Many Consignors and Operators appear to believe that compliance with the National Road Traffic Act 93/96 pertaining to the transportation of Dangerous Goods revolves around the transporting vehicle, the placarding, documentation and the driver qualification. This perception, of course, is totally false as for every visual aspect of compliance, there are numerous “hidden aspects’ of compliance which are most probably more important in terms of the compliance package. In this article, DG expert Keith McMurray highlights some of these. The point is, it’s not just what is visible that is important.
One of the myths encountered in compliance of the legislation is that the regulations only apply to heavy vehicles transporting Dangerous Goods in excess of 1 000 litres or kilograms.
When we consider the application of the legislation in Chapter VIII of the National Road Traffic Act 93/96 in Regulation 274, we confirm that the legislation (in summary) applies to all vehicles registered in the Republic, wherever they may be, and to all vehicles other than those registered in the Republic, whenever they are within the Republic, in or on which Dangerous Goods are transported.
Although the regulation does not apply in respect of Dangerous Goods which are transported in quantities which do not exceed the exempt quantities permitted, we need to understand that exempt quantities are based on the hazard and risk of the substance transported and vary between zero and 1000lts or kg.
In effect, the size of the vehicle transporting Dangerous Goods is irrelevant but the substance or goods transported and the amount transported measured against the allowed exempt quantity for the particular substance will determine whether compliance is required.
This principle applies to single loads of Dangerous Goods where exempt quantities are listed in SANS 10231. In the case of a mixed load (multiload), we need to calculate the exempt quantity for the combination of substances to establish compliance requirements. This calculation is set out in SANS 10231.
The definition listed in SANS 10231 indicates that a qualified person, in terms of the legislation, is defined as a person trained to perform a specific task, and nominated by the operator, the consignor or the consignee. Chapter VIII defines a qualified person as a person trained to perform any specific task, nominated by the operator, consignor or consignee under regulation 277.
The loading, transportation and unloading of Dangerous Goods encompasses many duties to be carried out by the Consignor, who offers Dangerous Goods for transport, the operator who transports the goods, and the consignee who receives the goods.
Regulation 277 (2) and 277(3) of the Act indicates that the operator, consignor or consignee, as the case may be, shall nominate a qualified person in the circumstances and with respect to the tasks pertaining to the transportation of Dangerous Goods, as determined in the standard specifications referred to in Regulation 273(A).
Qualified persons may be nominated for any purpose deemed necessary with relation to the transportation of Dangerous Goods. This in effect means that every task during the loading, transportation and unloading must be completed by a person specifically trained to perform that task.
Included in the amended SANS 10231 (May 2010) is a note which indicates that the supervision of the loading, transportation and offloading of Dangerous Goods should be in accordance with the relevant National Legislation with specific reference to the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993; Section 8 and Section 16.
A record of all appointees or assignees in terms of the above should be recorded and acceptance confirmed. This indicates that all training of qualified persons should be formalized and the trainees must acknowledge acceptance of the training.
SANS 10231-2010 – the amended standard covering operational rules and procedures – lists the following operational duties of the consignor who is tasked with ensuring that:
Goods are correctly classified in accordance with SANS 10228, and are packaged in accordance with SANS 10229-1 and SANS 10233;
Loading of the Dangerous Goods is carried out by a qualified person(s) trained in the relevant procedures;
The driver is provided with a signed Dangerous Goods Declaration, and the placards and transport emergency card(s), or the information with regard to the correct placards and transport emergency card(s) is supplied to the operator. (This means that placards and transport emergency cards can be provided by either the consignor or operator depending on the arrangement between the parties).
The consignor must generate the Dangerous Goods Declaration in triplicate in order to provide a copy for both the operator and the consignee. The consignor must retain a copy of the declaration for a minimum period of ninety days. In the case of an incident, the declaration must be retained for the duration of the investigation. The operator and consignee shall retain copies of the declaration for as long as deemed necessary by the relevant party.
Important to note that a consignor can be either the:
- Product Manufacturer who manufactures or produces the product;
- Product Owner who has legal ownership of the product at a particular time;
- Product Custodian who has control of the Dangerous Goods at a particular time, but does not necessarily own the goods;
- Party that contracts the operator , The person who enters into a contract for the transport of Dangerous Goods with the operator where goods are collected by the operator from one of the above consignors.
