Does Your Company Transport Dangerous Chemicals Across the UK? – Things You Should Know.

Posted by Paul
Need a courier or fulfillment company to package and transport dangerous chemicals across the UK. Helpful advice from Parcel Ex.

If you run a business that produces or handles dangerous chemicals, then there are things you need to know if you are planning on transporting them. This post will provide a good overview on what you should do and what questions you should be asking your courier / fulfilment service prior to delivering your dangerous chemicals across the UK and Ireland.

What are dangerous chemicals?

Well, it’s not all radioactive liquids, fresh from Homer Simpsons factory. Dangerous chemicals are listed as being:

“Any chemical which, if not handled properly, could harm you, the driver, recipient or the environment.”

You might be surprised therefore to learn that these items are classed as dangerous and legally require specialist provision to be transported.

  • Perfume.
  • Alcohol.
  • Flammable liquids such as lighter fluid.
  • Paints, lacquers and varnishes.
  • Toxic and infections substances.
  • Corrosive DIY products.
  • Fire extinguishers (Technically gasses).

The list, naturally will also include chemicals widely regarded as being dangerous, toxic, radioactive and need specific conditions for safe transportation (Just in case you were planning on carrying liquid nitrogen around in a bucket in the back of a van).

Can any courier service transport dangerous chemicals?

Absolutely not. In fact, most courier services do not offer this service as there is so much more that can go wrong and the result can be life threatening. There are legal requirements that need to be fulfilled and closely adhered to if a company were to take on the responsibility of handling your dangerous chemicals for transportation.

Are Specialist vehicles needed?

Yes. Any company that disputes this is certainly one you should stay away from. The company you hire should know how to package, store and transport your goods. Often that means placing them in a temperature-controlled environment, making sure they are secure and are not stored near any other item/s that could result in harm to the driver, recipient or the environment.

What can go wrong?

Like any other transport, things can and will sometimes go wrong. The transport could break down, for example or the internal mechanics that control temperature could fail meaning chemicals can quickly become volatile and cause serious harm to people and the environment.

You need to ask your courier service what safety measures are put in place to minimize and eradicate harm.

Parcel Ex, for example have an engineer on hand to fix problems very soon after they occur and if the problem cannot be corrected instantly, then there is a replacement on hand to take over delivery of your goods, making sure it still arrives on time and undamaged (Ok, a shameless plug but you need to make sure that whatever courier service you do employ has an effective ‘B Plan’ to guarantee the safe delivery of your goods).

You also need to know that your courier of choice is not just insured against accidental death or injury but also against loss of items or late delivery. A late delivery could mean the difference between retaining or losing a valuable client.

Licences you / your courier will need

There are regulations that a courier that a courier of dangerous goods and chemicals must legally adhere to.

IATA for air transport and ADR for road transport.

These regulations detail exactly how dangerous goods (Including chemicals) are packaged, labelled, stored, transported and delivered. It basically covers every stage of the delivery and is designed to radically reduce risk of harm to people and the environment.

If you want to read the act in depth then you can do so, here:

I’ve listed a few of the ‘fun facts’ below just in case you don’t have the time to read the entire act in your lunch break:

  • If a vehicle transporting dangerous goods breaks down, or is involved in an RTA then the police must be notified to ensure people are a safe distance away. It is your courier’s responsibility to do this.
  • Foodstuffs should not be carried with toxic substances (Class 6.1 and 6.2) or with a limited range of Class 9 substances.
  • Private individuals can carry petrol up to 1 litre. The 5 litre containers that car accessory shops sell may not however be legal. They must be UN approved and carry the diamond flammable sticker.
  • Medicines and pharmaceutical products are not exempt from the act. They are regarded as dangerous chemicals. Some medicines are flammable (So don’t store on your fireplace or take your medicine in an active volcano).
  • Couriers that transport waste batteries must have a valid ADR certificate. Batteries leak a highly corrosive acid, so unless you are Sigourney Weaver in Alien Resurrection then this is obviously dangerous.

 Correct packaging

Packaging requirements can be found at part 4 of ADR. I won’t add them in this blog (As there is no general ‘one size fits all’ solution), rather recommend that if you want to know how this relates to your goods then click on the link above. The requirements regarding packaging and labelling are very regimental and it very much depends upon what you are transporting.

If you are using a fulfilment company, you may want to check that they are fully compliant with current laws and regulations when it comes to the packaging, labelling, storing and transportation of dangerous chemicals across the UK.

Correct labels

Legally your dangerous chemicals must have the correct label for obvious reasons. If something is explosive, flammable, radioactive or potentially harmful to the environment or people in any way then anyone who is charged with handling these goods at any point in their journey across the UK must be made aware of it, so correct precautions can be taken.

Where does the responsibility lie?

Chiefly, the responsibility lies with the shipper. They cannot and should not deliver any dangerous goods or chemicals unless all of the correct precautions have been taken.

This is still the case if you hire an external company to deal with transportation but do the rest of the packaging and labelling ‘in house.’

In our experience however many of our clients have found it far more cost effective to hire a fulfilment company to handle the whole process, that way legally you are completely covered without having to implement all the legal requirements yourself.

Extra charges?

Sadly, in most cases yes. The government levies extra charges for the transportation of dangerous chemicals and goods and that will normally be covered by you. That does not however mean you should be paying the earth for your delivery and it is worthwhile shopping around.

I would be cautious if any company is not charging a little extra for the transportation of dangerous chemicals across the UK as it may hint at the possibility that they are somehow avoiding these charges themselves, that or they are charging above the odds for their services anyway – In which case it makes good financial sense to look elsewhere.

Well, that’s about it for now.

I hope you have found this post useful.

If you would like a quote for transportation of your dangerous chemicals or goods across the UK (Or have any questions) then please follow the link below and one of our friendly staff will be pleased to help.

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