Rules on driver training, transport of dangerous substances

New regulations on the training of drivers of vehicles carrying dangerous goods by road begin to take effect on 1 July.1 Amendments to the existing regulations on the carriage of dangerous substances in road tankers and packages also came into force on 1 June.2

The driver training regulations implement a 1989 EC Directive. The main new requirement in the UK is for drivers to hold a training certificate, obtained by attending an approved training course and passing an approved examination. The certificates will be valid for five years, when they will have to be renewed by refresher training and re-examination.

The requirement will apply from 1 July to drivers of road tankers with a capacity of over 3,000 litres or a maximum weight of over 3.5 tonnes, and to drivers of all vehicles carrying tank containers or explosives. It will apply to drivers of vehicles of more than 3.5 tonnes which carry dangerous goods in packages as from 1 January 1995.

Transitional arrangements have been made for drivers who have either attended a suitable training course in the last five years or who can provide proof of five years practical experience in specified areas. They will be able to obtain interim certificates valid until the end of 1994. Guidance on the regulations is expected shortly from the Health and Safety Executive.

Meanwhile, two sets of regulations amending the rules on the carriage of dangerous substances by road came into force on 1 June. One introduces a requirement for hazard warning panels on the ends as well as the sides of tank containers, among other smaller changes to the rules on tankers and tank containers.

The scope of the legislation on packaged goods has been extended to substances at the lowest level of risk for carriage, known as "packing group III" substances, which are now classified as dangerous for carriage for the first time. Like packing group II substances, these will fall under the regulations if carried in receptacles of 200 litres or more.

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