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.
In May 2015 the HSE successfully prosecuted two UK companies £20,000 each for their roles in an incident which was deemed an ‘immediate risk’ to public safety. Further details here.
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 126.96.36.199 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.