Health and Safety Directorate

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Transport of Dangerous Goods

Scope: Carrying goods by road, rail, air or sea involves the risk of traffic and other accidents. If the goods are dangerous, there is also the risk of incidents, such as spillage, leading to hazards such as fire, explosion, chemical burn, infections or environmental damage. Most goods are not considered sufficiently dangerous to require special precautions during carriage. Some goods, however, have properties which mean they are potentially dangerous if carried.

Dangerous goods are gas, liquid or solid substances and articles containing them, that have been tested and assessed against internationally-agreed criteria - a process called classification - and found to be potentially dangerous (hazardous) when carried. Dangerous goods are assigned to different Classes depending on their predominant hazard.

There are regulations to deal with the carriage of dangerous goods, the purpose of which is to protect everyone either directly involved (such as packagers, consignors or carriers), or who might become involved (such as members of the emergency services and public). Regulations place duties upon everyone involved in the carriage of dangerous goods, to ensure that they know what they have to do to minimise the risk of incidents and guarantee an effective response.

At QMUL, typical ‘dangerous goods’ sent or received can be pathogens, blood or clinical samples with a danger of infection, radio-isotopes, hazardous chemical substances, solvents, compressed gases, cryogenic liquids and solids such as liquid nitrogen and solid carbon dioxide, or hazardous wastes.

Key duties for QMUL staff sending out dangerous goods externally:

To classify the dangerous goods and package according to the criteria set out.

  1. To ensure consignment documentation is accurately completed and signed by a trained, responsible person.
  2. That reputable transport couriers are used.
  3. To seek advice from the consultant Dangerous Goods Safety Adviser (via Health & Safety Directorate) if complex issues arise.
  4. Ensure information for emergency procedures are provided to the transport courier, as part of the consignment documentation.
  5. To attend / obtain appropriate training for those involved with the work.
  6. Provide appropriate personal protective equipment during handling.

Key duties for QMUL staff receiving dangerous goods from external sources:

  1. Ensure receiving areas are adequate to receive and store materials safely and securely.
  2. To have emergency procedures in place to deal with spillages / releases and loss / theft.
  3. Provide appropriate training for those involved with the work.
  4. Providing appropriate personal protective equipment during handling.

Transport or movement of hazardous substances and goods within QMUL campuses should follow ‘common sense’ requirements for safety and security. Further information is below.


  1. An accredited online training course (Online Module Booking Form Infectious Substances Transport [DOC 16KB] is available for those at QMUL who are sending out infectious substances and related materials (for the responsible person who is signing the shipping form).
  2. Awareness training on the requirements for those otherwise involved in sending out infectious substances and related materials is covered within the following courses - for details and bookings visit this webpage:

Working Safely with Biological Hazards (HS020)
Containment Level 3 - Principles & Practices (HS019)
GM & Biosafety for Clinical Trials Staff (HS025)
COSHH Risk Assessment in Laboratories (HS005)

QMUL Documents:
Transport of Dangerous Goods – QMUL Policy, Arrangements and Procedures (being revised)

Key Legislation and web-links:
Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2009
HSE – Carriage of Dangerous Goods
HSE – Carriage of Dangerous Goods - Frequently Asked Questions
HSE – Concise Notes

Key QMUL Contacts:
Dr Mark Ariyanayagam (H&S Manager, SMD and QMUL BSA)
Steven Carter (H&S Manager, Sc & Eng and QMUL RPO)

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