Transport of hazardous materials – ADR

Transportation of hazardous materials due to a large number of standards and regulations is undoubtedly one of the most demanding types of road transport. In the article below, we explained what exactly ADR is and what it contains.

What is ADR transport?

The commonly used ADR name is an abbreviation of the French name for the international convention L ‘Accord européen relatif au transport international des marchandises Dangereuses par Route. It concerned the road transport of goods and dangerous goods and was originally made in 1957 in Geneva.

The ADR agreement is based on the same fundamentals as other contracts for the transport of dangerous goods: by sea (IMDG), by air (ICAO) and by rail (RID).

We must remember that the rules for the transport of dangerous goods are not only determined by ADR convention but also by acts of the local law of individual countries.

ADR transport agreement

In addition to the applicable contract, specifying the main resolutions, the contract also contains annexes A and B.

Annex A contains a detailed classification of all materials considered dangerous in the world (classified by the UN in the TN catalog), i.e., being harmful to people, the environment, and material goods. It also determines the conditions of their transport. Each of these materials is given a four-digit number (the so-called “UN number”), and the agreement divides them into 13 hazard classes:

  • Class 1 Explosive substances and articles
  • Class 2 Gases, including compressed, liquified, and dissolved under pressure gases and vapors
  • Flammable gases (e.g., butane, propane, acetylene)
  • Non-flammable and non-toxic, likely to cause asphyxiation (e.g., nitrogen, CO2) or oxidizers (e.g., oxygen)
  • Toxic (e.g., Chlorine, Phosgene)vit
  • Class 3 Flammable liquids
  • Class 4.1 Flammable solids, self-reactive substances, and solid desensitized explosives
  • Class 4.2 Substances liable to spontaneous combustion
  • Class 4.3 Substances which, in contact with water, emit flammable gases
  • Class 5.1 Oxidizing substances
  • Class 5.2 Organic peroxides
  • Class 6.1 Toxic substances
  • Class 6.2 Infectious substances
  • Class 7 Radioactive material
  • Class 8 Corrosive substances
  • Class 9 Miscellaneous dangerous substances and articles

Annex B defines requirements for the vehicle crew and other persons involved in the transport, construction, and equipment of vehicles transporting hazardous materials (including trailers, cisterns, containers, etc.). It also contains information on the documentation required for transport and the rules for transporting this type of material through tunnels.

ADR – exemplary requirements

The requirements included in the ADR vary significantly depending on the type and quantity of transported goods.

The vehicle transporting hazardous materials must be appropriately marked. Special warning stickers and boards in orange are used for this. In some cases, when the quantity of the product does not exceed the determined value, this rule does not apply.

The necessary equipment in which the driver must be equipped is the so-called “ADR box.” In any case, it must contain a wedge under the wheels and two standing warning signs, and in most cases, eyewash.

More information about ADR transport

Each crew member must be equipped with: portable lights, a warning vest, gloves, and safety glasses. For classes 2.3 and 6.1, an escape mask is also compulsory.

In the case of transport of materials from classes 3, 4.1, 4.3 and 8, the following are additionally obligatory: cover of manholes, a shovel and a box for collecting residues.

As you can see, the requirements and regulations included in ADR are quite complicated and depend on many factors. Therefore, the ADR agreement from 2003 obliges companies whose activity includes transport, but also filling, packing, loading, and unloading of dangerous goods, to designate an ADR advisor.

His most important duties include: tracking compliance with the requirements for the transport of hazardous goods, advising companies on the transport of hazardous goods and preparing an annual report on the company’s activities in the transport of dangerous goods for the management of this company or local authorities. 

ADR agreement also defines what the driver must fulfill requirements to transport hazardous materials. Drivers are required to have an ADR certificate, which can be purchased in progress of the appropriate course. Besides, the driver must be at least 21 years old.

What should you remember?

The ADR agreement is amended every two years in an odd year, so on January 1, 2019, its latest version entered into force. This version is obligatory from July 1, 2019.

The current version in force in 2019-2021 can be found at:

A very convenient and clear form of currently applicable ADR regulations for all TSL employees may be the ADR Tool 2019 Dangerous Goods application.

Of all types of road transport, the transport of hazardous materials is undoubtedly one of the most complicated ones. Thanks to agreements such as ADR, we can be sure that these materials will be transported properly, without endangering the health and life of unauthorized persons and the environment.

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