Dangerous goods: NSW overview

The EPA regulates the transport of dangerous goods in NSW. Dangerous goods are substances and objects that pose acute risks to people, property and the environment due to their chemical or physical characteristics.

All licence holders are listed in the dangerous goods public register. See the public register terms of use.

You must also follow certain procedures to ensure the goods are transported safely. There are penalties for not following these legal requirements.

Identifying dangerous goods

To determine if a product is a dangerous good, you can

  • check its label
  • check its shipping or transport documents
  • check the product's safety data sheet (previously called the materials safety data sheet)
  • check with the manufacturer or supplier of the product
  • check if the product is listed in the dangerous goods list in the ADG Code and is not excluded by a special provision detailed in column 7 of that list
  • have the products tested to the classification criteria of the ADG Code or UN Manual

Dangerous goods transport regulation

The EPA regulates the transport of dangerous goods by road and in conjunction with the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator, by rail.

The EPA carries out regular audits of dangerous goods transport to ensure compliance with legislative requirements.

SafeWork NSW regulates activities prior to transport, including correct classification, packaging and labelling.

In NSW, dangerous goods transport is administered under the

This legislation controls the transport of all dangerous goods except

Dangerous goods are classified under the Australian Dangerous Goods Code (ADG Code) and the United Nations Manual of Tests and Criteria (UN Manual).

Amendments to the regulation: 2020

On 9 October 2020, the Dangerous Goods (Road and Rail Transport) Amendment (Model Law) Regulation 2020, was gazetted. It amends the Dangerous Goods (Road and Rail Transport) Regulation 2014, to reflect this new edition 7.7 of the ADG Code and model law, ensuring that they are implemented in NSW.

The main changes to the regulation are to:

  • ensure the exemption from packaging requirements is correctly applied to dangerous goods packed in excepted quantities
  • provide for increased placard load limits and reduced documentation requirements for limited quantities and domestic consumable dangerous goods
  • clarify the obligations in relation to the transport of nominally empty storage vessels
  • prohibit a prime contractor from directing or inducing a driver to contravene Part 13 of the Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road and Rail
  • prescribe new penalties and penalty notice amounts

There are also minor changes to:

  • require one photograph for applications for dangerous goods driver licences and renewals of such licences
  • clarify the meaning of “an offence” when considering driver licence renewal applications, so it is consistent with applications for dangerous goods driver licences.

The existing edition 7.6 of the ADG Code remains in use until 30 September 2021, allowing businesses to continue to operate under the existing framework while transitioning to the new 7.7 edition of the ADG Code. 

 

The Road and Rail Transport Checklist for Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitiser (PDF 897KB) is a guide to assist people who pack, consign, load or transport alcohol-based hand sanitisers. Alcohol-based hand sanitisers are classified as dangerous goods.  If you have additional questions regarding the transport of hand sanitiser or have any questions about the Checklist email hazardous.materials@epa.nsw.gov.au

The National Code of Practice for Chemicals of Security Concern contains practical tips for industry, including transporters, to assess and reduce their chemical security risks.

Dangerous goods sold online from e-commerce websites such as eBay and Gumtree must comply with the relevant legislation and the ADG Code. Very small amounts of dangerous goods in individual consignments are exempt, in accordance with Clause 6 (2) (a) of the Dangerous Goods (Road and Rail Transport) Regulation 2014 and table 1.1.1.2 of the ADG Code (Edition 7.5). 

The seller is responsible for ensuring dangerous goods are transported lawfully. Sellers consigning dangerous goods must ensure the goods are classified correctly.

  • Ensure the goods are packaged correctly for transport.
  • Ensure the goods are labelled correctly.
  • Provide a dangerous goods transport document to the transporter.

Online sellers of dangerous goods must engage a courier/transport company that transports dangerous goods in accordance with the ADG Code, Australia Post prohibits the transport of articles or substances classified as dangerous goods.

Other jurisdictions and agencies administering legislation for transporting dangerous goods

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