Guide To Transporting Hazardous Goods As A Haulage Operator


For any haulage operator transporting hazardous goods by road, there are certain transportation regulations they must comply with.  The regulations are in place to minimise and risk and damage to the driver and others. The UN Model Regulations have classified the various transportation methods and assigned dangerous substances a class that defines the level of danger they represent. 

The goods are then allocated a PG number according to the packing group and they are classified into PG, PG II, and PG III depending on the level of danger they represent. The classification and PG level will dictate how operators need to package the goods, label them and transport them.  

There are also separate regulations to the training and qualifications drivers of hazardous goods need to have.

Hazardous/Dangerous Goods

The transportation of dangerous goods is regulated by European agreements with parallel legislation enacted within the United Kingdom. 

The first step for any haulage operator is to ensure that the goods have the correct classification.  This ensures that everyone involved in the supply chain understands the risk and hazard and can manage it. 

Dangerous Goods Classification

Dangerous goods are classified into the following categories:

  1. Explosives
  2. Gases
  3. Flammable liquid
  4. Flammable solids
  5. Oxidisers and organic peroxides
  6. Toxic and infectious substances
  7. Radioactive material
  8. Corrosive substances
  9. Miscellaneous

The operator who is responsible for the shipping and transportation of the goods is also responsible for ensuring the packaging is appropriately marked and classified.

Legal Obligations When Transporting Hazardous Goods:

There are some key considerations and duties haulage operators need to be mindful of when transporting hazardous goods. 

These legal obligations include the following:

  • Drivers must have the appropriate and suitable training that focuses not only on driving the HGV but they also need to be trained on dealing with hazardous goods, and what to do if there is an accident or incident.
  • Packaging of the goods must be suitable and be able to withstand the pressures of transportation and handling
  • Loading and unloading procedures must be communicated clearly and followed correctly
  • The vehicle being used must be adequate and suitable for the transportation
  • Packaging of the goods must clearly label the products to alert others, including any emergency services so that they can take appropriate precautions if required
  • Where required, the vehicle must carry safety equipment which can include things like fire extinguishers
  • The operator should have a designated and qualified dangerous goods safety adviser who can advise on the safety requirements of transporting hazardous goods. This is a requirement of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
  • The driver and the wider team should be made aware of what to do in the event of an incident or accident.

It is important to note that when it comes to packaging, it must be constructed and designed to UN specification standards.  The packaging should also pass practical transport tests including being dropped, and subjected to pressure demands. 

Dangerous Goods Safety Adviser (DGSA)

The dangerous goods safety adviser will be required to obtain all the relevant qualifications to hold the post, and this includes obtaining a vocational training certificate and sitting an exam.

The Department for Transport approves the written exam.

The duties of the designated dangerous goods safety adviser include the following:

  • Advising the business on all issues relating to the transportation of the hazardous goods
  • Advising on and monitoring compliance with the regulations and rules relating to the transportation of the goods
  • Ensuring that an annual report is prepared and submitted to management, based on the transportation of the dangerous goods
  • Putting together reports and investigating incidents relating to the transportation activities where dangerous goods are involved
  • Advising the business of any potential risks and security issues relating to the transportation
  • Dealing with queries and comments from drivers relating to the hazardous goods
  • Ensuring that safety procedures are being followed and updated accordingly

Please note, if you transport small quantities of dangerous goods, or you only occasionally transport, load/ unload goods, then you may not need to appoint a dangerous goods safety adviser.

Documentation Required When Transporting Dangerous Goods

Under the ADR, the European Agreement relating to the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road, there are certain requirements that must be met during the international carriage by road of goods that are considered dangerous.

Operators must ensure that consignments are transported with the correct documentation showing:

  • Information relating to the load being transported
  • Confirmation as to how the load is packaged
  • The classification of the load substance
  • Written instructions for emergencies
  • Forms of identification of each vehicle crew member

The documentation should be completed by the consignor – that is the person or company from whom the goods have been received in order to be transported. 

There is a specific legal requirement relating to the marking and the labelling of the goods being transported.  Suppliers of the goods deemed to be dangerous goods are required to legally label their hazardous goods with warnings, safety advice, and hazard symbols.  The Health and Safety Executive has published a guide to help companies correctly label the hazardous goods.

 HGV Insurance

Heavy goods vehicles need comprehensive insurance to ensure the vehicle is protected alongside the driver and the goods carried by the vehicle. Depending on the business you work for, you may need a non-standard and bespoke insurance policy.

ISIS Insurance offers a wide variety of insurance options and quotes that cover everything a HGV might need when it comes to insurance, from skip lorries to refrigerated vehicles.