How to Safely Transport Dangerous Goods

In Australia, the transportation of dangerous goods is a strictly monitored and highly regulated practice. Many hazardous substances are sold domestically and through small businesses, meaning that it’s up to businesses and transport companies to ensure these goods are transported safely and in line with Australian law.

If you or your business are responsible for the vehicle transport of these goods, it’s important that you’re following all the related guidelines. Some of the most commonly transported dangerous goods include:

  • Petrol and diesel
  • Chlorine
  • Liquified petroleum gas (cylinders for barbeques, camp oven canisters, outdoor heaters)
  • Aerosols (hairspray, deodorant, spray paint)
  • Industrial chemicals

Why it’s so important

Transporting dangerous goods comes with many risks for both the driver and those surrounding them. It’s for this reason that transport is so tightly regulated throughout Australia.

Some of the risks involved are:

  • Chemicals spilling and reacting to one another
  • Gas cylinders being overheated and venting
  • Liquids spilling and emitting dangerous fumes
  • Fires or explosions caused by incompatible goods being stored too closely

What you can do

In order to transport dangerous goods safely, there are several measures in place that must be followed. Here are the most important rules to remember when travelling with these substances.

Hire professional transportation services

Working with professional transport companies is a great way to make sure your goods are handled with the utmost care and respect for safety standards. These companies specialise in services like this and know exactly what to do when it comes to transporting hazardous materials.

It also saves the time and effort of having to train your staff and burden them with such a heavy responsibility. Whether you need to transport via freight services or by car, you can be sure that your goods will arrive at their destination safely and securely.

Proper documentation

Transport documents must always be carried when travelling with dangerous goods and must be presented to authorities or a WorkSafe officer if requested. Some of the things that must be documented include:

  • United Nations (UN) number
  • Proper shipping name
  • The quantify of each product being transported
  • Class or division of each of the goods
  • Packing group

Label with a dangerous goods diamond

Dangerous goods diamonds are used for both the storage and transportation of dangerous goods. All shipping containers, packages and containers must display these so that the goods can be easily identified and handled correctly.

The substances are placed into nine different categories, and some are then put into subdivisions. The diamond includes a picture and colour which represents their main danger, with flammable goods being given a red diamond with a flame on it.

Separate and ventilate

The most important thing you can do when travelling with dangerous goods is to separate and ventilate. If you do need to travel with various goods, segregate them using plastic drums or sealed containers.

Different types of goods are sorted into different divisions and classes, and there are various rules and regulations on how they should be handled. For example, solids that are dangerous when wet (division 4.3) should be kept separate from all liquids and solutions. On the other hand, flammable gases (division 2.1) should be separated from substances such as sulphur and organic peroxides.

Being responsible for transporting dangerous goods is a task that should never be taken lightly. Following the guidelines put in place by the Australian government and working with transportation professionals will ensure the continued safety of everyone involved and the protection of the goods.

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John Pobjoy

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