Stowage

Stowage rules ensure that dangerous goods are safely transported.

You must always follow stowage rules when you transport a placard load of dangerous goods.

Dangerous goods must only be loaded in a transport unit (portable tank, bulk container, freight container or vehicle) that is strong enough to carry them safely.

Before loading, inspect the interior and exterior of the transport unit to ensure there is no damage that could affect its integrity or the safety of packages loaded in it.

Packages must be stowed and restrained as outlined in the appropriate load restraint guide.

You must ensure specific loading instructions are met. These may include

  • orientation arrows
  • 'not to be double stacked'
  • 'keep dry'
  • temperature control requirements
  • loading liquid dangerous goods below dry dangerous goods whenever possible
  • ensuring packaging and intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) fitted with a vented closure are stowed and restrained with the closure uppermost.

Dangerous goods that could produce flammable, toxic or other harmful atmospheres must be stowed so no harmful atmosphere will accumulate in the vehicle cabin if there is a leakage.

Packages that appear to be leaking or damaged, potentially allowing the contents to escape, must not be accepted for transport.

When unpackaged dangerous articles or packaged dangerous goods are transported in vehicles and freight containers that are open or have non-rigid sides

  • the items must be stowed and restrained within rigid sides or gates
  • they may not protrude above the sides or gates by more than 30% of their height
  • no parts of an article or package may protrude horizontally beyond the sides or gates.

Rear gates are not required if

  • the dangerous goods are loaded towards the front of the vehicle, or
  • other goods are stowed and restrained at the rear (according to the load restraint guide) to prevent the dangerous goods falling from the vehicle.

Note: a curtain-sided container or vehicle is not regarded as a closed unit and must be fitted with gates unless it has been given a specific exemption from this requirement.


The requirement for rigid sides or gates does not apply to the following containers as long as they are restrained on a transport unit according to the load restraint guide

  • IBCs
  • large packaging
  • segregation devices
  • pressure drums
  • multiple element gas containers.

The following requirements apply to class 2 dangerous goods secured in gas industry cylinder pallets (stillages)

  • the cylinders must be secured within the frame of the stillage by a lashing system that meets the load restraint guide
  • no more than 45% of the height of the cylinders may protrude above the stillage rail
  • the stillages must be stowed and restrained according to the load restraint guide.

The following special provisions apply to any quantity of dangerous goods transported

  • class 2 gases must not be stowed near a heat source
  • liquefied gases in a cylinder with a pressure relief device must be transported upright so the pressure relief device is in the vapour space
  • when transporting cylinders, the main valve must be closed and any regulator removed before loading
  • self-reactive substances and organic peroxides must be protected from direct sunlight and heat, and be placed in adequately ventilated areas
  • dangerous goods of division 4.3, or with a subsidiary risk of 4.3, must be kept dry


Special provisions also apply to placard loads of dangerous goods, other than aerosols and gas cartridges

  • of division 2.1 or 2.3
  • with a subsidiary risk of 2.1
  • of liquefied oxygen

These goods must not be transported unless the transport unit or compartment in which they are loaded is ventilated to prevent vapours building up.

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