Where the consignor is not the manufacturer, the consignor can rely on information received for the verification of classification and packaging and this is reflected on the declaration.
In unpacking the relevant procedures for loading, the qualified person, in terms of the responsibility of the consignor, must ensure the following:
- The vehicle is correctly parked for loading and wheel chocks (as specified in SANS 1518) are in place for heavy vehicles with a GVM equal to or greater than 3 500 kg and are placed appropriately under the wheels on non-steering axles. Vehicle fire extinguishers (where required in terms of National Legislation) to be placed where not provided by the loading point.
- The engine of the vehicle is switched off, except where the engine is required to drive pumps or hydraulic units for the purposes of loading.
- The loading area is safe, with barricades, where applicable, and the necessary warning signs are clearly displayed and the requisite safety and first aid equipment in accordance with the transport emergency card(s) is provided; The loading operation is conducted in a safe manner and is not placed at risk by other activities in the vicinity
- The load is adequately secured in terms of SANS 10187 Part 8.
In addition, the qualified person shall ensure that the following safety precautions are adhered to:
- The goods to be loaded are correctly classified, packaged and labeled and the vehicle to be loaded is suitable for its current purpose and is clean and fit to load.
- If goods different from those previously transported by the vehicle are to be loaded and in the absence of a certificate of cleaning, or a gas-free certificate, the containment area is inspected by a competent person to ensure that it is fit to receive the goods without risk. The exempt quantity for single loads or mixed loads and compatibility of mixed load requirements are adhered to.
- The correct quantity is loaded and complies with the relevant National Legislation and the cargo is undamaged.
- The vehicle is not allowed to proceed on its journey without placards that reflect the correct information relevant to the goods, the driver has the correct transport emergency card(s) in his/her possession and the necessary Dangerous Goods Declaration(s) are made out for the load and supplied to the driver.
- The special Packaging, Bulk, Loading and Operational provisions listed in SANS 10231 are assessed and, where applicable to individual UN numbers and Packing Groups, are applied as part of compliance. Relevant provisions should be reflected as additional information on the Dangerous Goods Declaration when the goods or substances are transported.
In assessing the packaging requirements for Dangerous Goods, it is important to note that only UN certified packaging, new or reconditioned, with few exceptions, are allowed for the containment of classified substances. SANS 10228 indicates the suitability of packaging and intermediate bulk containers for specific goods and substances and the detail of the packaging information is included in SANS 10229 and SANS 10233.
Many packaging failures occur because of the practice of using packaging which is neither suitable for the contained substance, or does not match the packing group or relative density (SG) of the substance.
It is important to note that imported Dangerous Goods that arrive by air and that are packed in accordance with the ICAO Technical Instructions for the safe transport of Dangerous Goods by air or the IATA Dangerous Goods regulations, or that arrive by sea and are packed in accordance with the IMDG Code of the IMO, are acceptable for inland transport by road or rail, provided that marking for the UN number and shipping name are displayed in
English. This requirement, included by way of a note in the amended SANS 10231, is intended to assist with product identification in the case of an incident.
Turning to the operator (transporter) we also establish a number of “hidden aspects’ of compliance in that the operator is responsible for the following operational requirements:
- The operator must be registered as a Dangerous Goods operator with the relevant government department and ensure that a valid Dangerous Goods operator card is displayed on the vehicle used for the transport of Dangerous Goods. (Regulation 265/266).
- The operator must agree a basic route with the driver, incorporating any specific requirements of any local authority en route. The operator must inform the relevant emergency responders of the areas through which the vehicle will pass and provide them with full information regarding the product to be transported (when requested by the emergency services), the nature of its hazard and the intended route. This is only required at the start of the operation. The supply of the relevant safety data sheet should be acceptable.
- The operator must ensure that the driver of a heavy vehicle is in possession of a valid PrDP-D and has been trained on an annual basis by an accredited provider. Annual accredited training is also required by a light vehicle driver who transports Dangerous Goods in compliance with the legislation.
