Dangerous goods are substances and articles which, because of their chemical or physical properties, pose hazards requiring special controls for their safe transport and storage in South Australia.

Transporting dangerous substances is an operation that can potentially impact the environment and the surrounding community. It is important that everyone involved in transporting dangerous goods understands their responsibilities to help prevent and reduce damage to people, property and the environment.

In South Australia, the transport of dangerous goods is regulated through the:

The Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road and Rail (ADG Code) sets out the operational and technical requirements in the management of dangerous goods transportation. Compliance with the ADG Code is required by many parts of the Regulations.

These regulations do not apply to the transport of explosives (Class 1) or security sensitive ammonium nitrate (Class 5.1), infectious substances (Class 6.1) or radioactive substances (Class 7). Please contact SafeWork SA for more specific guidance on transport of these materials.

The ADG Code should be read in conjunction with the Regulations, which include information on licence requirements.

Licences

In general terms, a person who transports dangerous goods is required to hold a licence for both the vehicle and the driver if carrying:

  • dangerous goods in a receptacle with a capacity of greater than 500 litres, or
  • more than 500kgs of dangerous goods in a receptacle.

There are certain exceptions for:

  • carriage of dangerous goods in intermediate bulk containers
  • carriage in small quantities
  • dangerous substances which are exempted from regulation under the ADG Code.

There are specific medical fitness and training requirements for a dangerous goods driver’s licence.

Vehicles carrying dangerous goods need to be licensed. Where the vehicle is carrying dangerous goods in bulk in a tank, the vehicle also requires design approval.

See our Dangerous goods driver and vehicle licences page and our Dangerous substances transport and storage licences for more details and the application forms.

Placards

A vehicle carrying a dangerous goods load must be appropriately placarded in accordance with the ADG Code. This means the vehicle must display details of the dangerous goods class/division and if required, emergency information panels.

A placard is a label or emergency information panel displayed on the cargo transport unit, placardable unit or vehicle transporting dangerous goods. It can be:

  • fixed to, or placed in a frame fixed to, a cargo transport unit or placardable unit
  • stencilled or printed directly onto the unit or vehicle.

Examples of dangerous goods placards

Placard loads

Vehicles carrying dangerous goods will need to display appropriate signage if they are carrying more than the placard load thresholds, even if this is below the limit for which a licence is required.

A placard load is defined by Regulation 4 of the Dangerous Substances Regulations and in section 1.2.1.1 and Chapter 5.3 of the ADG Code.

Use the below tables to determine a placard load. The load must be assessed against both tables.

Placard Load (Minimum Quantities)

The tables reproduced below are Table 5.3.1 and 5.3.2 of the ADG Code.

Dangerous goods not transported under Chapter 3.4 (of the ADG Code)
Dangerous goods in a cargo transport unit Placard load quantity and licensing requirements
(a) Any dangerous goods in a receptacle with a:
  • capacity greater than 500L or
  • net mass greater than 500kg.
A placard is required for 1 or more such receptacles - for example, 1 or more placardable units.

A dangerous goods driver and vehicle licence is required.

(b) Includes any quantity of:
  • Division 2.1 (flammable gases) – except aerosols or
  • Division 2.3 (toxic gases) or
  • Packing group 1 (substances presenting high danger).
Aggregate quantity of all dangerous goods (other than limited quantities (LQ) in the cargo transport unit is equal to or greater than 250kg or 250L (see Note 5).

No dangerous goods vehicle or driver licence is required.

(c) Division 6.2 (infectious substances) – category A A placard is required for all quantities.

No dangerous goods vehicle or driver licence is required.

(d) Division 6.2 (infectious substances) – other than category A A placard is required for more than or equal to 10kg or 10L.

No dangerous goods vehicle or driver licence is required.

(e) Loads where (a) – (d) do not apply Aggregate quantity of dangerous goods (other than LQ) is equal to or greater than 1,000kg or 1,000L (see Note 5), unless the load is a Fumigated Unit (UN 3359 – see Note 3).

No dangerous goods vehicle or driver licence is required.

Dangerous goods packed in limited quantities and/or domestic consumable dangerous goods.

The below placarding thresholds are separate to and in addition to the above placarding thresholds. In practice, this may mean a single vehicle is required to be placarded with both a placard for the fully regulated DG in the load and an LQ placard.

