Segregation

When transporting dangerous goods, segregation rules help minimise the risk of incompatible substances reacting dangerously if they come into contact with each other due to a leak, spill or vehicle accident. Segregation is particularly important to prevent food from being contaminated.

The Australian Dangerous Goods Code (ADGCode) has considerable information about

  • segregation rules
  • the types of – and design tests for – segregation devices
  • how to use segregation devices.

Segregation rules generally apply whenever a placard load of dangerous goods is transported.

The following types of dangerous goods must not be transported with food or food packaging

  • division 2.3 (toxic gas)
  • class 6 (infectious substance)
  • class 8 (corrosive), or with a subsidiary risk of 6 or 8.

Incompatible substances may not be transported together in the same overpack, such as a shrink-wrapped pallet.

Segregation rules do not apply to

  • food or packaging carried in the cabin for the driver’s personal use
  • class 8 food ingredients intended for use in food manufacturing
  • dangerous goods in an overpack or on a vehicle when all the dangerous goods are 'limited quantities' items.

Consider both the primary hazard and the subsidiary risk (if any) of a substance when assessing whether it is compatible with any other substance.

Tables 9.1 and 9.2 of the ADG Code set out which classes and divisions, or which specific substances, are incompatible.

Several commercially available segregation charts also set out this information using tables and symbols.

There are many ways to segregate incompatible substances to allow them to be transported on the same vehicle.

However, certain goods must never be transported together on any vehicle. These are listed in table 9.3 of the ADG Code.

  • For combination vehicles (B-Double or road trains), goods can generally be segregated by loading them on separate trailers. Otherwise, a segregation device that complies with ADG Code 6.11 can be used to isolate incompatible goods, such as an overpacking drum segregation device (see ADG Code 6.11.2)
  • a type I segregation device; no approval is required (see ADG Code 6.11.3)
  • a type II segregation device; a specific design approval is required (see ADG Code 6.11.4) some other method of segregation, such as a fixed locker attached to a vehicle, which the EPA has approved under the Dangerous Goods (Road and Rail Transport) Regulation 2014.

Section 4.4.5 of the ADG Code sets out certain requirements for using a segregation device.

The only dangerous goods packages or unpackaged dangerous goods articles that can be stowed in the device are

  • approved sole or combination packages – packed, labelled and marked according to the ADG Code
  • unpackaged articles that are labelled and marked according to the code
  • dangerous goods packed and labelled as limited quantities.
  • Packages and articles must be stowed so they remain in position during transport.
  • The segregation device must be restrained so it remains in position.
  • All other goods must be stowed so they will not be affected by any leak from the segregation device.
  • Dangerous goods and incompatible goods must not be stowed above each other.
  • For road and rail transport, an overpacking drum must be labelled as for an overpack, that is, marked with the proper shipping name, the United Nations number and the dangerous goods label for each item contained in the drum (see ADG Code 5.1.2.1).
  • Type I and type II devices must be labelled on each vertical side that may be exposed during loading or transport, with labels at least 250 mm square.
  • Other methods of segregation must be marked according to the approval given.
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