What Are Dangerous Goods?

Dangerous goods may be pure chemicals, mixtures of substances, manufactured products or articles which can pose a risk to people, animals or the environment if not properly handled in use or in transport.

Under EC Directive 96/35, Dangerous Goods Safety Advisers (DGSA) have been required by law since 1 January 2000. Any company undertaking carriage, packing, loading, filling or unloading as a main activity and are doing so with goods that are greater than the limited quantity provisions must appoint a DGSA.

Dangerous Goods Legislation

Under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 (section 33, as amended) for failing to implement a service improvement notice or observe a prohibition notice there is a maximum penalty of a £20,000 fine and/or 12 months imprisonment in the lower courts, with an unlimited fine and/or 2 years imprisonment for the higher courts.

You can train a member of staff or use a company that specialises in providing dangerous goods safety advice. A DGSA must hold a vocational training certificate (VTC) and pass the Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) examination which must be revalidated every 5 years.

A DGSA has specific duties laid down in chapter of the ADR Regulations. It is an individual who holds the DGSA qualification. Companies can be left exposed if an employee holding a DGSA certificate leaves the business. DGSA exams are costly and held every 3 months or so and there is an 8 week period after exams before a result is available. This leads to lengthy delays before another member of staff can be re-qualified and in position. For this reason, many companies appoint a consultant DGSA.

In addition to DGSA which comes under the ADR Regulations, we include IMDG (Sea) and ICAO/IATA (Air) advice as part of our DGSA consultancy service. Based on an island, it goes without saying we have to consider the other modes of transport in a dangerous goods journey!

There are a few instances where a DGSA is not required, (ironically, often a Dangerous Goods Safety Adviser is required to tell you you don’t necessarily need one!) Examples of these are:

-If you are involved in dangerous goods undertakings occasionally

-You’re only receiving dangerous goods and they are consumed on site (i.e the consignee with no re-loading)

- They’re in limited quantities (check with a DGSA)

- You’re moving them a very short distance e.g. between buildings on an industrial estate

- You’re using a private vehicle.