Your business may need to transport dangerous substances, such as chemical substances, by road or rail. You will need to manage the risk of spills during carriage, which could lead to fire, explosions or environmental damage.
Identify hazards when transporting dangerous goods
If you transport dangerous goods by road and rail, you must comply with certain legal requirements that are principally enforced by the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI).
There are different classes of dangerous goods including:
- corrosive substances
- explosive substances and articles
- flammable liquids
- flammable solids
- oxidising substances
- radioactive substances
- toxic substances
You have a responsibility to identify the hazards of the goods you intend to transport, and meet further requirements for packaging, labelling and documentation.
There are some exemptions from the full requirements for the transport of certain goods packed as limited quantities or limited loads. An example of a limited quantity could be the delivery of small dangerous goods such as non-toxic aerosol products of up to 1 litre in size and packed in shrink or stretch-wrapped trays up to a gross mass of 20 kilograms.
Move radioactive substances safely in transport
If you transport radioactive substances you may need to comply with transport requirements - find information about transporting class 7 dangerous goods.
If your business handles radioactive substances, you must comply with legal controls on keeping and using them, and storing and disposing of radioactive waste - see managing radioactive substances.
Transport hazardous chemicals and hazardous waste correctly
If you import chemical substances or preparations into the European Union, you may need to register them with the European Chemicals Agency - see registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals (REACH).
If your business produces hazardous waste, you must comply with legal obligations that control how you transport it - see moving and transferring hazardous waste.
Good practice when transporting dangerous goods
Ensure your drivers have adequate instruction and training to understand the hazards of the goods they are transporting and what to do in an emergency. If an incident occurs, you can call the NIEA Water Pollution Hotline on Tel 0800 80 70 60 to report an incident and ask for help and advice about what to do.
Ensure all your goods are transported in suitable containers and are labelled correctly. They should be contained securely to prevent damage or spills. Carry out routine inspection and maintenance of your containers.
If you transport oil or fuel in tankers you should not then use the tankers to store oil as they are not designed for oil storage - see fuel and oil use responsibilities for chemical manufacturers.
Avoid leaks or releases from valves and container doors, as these can be sources of spills, odour, dust or vapour emissions.
When carrying dangerous or polluting materials, avoid travelling through environmentally sensitive areas where possible.
Make sure that drivers responsible for carrying goods supervise the loading of their vehicles. Before any loading is carried out, the driver should check containers to ensure they are not leaking and that caps and lids are secure.
Make sure that your vehicles do not have any parts which stick out into the load-carrying area as these could damage containers or packages. The load-carrying area should have solid, impermeable surfaces free from pockets or seams. This will make it easier to clean.
Carry absorbent materials, impermeable sealable containers and other pollution control equipment (eg grab packs and spill kits) suitable for the type of substance you are transporting. Absorbent materials used to contain spills may require separate recycling or disposal as hazardous waste. Check before you recycle or dispose of them.