If you intend to transport dangerous goods via road, air, water or rail then you will need the correct insurance to cover you. UK providers of commercial vehicle insurance will usually have an option for dangerous goods cover. Failure to have the right level of cover could lead to prosecution due to the damage certain goods can cause. From corrosive chemicals to flammable gases, there are so many goods which could have a devastating impact on the environment and could cause fatalities if an incident occurred during transport. This is why it is important to have the correct HGV insurance and to follow all regulations so that you’re covered in the event of an incident on the road.
There are several other things you will need to consider if you are planning to transport dangerous goods in order to comply with ADR (Accord Dangereux Routier) legislation.
Correct Classification Of Dangerous Goods
At every stage during transportation, the consignor is responsible for classifying, marking and packaging dangerous goods. Correct classification is crucial so that all organisations in the supply chain know exactly what the hazard is. In the event of an incident, emergency services must be able to distinguish what the hazard is to prevent any danger to the surrounding area and pedestrians. For example, an unclassified flammable gas could cause an explosion and emergency services must be able to identify this as soon as possible.
Classification is vitally important as a safety measure. Failure to comply with classification standards would leave you unable to claim against your commercial vehicle insurance policy in the event of an accident.
Documentation When Transporting Dangerous Goods
Dangerous goods must be carried with a transport document declaring the description and nature of the goods which is completed by the consignor. This documentation must comply with the specifications set by the regulator for the chosen mode of transport, whether it is by road, rail, air or water.
The transport document must include the UN number, the proper shipping name and the UN Hazard Class. It must also contain a description of any packages, the total quantity of goods, the names and addresses of both the consignor and consignee and the appropriate tunnel code.
There must also be written instructions for the driver detailing the steps to be taken in the event of an accident in a language that can be understood by whoever is driving the vehicle.
Dangerous Goods Safety Advisor Training
Businesses that transport, process or handle dangerous goods regularly must appoint a Dangerous Goods Safety Adviser (DGSA) to comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. You won’t need to appoint a DGSA if you transport smaller quantities than stated in the legislation or if you only occasionally transport dangerous goods. Your DGSA must monitor compliance rules, create an annual management report and monitor safety measures. They must also investigate and compile reports of accidents or emergencies and advise on security during transportation.
To be qualified for this role, a DGSA must pass a written examination and obtain a vocational training certificate. The Department for Transport approves the mandatory DGSA exams. Find out about the DGSA training courses and exams on the SQA website.
Not appointing a DGSA would not only get you in trouble with the law but also your fleet insurance company. Following regulations is mandatory for protecting your business and being in compliance with your business vehicle insurance policy.
ADR legislation requires operators to ensure that their staff receive comprehensive training on the handling and transportation of dangerous goods. This isn’t just limited to drivers and includes warehouse staff, loaders, unloaders etc. This is separate from the more advanced training that ADR drivers must undergo in order to transport dangerous goods.
Failure to properly train your staff could have a devastating impact on your business and would have serious implications on your ability to claim against your fleet insurance policy.
The law requires that ADR operators ensure that safety equipment is carried in vehicles transporting dangerous goods. The list of equipment items is extensive, including fire extinguishers, wheel chocks, high visibility clothing, respirators, eye cleaning fluid etc.
If any required safety equipment is missing then enforcement action can be taken by ADR regulators.
Marking And Labelling
Suppliers of dangerous goods are required by law to label hazardous products with hazard symbols, warnings and safety advice. A range of internationally recognised symbols has been developed so that everyone handling the goods are aware of the hazard they present. You can view the range of symbols using this HSE leaflet.
Manufacturers must include instructions for use on the label or on a leaflet supplied with the product and suppliers must provide material safety data sheets for dangerous products in the workplace.
Requirements for safety labelling may vary between third countries so it is advised to check requirements in destination countries before travel. For example, the USA has different requirements than European countries which may cause the need for relabelling during transport.
Packaging for dangerous goods must be designed and constructed in compliance with UN specification standards and pass practical transport-related tests. These include being dropped, held in a stack and being subjected to pressure demands. It also must be adapted to suit the needs of the substance it contains in order to be deemed safe for transportation purposes with appropriate labelling.
Make sure your packaging has been certified by a national competent authority before attempting to transport any goods. The Vehicle Certification Agency Dangerous Goods Office has responsibility for the certification of dangerous goods packaging in the UK. For more information, visit the VCA website.
UK business fleet insurance providers will not process your claim if you don’t follow the appropriate safety regulations. Make sure that all goods are appropriately labelled and packaged before attempting to transport them. Following all safety regulations is of key importance to make sure your business is covered in the event of an incident.
Tony Jewitt is a Director at Avis Insurance, a UK based goods in transit insurance company. He established Avis Insurance in 1983 initially as general insurance and mortgage brokers, before specialising completely on truck and haulage insurance markets from 2016. He has extensive experience in the insurance industry and is passionate about presenting his clients with customised solutions.