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Dangerous Goods

Certain substances or articles are assigned as dangerous goods because their properties mean that during transport they present a hazard to the life or health of people, animals, objects or the environment. The safe movement of such goods is assured by Austrian laws and above all by comprehensive international agreements. These cover the classification, packaging, labelling and documenting of dangerous goods, training and conduct of the personnel involved and standards for vehicle construction and equipment. They also specify dangerous goods which may not be transported at all.

The principal international rules are:

  • European Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) – applies to many European and neighbouring states;
  • Regulations Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Rail (RID);
  • European Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Inland Waterways (ADN);
  • International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code);
  • Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air (ICAO-TI) – issued by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). These are applied by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in conjunction with the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (IATA-DGR).

Under the terms of Austria's Carriage of Dangerous Goods Act (GGBG) they also apply to movements purely within Austria's borders.

Dangerous goods are classified in the following categories:
Class Materials
Class 1 Explosive substances and articles
Class 2 Gases
Class 3 Flammable liquids
Class 4.1 Flammable solids, self-reactive substances and solid desensitized explosives
Class 4.2 Substances liable to spontaneous combustion
Class 4.3 Substances which, in contact with water, emit flammable gases
Class 5.1 Oxidizing substances
Class 5.2 Organic peroxides
Class 6.1 Toxic substances
Class 6.2 Infectious substances
Class 7 Radioactive material
Class 8 Corrosive substances
Class 9 Miscellaneous dangerous substances and articles

UN Number

When goods are classified as dangerous they are given a four-digit UN number (gasoline, for example, is "UN 1203"). This identifies the substance or article on the packaging materials, in the transport document and to some extent on the orange dangerous goods placards affixed to vehicles and containers.

Hazard labels and placards

Hazard labels are diamond-shaped and of different colours depending on the class. A hazard symbol and underneath it the numeric code indicate the class of the dangerous goods concerned. The individual designs and their significance are reproduced in the printed instructions. Appropriate hazard labels must be affixed to packaging materials, whilst placards are used primarily on containers, road tankers and goods wagons. For limited quantities of certain substances, the packaging can carry a diamond-shaped label marked simply with the UN number or with "LQ", instead of a hazard label.

Hazard marking (orange plates)

Rectangular orange plates affixed to the front and rear of road vehicles indicate that they are carrying dangerous goods. On these plates, or on additional side-mounted plates, are two numeric codes placed one above the other. The "Kemler" code at the top is the hazard identification number, and the number underneath is the substance's UN number. These references are of especial importance to the fire and rescue services. Anyone reporting an accident should thus say that the vehicle involved is transporting dangerous goods and – if possible – give the UN numbers marked on it.

Printed instructions for accidents and emergencies

Road haulage drivers must usually carry with them printed instructions on what to do in the event of an incident. They refer here to the hazard markings on their loads and vehicles. At the bottom of this page there is a link where you can download these instructions from the website of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

Private carriage of dangerous goods

The rules on the carriage of dangerous goods do not apply where goods are moved by private individuals. Such goods must be

  • carried in retail trade packaging, and
  • be intended for personal or home use or for leisure and sporting purposes.

Measures must also be taken to ensure that the contents do not escape from their packaging during normal transport conditions.

Where flammable liquids are placed in refillable containers (for example, buying petrol for the lawn mower at the garage), the quantities carried may not exceed 60 litres per container and 240 litres per transport unit (drawing vehicle plus trailer).

approved date: 18.11.2011