What are dangerous goods?

Today we are going to talk about dangerous goods, because we have all heard about them, but do we know exactly what they are? Dangerous goods are substances that present a danger to both health and the environment, so special care must be taken when transporting them.

How are dangerous goods classified?

The classification of dangerous goods is established by the United Nations Subcommittee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods. The classification is as follows:

Explosive materials

Class 1: Explosive substances

These are materials that release, due to a chemical reaction, gases at temperatures or speeds that can cause damage. (e.g. fireworks, bombs…)

Dangerous Goods - Toxic Gases

Class 2: Dissolved gases (under pressure)

These are gases which, at normal temperature, are in a gaseous state, but which, depending on their properties, can be classified as toxic, asphyxiating, flammable, etc. (e.g. helium, butane, etc.).

Flammable liquids

Class 3: Flammable liquids

Flammable or explosive liquids are insensitive liquids. (Ex: gasoline, turpentine, varnishes…).

Flammable solids

Class 4. Flammable solids

These are substances that can react spontaneously. Under normal conditions, they are flammable in transport. Great care must be taken when transporting them as they can cause fires due to friction. (e.g. sodium, potassium…)

Organic Peroxides

Class 5. Combustible substances

These are substances that promote combustion, i.e., they can cause fires and promote the development of these fires. (e.g. hydrogen peroxide, ammonium nitrate…)

Toxic materials

Class 6: Toxic materials

These are substances that in small quantities can be harmful to human beings and their health, even causing death. (e.g. methanol)

Radioactive Matter I

Class 7: Radioactive materials

These are materials with a concentration of radionuclides that are unstable (radioactive), i.e., they emit radiation as they disintegrate.

Corrosive materials

Class 8: Corrosive materials

These are substances that can damage the epithelial tissue of the skin, eyes and/or mucous membranes. They can harm people and goods, as they are toxic and harmful.

Miscellaneous hazardous materials

Class 9: Miscellaneous Hazardous Materials

These are substances that are not included in any of the above-mentioned classes. (e.g.: fine powders, lithium batteries…)

What is ADR for dangerous goods?

As previously mentioned in one of our posts, the ADR is a European Agreement on the Transport of Dangerous Goods that regulates the transport of dangerous goods.

This agreement regulates the documentation, transportation and packaging of these goods, including loading, unloading and storage. In order to protect the environment and people, the obligations and responsibilities that this agreement entails must be fulfilled.

  • Lists all dangerous goods that can be transported.
  • Indicates the type of containers and packaging to use
  • Indicates the signage that should be carried by dangerous goods loads and the corresponding vehicles.
  • Shows the documentation that is essential for the trip.
  • Specifies the type of training that people involved in this type of travel should have.

ADR vehicles

Vehicles engaged in the transport of this type of goods must be identified with an ADR certificate, as it certifies that they are authorized for this type of transport.

This very specific certificate obliges the vehicle to comply with a series of requirements such as having a fire extinguisher disconnecting device, armored electrical installation…

These types of vehicles must carry both on the rear of the vehicle and on the front of the vehicle a distinctive orange sign for identification purposes.

  • In the upper part, the type of raw material, i.e. the hazard being transported in the vehicle, is indicated.
  • At the bottom, the type of merchandise is indicated.

Dangerous goods truck license plate

What regulations govern the transport of dangerous goods?

The regulations governing the transport of dangerous goods by road in Spain are Royal Decree 97/2014, Royal Decree 230/1998 approves the Explosives Regulation and Royal Decree 989/2015 regulates the use of pyrotechnic articles and cartridges.

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