances (EHS) in road transport

25  ADR has contained, for some time, two UN numbers for environmentally hazardous substances as follows

  • UN 3077 environmentally hazardous substance, solid, n.o.s
  • UN 3082 environmentally hazardous substance, liquid, n.o.s

These are both class 9 and treated conventionally in terms of marking and labelling of packages, and placarding of tanks etc.

26 ADR now recognises that other classes of substances may also be environmentally hazardous. The basis of this assessment is contained in ADR at 2.2.9. 1.10, and more particularly, Under the latter paragraph, substances which are classified under supply legislation as "environmentally hazardous", are also regarded in the same way as for transport purposes.

27 Such substances attract the "environmentally hazardous substances" mark, which is illustrated in ADR at

Marking of packages

28 Packages larger than 5kg or 5 litres should display the "EHS Mark" in the same way as they display the labels. See ADR

Marking of Tanks

29. Tanks should display the EHS Mark in the same format as a placard, ie a diamond of 250 mm side length. See ADR 5.3.6. Other requirements associated with placards, such as fire resistance, do not apply. This is also illustrated and discussed in a DfT Guidance note.


30. From 1 July 2011 the documentation should carry the words "environmentally hazardous". If the journey involves a sea passage the IMDG documentation requires the words "Marine pollutant", and in these cases that is acceptable under ADR. ADR 2011 See paragraph

Enforcement action

31 Where substances which are known to be "environmentally hazardous" are either not marked at all, or inappropriately marked, it should be regarded as a risk category 3 breach, requiring a written report only. The substances in this category which are most likely to be encountered will be fuels such as petrol, diesel, gas oil, kerosene, jet fuel. No action need be taken in the case of minor variations in the details of the mark.

32 The same approach should be taken in cases where the documentation is not correctly endorsed

33 Where an officer has reason to believe that the substance being carried is "environmentally hazardous" but the EHS marking/ documentation are not correct, the matter should be referred to HSE, with the fullest available details of the substance. This will then be followed up with the consignor.

Fire resistance of orange plates

34  There are two requirements in this context

  1. the orange plates (whether plain or carrying UN Number and HIN or EAC) have to be capable of remaining in place "in the event of 15 minutes' engulfment in fire". (ADR
  2. where UN No. and HIN/EAC are carried, that information should "remain legible after 15 minutes' engulfment in fire".  (ADR

35  Case 2 is made more complicated in GB by the permitted use (in the case of carriage in tanks or in bulk on GB registered vehicles on national journeys)  of hazard warning panels (HWP) which carry the orange plate, the hazard placard and the emergency telephone number (tanks only).

36  For GB registered vehicles on national journeys, the 15 minutes' fire resistance criterion applies only to carriage in tanks constructed on or after 1 January 2005.

37  Enforcement officers should not seek to apply the 15 minutes' fire resistance criterion to any separate plate which displays the telephone number or that part of a HWP which displays the telephone number.

38  The fire resistance criterion is usually achieved by the figures and letters being embossed as well as painted, but other means are available.

Loading, stowage, unloading and cleaning: ADR part 7

39  Action to be taken with insecure loads of packaged goods depends on the circumstances. Where there are serious problems with the way a load is stowed, secured or segregated and these cannot be easily remedied on the spot, a PN will be appropriate.

40  Sometimes it is possible for a vehicle to be directed to a nearby industrial or distribution site where the load can be rearranged. This is common for over-weight vehicles, so at multi-agency events enforcement officers may be able to make provision by liaison with Trading Standards Officers. Care needs to be taken to ensure that the carrier takes responsibility for this. It is simply an option to enable a PN to be complied with safely and at minimum "time cost" to the carrier.

The vehicle: ADR part 6

41  Tankers/tank containers should be fitted with a plate giving the date of last inspection. In the absence of this information a deferred PN may be the best course of action since it is unlikely that this can be remedied at the roadside.

42  Unprotected fittings, valves etc, projecting beyond the chassis or crash-protection bars on the vehicle should normally be dealt with by a deferred PN, since in most cases it is safer to allow the vehicle to continue to its immediate destination, than to attempt to rectify the situation or make modifications at the roadside. CEMHD Unit 4 should be notified of any enforcement action taken. Note that, under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding, police and DVSA officers should not enforce this aspect of the regulations.

