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Dangerous Goods – Risky Business

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The Dangerous Substances (Dangerous Goods Transport) Variation Regulations 2016, due to commence on 11 November 2016:

broadens regulations relating to placarding;
clarifies the interaction of certain regulations with Australian Road Rules; and
clarifies the ability of Safework SA to recommend determinations, approvals and exemptions granted by corresponding authorities be given effect in all participating jurisdictions.

 

Background

The transport of dangerous goods by land in South Australia is currently regulated by the:

  • Dangerous Substances Act 1979 (SA);
  • Dangerous Substances (Dangerous Goods Transport) Regulations 2008 (SA); and
  • Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road and Rail (‘ADG’).

However, the South Australian Government has sought to make amendments to this framework through the introduction of the Dangerous Substances (Dangerous Goods Transport) Variation Regulations 2016 (‘Regulations’).

The Regulations create new offences and impose new penalties in relation to:

  • False and misleading placarding of Dangerous Goods; and
  • The transfer of goods by bulk transferors.

Further, the new Regulations also clarify overlapping legislative regimes that deal with:

  • immobilised and stopped vehicles carrying dangerous goods; and
  • the ability of Safework SA to recommend to the national Competent Authority Panel (CAP) that, determinations, approvals and exemptions granted by corresponding authorities be given effect in all participating jurisdictions.

 

Changes to Regulations – False and Misleading Placards

Consignors, loaders, prime contractors, rail operators and drivers who place false and misleading placards on dangerous goods that are not ‘placard loads’[1], will now face penalties of up to $20,000 for body corporates and $4,000 for individuals as well as expiation fees of either $4,000 for body corporates or $800 for individuals.

 

Changes to Regulations – Bulk transferors

Further, the incoming regulations also seek to capture persons engaged in the bulk transfer of goods to tanks who do not comply with ADG 10.3.1 (in relation to ullage) when transferring goods that are not dangerous goods to a vehicle that they know, or reasonably ought to know is either:

  • carrying dangerous goods in another tank or in another compartment; or
  • is likely to be carrying dangerous goods in another tank or compartment of the tank to be filled with the non-dangerous goods.

Non-compliance with these regulations will result in penalties of up to $2,000 as well as an expiation fee of $400.

These provisions, in essence, bring bulk transferors in line with existing regulations relating to Prime Contractors and Rail Operators[2] who transport non-dangerous and dangerous goods on the same vehicle.

 

Changes to Regulations – Immobilised and Stopped Vehicles – Driver obligations

The Regulations will also relax, to a certain extent, the requirement that drivers with immobilised vehicles carrying dangerous goods, follow the procedures set out in the ADG.

Drivers who have vehicles that are immobilised or stopped will, under the new regulations, be exempt from the need to alert other road users of the hazard posed in accordance with Part 13 of the ADG, so long as rules relating to warning triangles on the road pursuant to the Australian Road Rules are followed.

 

Changes to Regulations – Safework SA referral ability

The new provisions, very broadly, allow for granting authorities to refer a decision made to a national body (CAP) so that it attracts national application, by way of mutual recognition.

This process essentially removes the need to gain approval from multiple authorities through the submission of an application in each state in which the dangerous goods are transported. Instead, it allows for the granting body, or a corresponding body, to bring the matter up with CAP, which will then, upon approval be implemented in every Australian jurisdiction.

 

Further steps

These changes represent the need for companies that deal with the transport of Dangerous Substances by land, to implement clear processes and procedures in order to notify staff of their obligations.

We note that entities should also consider a broader review of their current policies and procedures in light of the need for compliance with ADG edition 7.4 by 1 January 2017 and the potential this may have on their existing policies and procedures.[3]

Finlaysons would be happy to assist entities in meeting their compliance requirements in relation to these new regulations or in relation to ADG edition 7.4 more generally should they require assistance going forward.
[1] means a load of dangerous goods that—

  • contains dangerous goods in a receptacle with a capacity of more than 500 litres; or
  • contains more than 500 kilograms of dangerous goods in a receptacle; or
  • contains an aggregate quantity of dangerous goods of 250 or more and those goods include—
    • dangerous goods of UN Division 2.1 that are not aerosols; or
    • dangerous goods of UN Division 2.3; or
    • dangerous goods of Packing Group I; or
  • contains dangerous goods of Category A of UN Division 6.2; or
  • contains an aggregate quantity of dangerous goods of UN Division 6.2 (other than Category A) of 10 or more; or
  • contains an aggregate quantity of dangerous goods of 1 000 or more, but does not include a retail distribution load.

[2] Regulation 115 Dangerous Substances (Dangerous Goods Transport) Regulations 2008.
[3] See:https://infrastructure.gov.au/transport/australia/dangerous/transport_dangerous_goods.aspx

 

This Alert is intended as an alert only. It does not purport to be comprehensive advice. Readers should seek professional advice before acting in relation to these matters.

 

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