- The operator shall, on being informed of an incident involving one of his vehicles covered by this standard, ensure that the emergency services and the police have been informed. If any injury, fire, explosion or spillage has occurred, the operator must prepare an incident report in accordance with SANS 10231 and submit it to the relevant government department within 30 days of the incident. The operator must arrange for the necessary repair, or for a replacement vehicle. Any replacement vehicle and its driver must conform to the requirements of the relevant standard.
- Any transfer of the cargo, as the result of overloading or of an incident between the scheduled loading and off-loading points, must be treated as an incident that requires the emergency services to be notified. A qualified person is required to supervise the transfer of cargo.
- If a vehicle is involved in an incident in which there is the risk of damage to its cargo containment, the operator shall submit the vehicle for inspection in accordance with the requirements of SANS 1518, where applicable, and for compliance with SANS 10047, before putting the vehicle back into service for the transport of Dangerous Goods.
- The operator must ensure that safety equipment required by the driver in accordance with the transport emergency card is provided and that the driver is trained in the operation of such equipment.
Drivers of Dangerous Goods vehicles must be fit to drive. This is a stipulated requirement of SANS 10231. It has been documented that during driver wellness testing on the N3 corridor, of the 606 drivers tested (we can safely assume a large percentage were drivers of Dangerous Goods vehicles) the following important results are of concern
- Blood pressure – 7% referred
- Blood sugar – 7.3% referred
- Eye-test – 30% referred
Accident statistics for January to September 2010 indicated truck accidents at 397 of which 43% involved head to tail. This may highlight eyesight problems. Why is this relevant? Medicals required by drivers to facilitate the obtaining of the PrDP-D can be issued by any medical practitioner or occupational health practitioner. Given the high incident of medical problems reflected during the wellness testing, one is tempted to query the validity of the medicals.
Heavy Vehicle Design
Another “hidden aspect’ of compliance which requires attention is the design criteria for heavy vehicles, both packaged goods and bulk, in terms of SANS 1518. This standard has applied to bulk tankers since promulgation of the legislation in 2000 but became applicable to both packaged and bulk vehicles manufactured after March 2004. The standard was amended in 2008 and an updated standard should be published during 2011. Important to note is the present requirement of SANS 10231 which indicates as follows:
- The design and construction of the vehicle used for the transport of Dangerous Goods shall comply with the design requirements covered by the relevant standard(s) valid at the time of manufacture of the vehicle, or in terms of the relevant National Legislation.
In addition, all goods vehicles used for the transport of Dangerous Goods must undergo regular inspection in accordance with SANS 10231 to ensure their sound mechanical condition and ability to operate safely. This applies to all vehicles transporting Dangerous Goods, not only heavy vehicles.
Regular preventative maintenance must be built into the working schedule of the operator and must either be carried out at the operator’s depot by suitably qualified staff or be subcontracted to a competent workshop.
Detailed records must be kept of all maintenance and inspection work done on every vehicle. In complying with the inspection and maintenance requirements, it is important when outsourcing this function that the operator obtains confirmation of compliance from the service provider as the operator remains liable for any incident caused as a result of a lack of maintenance.
As indicated as a duty of the Qualified Person, cargo securement in terms of SANS 10187 Part 8 is a vital aspect of safety in containment and prevention of cargo falling from a vehicle. Extracts from the standard indicate that in the case of packaged Dangerous Goods, packages must be effectively restrained to prevent horizontal or vertical movement by being:
- Properly stowed and secured within the rigid sides or gates and tailgate of the vehicle, so that the uppermost package layer does not protrude above the sides or tailgate by more than 30% of the height of the packages under that layer or properly stowed and secured in a closed vehicle or freight container.
- Unitized packages, unit loads and intermediate bulk containers must be restrained by secure tie-down methods appropriate to the weight and type of unit load transported.
- Intermediate Bulk Containers must be individually secured on the floor by chains, straps or clamps.
Stowage of Drums
- Drums of 200L to 250L capacity must be stowed so that the drums in the primary layer on the floor of the vehicle are standing vertically.
- Additional drums may be placed on the primary layer, provided that suitable dunnage is placed between the layers, with adequate load restraint lashing within the gate sides.
In conclusion, the above represents an important example of the “hidden aspects’ of compliance when transporting classified Dangerous Goods in excess of the exempt quantity. However, consignors and operators should note that many more exist and compliance with all applicable legislation is required , not just the visible.