43  Covers left off valve outlets should be replaced before a vehicle is allowed to continue in which case a PN is not necessary. If the covers are not available, and assuming there is no sign of a leak from the valve(s), a deferred PN may be most appropriate, requiring them to be fitted before the next journey.

44  Minor leaks of dangerous goods and similar incidents involving the load, that can be brought under immediate control should be dealt with by the driver so far as is reasonable, in accordance with those instructions in the 'emergency information' that apply to the driver in such circumstances. As previously, in certain circumstances a deferred PN may be the best option, so that the vehicle can be moved to the nearest safe place under the control of the emergency services.

Supervision and parking of vehicles: ADR chapter 8.5

45  Column 19 of table A in ADR gives the details for each relevant substance. The reference is to the precise requirement in Chapter 8.5 of ADR (phrases S14 to S21 are applicable). Vehicles left unsupervised on the public highway without reasonable cause, or parked inappropriately should be moved to a safe place as soon as possible and action taken against the driver and/or carrier.

Other matters (less likely to be "roadside issues")
Classification: ADR part 2

46  Where there is evidence that the goods are dangerous and have been wrongly classified enforcement officers should consider issuing a PN. In many cases a deferred PN will be appropriate, so that the goods can be moved to a place where the classification process can take place in greater safety.

Packaging: ADR Part 4

47  Enforcement officers should consider issuing a PN where there is evidence of serious deficiencies in standards of packaging. A deferred PN may be appropriate so as to allow the goods to be moved to a place where they can be re-packaged in greater safety. Packagings that do not meet required UN/ADR design-type approval standards, fail to display appropriate UN/ADR markings or display falsified type approval markings may nevertheless be fit for purpose, and further information on the quality of the packaging may be needed to support enforcement action. Concerns of this sort should be reported to CEMHD Unit 4.

48  Incorrectly marked LQ packages should be recorded as a risk category 3 breach. This will normally be a consignor duty and referred to CEMHD Unit 4 for follow up.

Concerns of this sort should be reported to CEMHD Unit 4.
Labelling: ADR Part 5

49  The absence of labels, or labels giving false, inconsistent or seriously misleading information about the goods being carried should usually be dealt with by a deferred PN so that the goods can be moved to a place where they can be re-labelled in greater safety.

Annex 3.3 - The UMP form

1  The Uniform Procedures for Checks on the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road Directive was updated in 2004. The aim is to harmonise procedures within EC member states for checking compliance with the relevant legislation during the checking of vehicles carrying dangerous goods. The main requirements are:

  • The use of a standard checklist (UMP form) of items for every vehicle carrying dangerous goods that is inspected,
  • The provision of a report of the findings to the driver, and
  • Submission of an annual report to the EC, giving details of the checks carried out, number and types of infringements detected and enforcement taken. This is carried out by DfT.

2  These checklists are to be completed by HSE Inspectors. DVSA inspectors also use the forms. Police officers conduct the checks in accordance with the directive but use a different report form to give to the driver. In all cases the driver, and subsequently the carrier should have a clear record of the outcome of the check.

3  The following notes may help in completing the form

  • Item 11. This refers to "Small Load" thresholds.
  • Item 14 Instructions in writing are now common to all loads
  • Item 15. UK is signatory to a number of multilateral agreements but they apply only to international journeys and are for relatively esoteric purposes. In most cases "not applicable" is appropriate. If needed, details can be found on the UN website.
  • Item 16. Vehicles should carry their approval certificates.  See ADR
  • Item 28. basic safety equipment such as wheel chocks, high visibility clothing, torch.
  • Item 29. Special equipment such as intrinsically safe torch when carrying     
  • flammables
  • Item 32. See risk category for common breaches set out in the tabular summary above. Risk category I is the most serious.

4  The report is given to the driver and HSE inspectors should forward the copy to CEMHD Unit 4 at Redgrave Court for onward transmission to the Department for Transport, who produce the annual report to the EC.

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Updated 2023-12-11