ADR Guidance

ADR and Dangerous Goods

Dangerous goods are liquid or solid substances and articles containing them, that have been tested and are found to be potentially dangerous (hazardous) when carried. Dangerous goods are assigned to different Classes depending on their hazard.

The aim of regulations dealing with the carriage of dangerous goods is to protect both the carriers of the goods, the emergency services and the wider general public. Regulations place duties upon everyone involved in the carriage of dangerous goods, to ensure that they know what they have to do to minimise risks.

Vehicles and Drivers

All containers, tanks and vehicles must be suitable for the journey to be undertaken and the hazardous properties of the goods to be carried.

Vehicle tanks and tank containers must:

  • Be of certified design confirming with construction and equipment requirements;
  • Be suitable for the purpose;
  • Have been examined and tested and been issued a signed certificate to this effect by the competent authority.

Drivers must not:

  • Carry passengers on vehicles carrying dangerous goods;
  • Open any packages containing dangerous goods unless authorised to do so;
  • Carry matches (or lights) on vehicles carrying explosives, inflammable liquids or flammable gases.

Equipment required on an ADR vehicle

Every vehicle transporting dangerous goods subject to the Regulations should be equipped with the following items:

1. Wheel chock;

2. Two self standing warning signs;

3. Suitable warning vest for each member of crew;

4. Pocket lamp for each member of crew;

5. Pair of protective gloves for each member of crew;

6. Eye protection for each member of crew;

7. Fire extinguishers;

8. Respiratory protect device.

ADR Driver Training

ADR Driver Training can include many different modules depending on the class of goods to be carried and what the goods are contained in. To begin with though, a driver would require a basic course followed by their required hazard class, and also knowledge of what the goods are carried in.

Transport Document

Vehicles carrying dangerous goods should have a Transport Document which give the details of the goods carried and a set of instructions, in writing, setting, out the basic hazard details, and giving some guidance as to what to do in an emergency and the equipment carried.

Dangerous Goods Safety Advisers (DGSA)

Every Operator involved in the carriage, package, loading, filling or unloading of dangerous goods by road requires a DGSA.

To become a DGSA a person needs to have passed the necessary examinations to gain DGSA VTC. These qualifications are valid for 5 years from the date of issue and candidates are required to retake and pass the full DGSA examination to extend their qualification for a further five years.

ADR exemptions

The main exemptions are:

1. Private use of vehicles. There are now limits on the total quantity that may be carried under this exemption.

2. Carriage of machinery which happens to contain dangerous goods.

3. Carriage that is “ancillary” to main activity.

4. Carriage by, or under, the supervision of the emergency services.

5. Emergency transport intended to save life or protect the environment.

6. Uncleaned empty static storage vessels that have contained certain gases, class 3 (flammable liquids – PG II and III only) or class 9 (miscellaneous).

7. Some carriage of gases.

8. Some carriage of liquid fuels

9. Some empty uncleaned packaging .

Limited quantity (LQ) exemptions (ADR 3.4)

LQ refers to small receptacles which are packed in boxes or on shrink-wrapped trays.

Excepted Quantity Exemptions (ADR 3.5)

The packages must be marked with the “EQ Symbol” and documents (where carried) must state “dangerous goods in excepted quantities” and indicate the number of packages.

Small Load Exemptions (ADR

Small load exemptions relate to the total quantity of dangerous goods carried in packages by the vehicle/trailer.

This exemption does not apply to tankers or bulk carriage.

If a vehicle is carrying under the small load threshold, many of the requirements of ADR are not applicable. However, in most cases the remaining obligations are still present:

  • General training for driver and a record of this training
  • Carry one 2 kg dry powder fire extinguisher or equivalent
  • Stow the dangerous goods properly

Exemptions arising from the Dangerous Goods Directive

Regulation 16 provides that the main parts of the regulations do not apply where carriage is “not undertaken by a vehicle”. This links to the directive’s definition of vehicle and the practical outcome is that the regulations do not apply to:

  • Vehicles with fewer than 4 wheels
  • Vehicles with a maximum design speed of 25 km/hour or less
  • Vehicles that run on rails
  • Mobile machinery
  • Agricultural or forestry tractors that do not travel at a speed exceeding 40 km/h when transporting dangerous goods; or any trailer being towed by such a vehicle.

Movements within premises

Movement wholly within an enclosed area is exempt from the main parts of the regulations.


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