Dangerous goods transported under Chapter 3.4 (of the ADG Code)
Dangerous goods in a cargo transport unit Placard load quantity and licensing requirements
(f) Limited quantities dangerous goods and/or domestic consumable dangerous goods
(defined in section 1.2.1 of the ADG Code)
The load includes limited quantities dangerous goods and/or domestic consumable dangerous goods that includes an aggregate quantity of any one UN number from a single place of consignment of equal to or greater than 2,000kg or 2,000L.
(g) Loads where (f) does not apply limited quantities dangerous goods and / or domestic consumable dangerous goods
(defined in section 1.2.1 of the ADG Code)
The gross mass of the limited quantities dangerous goods and/or domestic consumable dangerous goods is equal to or greater than 8 tonnes (see Note 5).

Note 1: For placarding quantities of Class 1 (explosives), see the Australian Explosives Code. Contact SafeWork SA's CHEM Team for more information.

Note 2: For placarding quantities of Class 7 (radioactive material), see the Code of Practice for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Substances.

Note 3: A Fumigated Unit (UN 3359) complying with Chapter 5.5 of the ADG Code that does not contain any other dangerous goods is not a placard load, and should not be included in the total quantity of dangerous goods when determining a placard load.

Note 4: For land transport wholly within Australia, this Code requires placards to be displayed on cargo transport units if they contain a placard load, as determined from Table 5.3. It should be noted that cargo transport units containing lesser quantities may need to be placarded in accordance with the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code before they are acceptable for transport by sea, even within Australian waters.

Note 5: When transporting a load that contains dangerous goods specified in (b) or (e) of Table 5.3.1 and dangerous goods specified in (g) of Table 5.3.2, each of which are below a placard load, the combined quantity of dangerous goods in the load must be calculated and the result assessed against the relevant threshold in Table 5.3.1.

Calculation of combined quantity

If the relevant threshold for the dangerous goods in Table 5.3.1 is (b):

  • the combined quantity = the aggregate quantity of regulated Dangerous Goods (DG) + 10% of the gross weight of the limited quantities (LQ) / Domestic consumable (DC)

OR

If the relevant threshold for the dangerous goods in Table 5.3.1 is (e):

  • the combined quantity = the aggregate quantity of regulated Dangerous Goods (DG) + 25% of the gross weight of the limited quantities (LQ) / Domestic consumable (DC).

Detailed requirements what placards are required and how to display them are contained in Chapter 5.3 of the ADG Code, while the safety equipment that must be carried is detailed in Part 12 of the ADG Code.

Exemptions, approval and determinations

Dangerous goods need to be packaged in suitable containers that have been designed and assessed for transport of dangerous goods. Your packaging design must be tested by an independent testing company and certified as being suitable for a particular class and quantity of dangerous goods.

You can then apply for approval for this packaging using the forms available on our Dangerous Substance Transport & Storage Licences page. Where appropriate, Safework SA will submit the approval to the Competent Authorities Panel for national recognition.

In specific circumstances you may also apply for an exemption to aspects of the Act, the Regulations or the ADG Code. An example of such an exemption may be to transport unodourised LPG through South Australia. While the forms are available on our Dangerous Substance Transport & Storage Licences page, please contact SafeWork SA to discuss your requirements so we have the necessary information to support your application.

Transport of empty dangerous goods packaging

Packaging which previously contained dangerous goods must be identified, marked and labelled as required for those dangerous goods unless free from dangerous goods. Free from dangerous goods means that it has been cleaned and there is no discernible trace of dangerous goods.

Restricted transport areas

It is prohibited to carry dangerous goods on certain roads in South Australia – these roads are defined in Regulation 64(5) of the Road Traffic (Miscellaneous) Regulations 2014:

64—Prohibition of vehicles carrying dangerous substances on certain roads

(5) This regulation applies to—

(a) the portion of Road Number 8832 Riddoch Highway (Mount Gambier—Port MacDonnell) known as Bay Road, Mount Gambier, that lies between an imaginary line formed by the prolongation of the western boundary of section 391, Waterworks Reserve, Hundred of Blanche across the road and an imaginary line 30 metres south of and parallel to an imaginary line formed by the prolongation of the southern boundary of allotment 22 Filed Plan 321 across the road;

(b) the portion of John Watson Drive, Mount Gambier that lies between an imaginary line formed by the prolongation of the northern boundary of section 415, Hundred of Blanche, across the road and an imaginary line formed by the prolongation of the northern-most boundary of section 414, corporation reserve, Hundred of Blanche across the road;

(c) the portion of Road Number 6604 Ocean Boulevard, City of Marion that lies between an imaginary line formed by the prolongation of the northern boundary of Majors Road across the road, and an imaginary line formed by the prolongation of the eastern boundary of Brighton Road across the road;

(d) any other portion of road specified by the Minister by notice in the Gazette.

Further information

Guide for consignors of dangerous goods packages below placard quantity – WA Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety

If you have a specific query regarding your circumstances, please email chem.safework@sa.gov.au.