Freight container regulations

Under the Freight Container (Safety Convention) Regulations 2017, HSE is responsible for:

  • issuing approvals for firms who oversee the design and manufacture of containers and
  • upholding maintenance standards for freight containers in Great Britain through the Approved Continuous Examination Scheme (ACEP) and Periodic Examination Scheme (PES)

The Regulations apply to most types of freight container used at a place of work and require that the containers be:

  • Approved – Freight containers and their derivatives must have their design, specification and construction approved by an organisation appointed by HSE to carry out this work. Those needing to have their containers approved should approach one of the appointed organisations directly.
  • Periodically examined – Freight containers must be regularly examined by a competent person and in accordance with arrangements that are approved by HSE to determine whether the container is fit for use and to verify satisfactory maintenance.
  • Maintained – Freight containers must be maintained in efficient working order and good repair. The Regulations imply more than merely repairing defects as they become apparent through failure or examination – routine inspections should include systematic preventative maintenance to ensure the container is safe for continued use.
  • Plated – Freight containers must have a safety approval plate permanently affixed, giving information on its status and design parameters. This includes the reference number of the organisation that approved the container, the identification number of the container, its maximum gross operation weight and details of the examination arrangements.
  • Marked – so that any maximum operating gross weight shown on the body of the container is consistent with the marking on its safety approval plate.

Further information

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Updated 2024-03-20