Dangerous goods experts like to set the statement that those responsible for transporting dangerous goods always have one foot in prison. Too risky is their task, while at the same time the safety requirements could hardly be more complex. Logistics service providers who take on this assignment must therefore overcome numerous challenges in their day-to-day business.
Safety first: In hardly any other area does this claim apply as much as in the transport of hazardous goods. And rightly so. Because the extensive regulations that ensure adequate protection show how difficult this task is. Managing these transports is therefore particularly demanding. Among other things, they must be specially marked and comprehensively documented. They require careful preparation before the start of the journey, may only be conducted by specially trained employees and the companies involved must appoint a dangerous goods safety adviser. This is because, compared to standard transports, they are subject to significantly more and stricter regulations. The Accord Européen sur le transport des marchandises dangereuses par route, or ADR for short, applies to road transports. As a binding agreement throughout Europe, it regulates, among other things, the classification of goods, packaging of items, labelling of packages and documentation of transport steps. The regulations are intended to guarantee safe handling of the substances and to reduce the risks involved in handling the dangerous goods as much as possible. Their legally binding nature in Germany is regulated by the Dangerous Goods Transport Act (GGBefG) and the Ordinance on the National and International Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road, Rail, and Inland Waterways (GGVSEB).
What is dangerous goods?
The term dangerous goods refers to substances, objects, or mixtures which, during carriage, pose a risk to the health, safety or life of humans and animals or to the integrity of nature due to their chemical or physical properties. In this context, liquid, gaseous or solid substances are meant which are toxic, corrosive, oxidising or inflammable. Based on these properties, they are categorised in the following dangerous goods classes:
- X - Avoid contact with water at all costs
- Class 1 - Explosive substances
- Class 2 - gaseous substances
- Class 3 - flammable liquids
- Class 4 - flammable solids
- Class 5 - oxidising substances or organic peroxides
- Class 6 - toxic substances
- Class 7 - radioactive substances
- Class 8 - corrosive substances
- Class 9 - various dangerous substances
To be allowed to transport them, the driver must have a valid ADR licence in addition to his driving licence. Furthermore, according to dangerous goods regulations, specific requirements also apply to the vehicle, which are confirmed with the ADR approval. Additionally, first aid equipment, an ABC-qualified fire extinguisher with powder, a wheel chock, a hand lamp without a metallic surface as well as warning signs, and a flashing warning light are prescribed. Depending on the class of dangerous goods being transported, a broom, shovel, sewer cover and personal protective equipment with respiratory protection and eye protection may also be required. These points must accordingly be foreseen during each departure check. In addition, the driver must wear a high-visibility waistcoat outside the vehicle at all times.
Organisational requirements for the transport of dangerous goods
There are comprehensive labelling requirements for the safe transport of potentially dangerous cargoes. The vehicle needs a clearly visible orange warning plate on which the dangerous goods class and dangerous goods number are displayed, as well as the prescribed visual signs. Furthermore, the goods must be labelled with stickers and labels indicating their contents. In addition to these visual signs, stricter provisions also apply to the accompanying documents: For every transport, the driver must carry written instructions with measures to be taken in case of emergencies and accidents, issued in a language he or she speaks. Also mandatory are the ADR transport document, the safety data sheets of the transported hazardous substances and a CMR consignment note in which the dangerous goods points calculated from quantities and substance class are entered. The ADR dangerous goods declaration must contain the following information:
- UN numbers of the transported substances including the preceding letters
- Official designation of the dangerous goods
- Substance class
- Packing group
- Number and description of packages
- Quantity of dangerous goods
- Name and address of the consignor
- Name and address of the recipient
These documents must be issued in English or French and additionally in the language of the country of dispatch.
Demonstrate fulfilled inspection obligations and responsibilities
In view of the extensive regulations for the transport of dangerous goods, the documentation of the individual work steps plays a special role. In addition to the principal and the consignor, the respective responsible parties of the filler, carrier and unloader must also prove that they have fulfilled their responsibilities. Several checklists, signed accompanying documents and photos of the load securing, among other things, serve this purpose. If logistics service providers want to comply these obligations efficiently, the use of mobile apps is recommended. These can record and display all the required documents, instruct the drivers deployed, record a new process status, and transmit it in real time and, last but not least, transfer proof photos of the respective order directly into the digital file. The mobile software also automatically displays all documents in the user's language and can provide truck drivers with order-related information during their tour via an individual workflow. This includes information on the safe handling of the transported substances as well as descriptions of the addressed loading points and special local conditions.
Mobile apps make the transport of dangerous goods safer and more efficient
Even more than other logistics tasks, the transport of dangerous goods places high demands on the precise execution of separate work steps. Regulatory requirements should ensure high process quality. They are optimally supported by mobile apps that can play out relevant information step by step in a targeted manner. These also manage the necessary documentation particularly efficiently. With the completion of each individual task, they record a new status, which they store and archive in an audit-proof manner. In addition, they save photos of a completed load securing directly in the respective order. In this way, the mobile solutions not only improve the security of the processes, but they also accelerate order control and documentation.