What are the most important pieces of Legislation governing the transport of Dangerous Goods/ Hazardous Goods?
The National Road Traffic Act, 93 of 1996 (NRTA) and the SANS specifications referred to in the NRT Regulations – reg 273A.
Up until around August 2000 the responsibility of the transportation and handling of Dangerous Goods was with the Department of Health under Hazardous Chemicals Regulation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and regulations as prescribed within the Hazardous Substance Act (15 of 1973). This system was difficult to police and enforce as the regulations were fragmented, encompassing several different legislations and included the Hazardous Substance Act, Explosive Act, Mining Act, Fire Brigade Services Act and the Farm Feeds Agricultural and Stock Remedies Act (36 of 1947).
The regulations had specific limitations and only affected substances transported by road tanker in quantities in excess of 500 litres. This responsibility has now been transferred to the Department of Transport and was implemented in stages between August 2000 and October 2001 and replaced by new legislation prescribed within the National Road Traffic (93 of 1996) and a wide selection of the South African National Standards (SANS) codes of practice (formerly known as SABS or South African Bureau of Standards).
South African National Standards (SANS)
The following SANS codes are applicable to Dangerous Goods:
- SANS 10228: Identifies and classifies each of the listed dangerous goods and substances and set out information including the United Nations Number, the correct shipping name, hazard class assigned and other information pertinent to the substance.
- SANS 10229: Contains information on acceptable packaging for dangerous goods and substances and include requirements for the testing of packaging and the correct marking and labelling of packages.
- SANS 10230: Includes statutory vehicle inspection requirements for all vehicles conveying dangerous goods. This code stipulates the safety aspects of both the vehicle and the goods containment area. Minimum inspection requirements by both in-house and outside agencies are listed.
- SANS 10231: This code of practice prescribed the operation rules and procedures for transporting Dangerous Goods and Hazardous Materials. It also includes the prescribed responsibilities of the owner/operator of the dangerous goods vehicle. It outlines the information required and who will have to supply information for the safe conveyance of dangerous goods. The requirements for the drafting and formulating of an operational agreement are also specified. This code also requires the owner/operator or vehicle to be registered as a dangerous goods carrier. It is also prescribed that the owner-operator has available adequate insurance cover for civil liability as well as pollution and environmental rehabilitation cover in the event of an incident.
- SANS 10232-1: 2007: This code includes details of new placarding requirements for vehicles transporting dangerous goods and the individual or substance exempt quantities and the compatibility requirements of mixed loads. Part 3 of this code contains information on the Emergency Response Guides to be used in case of an incident or accident.
What are the major requirements in terms of permits and licensing to transport Dangerous Goods?
The major requirements of the transportation of dangerous goods are, amongst others: duties of the operator, consignor, consignee and the driver; classification and certification of dangerous goods, training of drivers, relevant documents to be carried by the driver, dangerous good inspectors, powers and duties of traffic officers in respect of dangerous good regulation and dealing with incidents and crashes involving dangerous goods transportation.
Without getting into specialized dangerous goods that require special permits (Cyanide), all vehicles need to be certified to carry Dangerous Goods and this must be displayed on the Operator Card for each vehicle and trailer.
All drivers of these vehicles must be over the age of 25 and have a PrDP (D) which must be renewed every 2 years. [D classification]
The renewal of this permit is dependent on the presentation of a Dangerous Goods certificate (Renewable every year) issued by a DOT approved provider and a valid medical certificate (renewable every 2 years).
Instances vehicles require fire permits to be issued and displayed on the vehicle, but it varies from metropole to metropole.
Are there specific Categories of Hazards/Dangerous Goods?
- Dangerous Goods are classified in 9 classes listed in SANS 10228.
- Some of the categories are further subdivided based on their properties or risks that they present.
- Each category is clearly defined by different risk hazard diamonds for easy visual recognition and some products may also present more than one risk.
Classification of dangerous goods according to the type of dangerous materials or items present:
- Flammable Liquids
- Flammable Solids
- Oxidizing Substances
- Toxic & Infectious Substances
- Radioactive Material
- Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods