Transporting Dangerous Goods

Rules for safely transporting dangerous goods are set out in Land Transport Rule: Dangerous Goods 2005. This rule can into effect from 27 June 2005.
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Who the Rule applies to

The Rule applies to all people who transport dangerous goods, but how it affects you will depend on:
  • the type of dangerous goods
  • how much you are transporting
  • Whether you are transporting the dangerous goods in a transport service, as tools-of-trade or for your own domestic or recreational purpose.

What are dangerous goods?

If goods are transported through land, dangerous goods would be substances that have explosive, flammable, toxic, infectious or corrosive properties; and containers that have held dangerous goods. Some commonly available items, such as fireworks, petrol, swimming pool chemicals, LPG, compressed air cylinders and solvent-based paints, are classified as dangerous goods.

How do I recognize dangerous goods?

If certain packages have dangerous goods, it must be marked in such a manner that any person whether educated or uneducated could identify that the package contains hazardous properties. This warns everyone who handles or transports the goods, or who finds the goods in an emergency situation.

A package

For transport, dangerous goods are identified with a United Nations number, a "proper shipping name" and a diamond-shaped class warning label. Dangerous goods packaged for retail sale don't always have the diamond label on the package, but are marked with warning information to identify the hazards they present.

How to transport dangerous goods safely?

The Dangerous Goods Rule details how you can transport dangerous goods safely and securely, depending on the nature and quantity of the dangerous goods.

What are my responsibilities?

Any people responsible for transporting dangerous goods have to comply with Dangerous Goods rule. Each person is allocated responsibilities based on their tasks. There are specific responsibilities for consignors (manufacturers, importers or distributors), loaders, drivers or operators of road or rail vehicles, and employers. Small quantities of dangerous goods If you carry dangerous goods for agricultural use or for a commercial purpose - but not for hire or direct reward - and the quantity is within the limits in schedule 1 of the Dangerous Goods Rule, then you are responsible for:
  • making sure the goods are properly packaged and identified
  • segregating incompatible dangerous goods
  • securing the load on your vehicle
  • carrying emergency response information
  • Ensuring safe handling practices and emergency procedures.
If you carry dangerous goods for domestic or recreational use, but not for hire or direct reward, and the quantity is within the limits in schedule 1 of the Dangerous Goods Rule, then you are responsible for:
  • making sure the goods are properly packaged and identified
  • segregating incompatible dangerous goods
  • Securing the load on your vehicle.
If you are a transport service operator, you have specific responsibilities when transporting dangerous goods in small quantities. Dangerous Goods in Limited Quantities and Consumer Commodities are dangerous goods of low or medium danger in small primary containers and packaged for transport in strong outer packagings. They can be transported with some relaxation of controls, as long as you are not carrying more than one tonne of these products. The requirements for this category of dangerous goods are set out in section 2 of the Rule.
Small Packages of dangerous goods in limited quantities or consumer commodities may be transported without a dangerous goods declaration, placards on the vehicle or drivers having a dangerous goods endorsement on their driver licence, as long as the total quantity does not exceed 50 kg.
Some explosives can also be transported under the small packages provisions. Refer to section 2 of the Rule for requirements for small packages.

Large quantities of dangerous goods

You must comply with all the requirements of the Dangerous Goods Rule if you carry dangerous goods as tools-of-trade, for agricultural use or for a commercial purpose, and the quantities are more than the limits in schedule 1.
These include requirements for packaging, identification, documentation, segregation, and placarding and driver licence endorsement.