An insight into the Australian Dangerous Goods (ADG) Code

The code sets out the legal requirements for the safe transportation of dangerous goods by road and rail in Australia. It is based on global standards ratified by the United Nations. These standards are then adopted by national and state regulatory bodies. The code is updated every two years, with a twelve-month transitional period to ensure that the latest knowledge and safety techniques are applied.

Types of Dangerous Goods

Types of Dangerous Goods

Broadly speaking, if a material or substance poses a threat to the health and safety of humans, property or the environment if handled incorrectly, it will be classified as “dangerous goods”. There are 9 classes of dangerous goods:

  • Class 1: Explosives
  • Class 2: Gases
  • Class 3: Flammable liquids
  • Class 4: Flammable solids; substances liable to spontaneous combustion; substances which, on contact with water emit flammable gases
  • Class 5: Oxidising substances and organic peroxides
  • Class 6: Toxic and infectious substances
  • Class 7: Radioactive materials
  • Class 8: Corrosive substances
  • Class 9: Miscellaneous dangerous substances and articles

The Australian Dangerous Goods Code sets out the standards for the safe transport of all classes of goods, both individually and when combinations of different dangerous goods are present in the same load.

When do I need a Dangerous Goods Licence?

You will require a special class of licence to transport dangerous goods if you are transporting bulk quantities. If your load meets or exceeds the guidelines below you will need a Dangerous Goods Licence in conjunction with the class of licence required for the vehicle used.

  • In a receptacle with a capacity of more than 500 litres.
  • If there is more than 500kg in a single receptacle
  • For IBC’s (intermediate bulk carriers), where the total capacity of all IBCs is more than 3000 litres or where any IBC is filled or emptied while on the vehicle.

If your work requires you to carry loads smaller than those listed above, a dangerous goods licence is not required. You will still be responsible for the safe transport of these materials or substances, so it’s always advisable to check Material Safety Data Sheets to ensure safe loading and unloading, transport and segregation practises.

Are Hazardous Chemicals classed as Dangerous Goods?

For the purposes of the Dangerous Goods Code, Hazardous Chemicals (Hazchem) are given a separate classification as chemicals that are hazardous in the workplace. When they are used in the workplace, their use is governed by Workplace Health and Safety Standards (WHS). The Australian Dangerous Goods Code is the series of regulations relating to transportation as opposed to workplace use.

Working with Dangerous Goods at lower than licence requirement levels

While a licence is required for the bulk transport of Dangerous Goods ,the same standards and safety procedures from the code will apply when transporting amounts smaller than those that require a licence. Participation in Dangerous Goods Awareness Training will help ensure that you are compliant with the code and adopting the safest practise benchmarks for the handling and transportation of Dangerous Goods.

Dangerous Goods Licence Application RequirementsTypes of Dangerous Goods

Dangerous Goods Licence Application Requirements

Dangerous Goods Licences in New South Wales are issued by the NSW Environment Protection Authority. Apart from completing a Dangerous Goods Licence Course, you will need to complete an application form, provide a stamped driving record obtained from an RMS office (online copies are not eligible), pass a medical fitness examination from a GP and pay an application fee to the EPA. More details can be found here.

Get your qualifications

CS Transport Training regularly conducts both Dangerous Goods Awareness and Dangerous Goods Licence courses, along with a variety of other driving and workplace safety courses. To discuss your training needs call 0434 366 758, email or use the enquiry form here.

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