The EPA regulates the transport of dangerous goods in NSW. Dangerous goods listed and classified in the Australian Dangerous Goods Code, are substances and articles that can harm people, property and the environment. If you transport dangerous goods, you must comply with the Code and dangerous goods legislation.
How to Identify Dangerous Goods
To determine if a product is a dangerous good, you can;
- check its label
- check its shipping or transport documents
- check the product’s safety data sheet (previously called the materials safety data sheet)
- check with the manufacturer or supplier of the product
- check if the product is listed in the dangerous goods list in the ADG Code and is not excluded by a special provision detailed in column 7 of that list
- have the products tested to the classification criteria of the ADG Code or UN Manual
A licence is required when transporting dangerous goods in a receptacle with a capacity of more than 500L or weighs over 500kg. The exception is when intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) with a total capacity of up to 3000L are being transported, as long as they are not filled or emptied while on the vehicle.
In order to be eligible for a dangerous goods licence you must be; medically fit, have a satisfactory driving history, have completed the mandatory assessment and are the holder of a full driver’s licence. Once obtained these licences are valid for 5 years.
It is important that everyone involved in transporting dangerous goods understands their responsibilities to help prevent and/or reduce damage to people, property and the environment.
The Australian Dangerous Goods Code is updated every two years, with a one year transition period for each edition. Amendments to edition 7.6 of the code reflect the 20th edition of the United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and changes specific to the Australian environment.
Explosives are materials or items which have the ability to rapidly conflagrate or detonate as a consequence of chemical reaction. Explosives are capable by chemical reaction of producing gases at temperatures, pressures and speeds as to cause catastrophic damage through force and/or of producing otherwise hazardous amounts of heat, light, sound, gas or smoke.
- Blasting caps / detonators
- Explosive charges (blasting, demolition etc)
- Detonating cord
- Air bag inflators
Gases are defined by dangerous goods regulations as substances which have a vapour pressure of 300 kPa or greater at 50°c or which are completely gaseous at 20°c at standard atmospheric pressure, and items containing these substances. Gases are capable of posing serious hazards due to their flammability, potential as asphyxiants, ability to oxidize and/or their toxicity or corrosiveness to humans.
- Compressed air
- Fire extinguishers
- Insecticide gases
- Refrigerant gases
- Carbon dioxide
- Helium / helium compounds
- Natural gas
- Oil gas
- Petroleum gases
3. Flammable Liquids
Flammable liquids are defined by dangerous goods regulations as liquids, mixtures of liquids or liquids containing solids in solution or suspension which give off a flammable vapour (have a flash point) at temperatures of not more than 60-65°C. Flammable liquids are capable of posing serious hazards due to their volatility, combustibility and potential in causing or propagating severe conflagrations.
- Acetone / acetone oils
- Paints / lacquers / varnishes
- Perfumery products
- Gasoline / Petrol
- Diesel fuel
- Aviation fuel
- Liquid bio-fuels
- Coal tar / coal tar distillates
4. Flammable Solids
Flammable solids are materials which, under conditions encountered in transport, are readily combustible or may cause or contribute to fire through friction, self-reactive substances which are liable to undergo a strongly exothermic reaction or solid desensitised explosives.
- Alkali metals
- Metal powders
- Sodium batteries
- Calcium carbide
5. Oxidising Substances and Organic Peroxides
Oxidisers are defined by dangerous goods regulations as substances which may cause or contribute to combustion, generally by yielding oxygen as a result of a redox chemical reaction. Oxidisers, although not necessarily combustible in themselves, can yield oxygen and in so doing cause or contribute to the combustion of other materials. Organic peroxides are thermally unstable and may exude heat whilst undergoing exothermic autocatalytic decomposition.
- Chemical oxygen generators
- Ammonium nitrate fertilisers
6. Toxic and Infectious Substances
Toxic substances are those which are liable either to cause death or serious injury or to harm human health if swallowed, inhaled or by skin contact. Infectious substances are those which are known or can be reasonably expected to contain pathogens. Dangerous goods regulations define pathogens as microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, rickettsiae, parasites and fungi, or other agents which can cause disease in humans or animals. Toxic and infectious substances can pose significant risks to human and animal health upon contact.
- Medical/Biomedical waste
- Clinical waste
- Biological cultures / samples / specimens
- Medical cultures / samples / specimens
- Tear gas substances
- Motor fuel anti-knock mixture
- Carbamate pesticides
7. Radioactive Material
Dangerous goods regulations define radioactive material as any material containing radionuclides where both the activity concentration and the total activity exceeds certain pre-defined values. A radionuclide is an atom with an unstable nucleus and which consequently is subject to radioactive decay.
- Radioactive ores
- Medical isotopes
- Density gauges
- Mixed fission products
- Surface contaminated objects
8. Corrosive Substances
Corrosives are substances which by chemical action degrade or disintegrate other materials upon contact. Corrosives cause severe damage when in contact with living tissue or, in the case of leakage, damage or destroy surrounding materials.
- Acids/acid solutions
- Battery fluid
- Fuel cell cartridges
- Fire extinguisher charges
9. Miscellaneous Dangerous Substances and Articles
Miscellaneous dangerous goods are substances and articles which during transport present a danger or hazard not covered by other classes. This class encompasses, but is not limited to, environmentally hazardous substances, substances that are transported at elevated temperatures, miscellaneous articles and substances, genetically modified organisms and micro-organisms and (depending on the method of transport) magnetised materials and aviation regulated substances.
Dry ice / cardice / solid carbon dioxide
Expandable polymeric beads / polystyrene beads
Blue asbestos / crocidolite
- Lithium ion batteries
- Lithium metal batteries
- Battery powered equipment
- Internal combustion engines
- Magnetised material
- Dangerous goods in machinery
- Genetically modified organisms
- Genetically modified micro-organisms
- Chemical kits
- First aid kits
Each of these categories are further broken down into subdivisions which denote the specifics of the goods on board. This ensures that during storage and transportation it is clear not just what is being handled but the specific hazard they carry. The main categorical number illustrates the primary risk and the sub-category explains the subsidiary hazards involved.
At Coastal our licensed drivers frequently handle dangerous goods and materials, which means our vehicles often display signs depicting 2, 5.1, 6.1 or 9 for example.
These trucks have three emergency information panels on the back and on each side. If you are involved in a crash with a truck carrying a dangerous load:
- Call the Police or Fire & Rescue NSW on 000
- Avoid touching spilled chemicals or breathing the fumes or dust
- Warn people away from the accident.
- An Emergency Procedures Guide will be in a holder attached to the driver’s door. Follow these procedures if it is safe to do so.