If you’re involved in the transportation of dangerous goods, you may be wondering whether it’s necessary to hire a Dangerous Goods Safety Adviser (DGSA). Understanding the benefits of having a DGSA, their responsibilities, and when they are required can help you make an informed decision that ensures the safety of people, property, and the environment.
A DGSA plays a crucial role in preventing risks associated with the carriage of dangerous goods. Their core responsibilities include monitoring compliance with regulations, providing advice to undertakings, investigating accidents or infringements, overseeing training and advice for staff, and reporting incidents and accidents to the appropriate authorities.
It’s important to note that DGSAs primarily focus on road, rail, and inland waterway transportation and are not responsible for procedures related to the carriage of dangerous goods by sea or air.
Undertakings that regularly consign, transport, pack, fill, load, or unload dangerous goods must appoint a DGSA. However, the decision of whether to train an existing staff member as a DGSA or hire a third-party DGSA rests with the employer. It’s essential to ensure that the DGSA has sufficient time and resources to fulfil their duties effectively.
In some cases, undertakings with multiple sites or complex operations may require more than one DGSA.To meet regulatory requirements, a DGSA is responsible for preparing an annual audit report. This report should include details such as compliance procedures for identifying dangerous goods, the modes of transport used, equipment checks, training records, emergency procedures, accident/incident investigation and reporting, preventive measures, considerations for subcontractors or third parties, operation procedures for employees, risk management, verification procedures for transport vehicles, compliance with packing/loading/unloading requirements, and security plans.
It’s crucial to maintain all relevant records for at least five years, as national authorities may request access to them if necessary. In Great Britain and Northern Ireland, certain exemptions exist for appointing a DGSA, depending on the frequency and quantity of dangerous goods handled by an undertaking. However, it’s important to assess your specific situation and consult the applicable regulations to determine whether you qualify for such exemptions.
DGSAs must pass written examinations to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise. Once they pass the examination, they receive a DGSA certificate that specifies the mode of transport and classes of dangerous goods they are qualified to monitor and advise on. This certificate remains valid for five years. The examination and certification process follows a DfT-approved regime that applies throughout the UK, and DGSA certificates are recognized internationally by countries that are signatories to RID ADR or the international carriage of dangerous goods by inland navigation.
By having a DGSA on board, you can ensure that your dangerous goods transportation operations comply with regulations and prioritize safety. Whether you choose to train a staff member or hire a third-party DGSA, their expertise will help protect your employees, assets, and the environment. So, take the necessary steps to secure the services of a DGSA and ensure the safe transportation of dangerous goods.