Dangerous goods on the road: how to ensure your business is ADR compliant
- Understand what ADR is
- Know if ADR rules are relevant to their business and goods
- Work through a checklist to identify any compliance red flags in their current operations
- Start to formulate a strategy for safely transporting dangerous goods
ADR: from then to now
Dangerous goods and hazardous materials are now part of modern living. Petroleum oils and gases, aerosols, fertilizers, paints, biomedical waste, batteries, perfume, and more have all woven themselves into our day-to-day, and therefore need to be transported by road – both regionally and internationally.
To ensure the safety of the general public and workers, not to mention protecting the environment, it’s vital for dangerous goods to be moved safely. In 1957, the “European Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road” law (or “ADR” for short) was initiated under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, and it entered into force on 29 January 1968(1).
As supply chains have become increasingly complex and changeable, and considering the rise in public interest regarding compliance and transparency, the law is regularly amended to remain relevant. The most recent version came into circulation in January 2023, so it’s important to regularly check for updates to ensure your business is compliant.
Read on to discover what ADR is, and how it affects the way you transport your goods on the road.
What is ADR?
ADR is a set of guidelines and processes that businesses must follow when transporting dangerous goods by road. Remaining compliant with ADR drastically reduces the risk of accidents and injury if an incident occurs whilst your cargo is in transit. The repercussions of not following ADR are huge – not only is there a safety concern for your staff and the public (which in some extreme cases can result in loss of life), but non-compliance often leads to fines and/or criminal prosecution. Without stating the obvious, compliance breaches are incredibly bad for business.
Other than some excessively hazardous substances, dangerous goods may be carried internationally in road vehicles subject to compliance with the conditions laid down in ADR under Annex A (for the goods in question, in particular as regards their packaging and labeling) and the conditions under Annex B (regarding the construction, equipment, and operation of the vehicle carrying the goods in question)(2).
“Any business that transports dangerous materials in vehicles must be conscious of ADR compliance. Business owners that deal in hazardous materials have a duty of care to store and transport these materials safely.” - BseenBsafe, leading provider of safety equipment for the hazardous goods industry.
How to spot red flags and remain compliant
The experts at NYCE.LOGIC has collated a quick checklist* so that you can identify any red flags or gaps in your current ADR strategy.
This article is intended for general information and education purposes and is not a replacement for consulting the latest ADR guidance yourself (we encourage you to do so here).
- Do you use ADR-trained drivers?
- Do your drivers and crew carry photo identification and an up-to-date ADR license at all times?
- Are all current ADR licenses to date?
- Do you have a process in place to flag any ADR licenses that are close to expiry? (These must be renewed every 5 years)
- Are all relevant crew trained in handling, loading, and unloading dangerous materials safely?
Equipment and vehicle
- Does the vehicle have the correct safety equipment on board (such as fire extinguishers, warning signs, a wheel chock, eye rinsing liquid etc.)?
- Do all crew have appropriate safety gear, for example, a warning vest, protective gloves and eye protectors?
- Has the vehicle passed its annual check to certify that it is roadworthy?
Packaging, labeling and markings
- Are your goods packed safely to prevent any punctures, leaks, explosions or other accidents whilst in transit?
- Have you checked the requirements for both inner, intermediate and outer packaging related to your goods?
- Do you have appropriate labeling / markings on all goods and packaging?
- Does your vehicle also display the appropriate labeling / markings?
- Have you checked if your materials require any certificates issued by competent authorities?
- Are all markings clear, unobstructed and of an applicable standard?
- Do your documents include important information relevant for each dangerous substance, material or article (such as the UN number, the shipping name, packing group and hazard class)?
- Does your driver and crew understand the process to follow in case of an accident?
- Is there a print-out of emergency instructions stored in the vehicle?
- If transiting through different countries, are your documents available in all relevant languages?
If any of the tickboxes above remain empty, it could be a sign your business is vulnerable to costly mistakes and compliance breaches.
Luckily, a powerful WMS with a dedicated dangerous goods module can handle all of this complexity for you! NYCE.LOGIC’s Dangerous Goods Module drives operational efficiency by liberating teams from the lengthy manual admin often associated with transporting hazardous materials, enhancing security at every step of the supply chain by employing intuitive automation and monitoring, and offering a cost-efficient risk reduction solution.
"Ensuring the safe handling of dangerous goods is paramount in today's logistics landscape… Our new software module for dangerous goods addresses these struggles head-on, offering a comprehensive solution that streamlines processes, enhances transparency, and ensures adherence to strict safety standards." - Peter Johansson, Head of NYCE.LOGIC
Find out more: the cost of non-compliance
The ADR law was introduced to protect the environment and ensure the safety of your staff and the public. Compliance breaches are bad for business: they’re costly both financially and to brand reputation.
Now you understand the basics of ADR, it’s time to take a deep dive into the risks of non-compliance. Read what happens when dangerous goods management and transportation goes wrong, and what technology is available to help you counter it, in our latest eBook.
*Kindly note that we make no warranties of any kind regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information in this article and we are not liable for any damages resulting from or related to the information provided.