Guidance - Employing a dangerous goods safety adviser (DGSA)
- What is a dangerous goods safety adviser and their responsibilities
- Who needs a DGSA
- Who to appoint as a DGSA
- Exemptions from the requirement to appoint a DGSA
- DGSA training and certification
- Obtaining a DGSA certificate
- Renewing a DGSA certificate
- Current legislation
- Legal information
What is a dangerous goods safety adviser and their responsibilities
A DGSA is responsible for helping to prevent the risks inherent in the carriage of dangerous goods, specifically the risk to people, property and the environment.
The responsibilities of the DGSA include:
- monitoring compliance with the requirements governing the carriage of dangerous goods
- advising undertakings on the carriage of dangerous goods
- preparing an annual report about the performance of the undertaking in transporting dangerous goods
- investigating any accidents or infringements of regulations and preparing reports
- monitoring the provision of training and advice to other staff
- reporting of incidents and accidents to DfT
You can find a full list of responsibilities in chapter 184.108.40.206.
Who needs a DGSA
Any undertaking that consigns, transports, packs, fills, loads or unloads dangerous goods on a regular basis – by road, rail or inland waterway – must appoint a DGSA.
DGSAs are not expected to monitor procedures related to the carriage of dangerous goods by sea or air.
The current national legislation containing this requirement is the Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations as amended.
Separate but similar legislation has been made available in Northern Ireland.
There are exemptions to the requirement to appoint a DGSA, depending on how often your business handles dangerous goods and in what quantities.
Who to appoint as a DGSA
It is an employer’s responsibility to decide whether to train one of their own staff to be a DGSA or to contract a third party to act as a DGSA for their undertaking.
The DGSA must have the time and resources to undertake its functions properly. Undertakings operating on several sites or deals with large or complex operations may need more than one DGSA.
Exemptions from the requirement to appoint a DGSA
In Great Britain and Northern Ireland there are some exemptions from the requirement to appoint a DGSA. Whether or not an undertaking is exempt from this requirement depends on how often that undertaking handles dangerous goods and in what quantities.
The exemption applies if:
- a business is involved in the carriage of dangerous goods in quantities per transport unit that are smaller than those referred to in 220.127.116.11, 18.104.22.168, and in chapter 3.3, 3.4 and 3.5
- if the main or secondary activities of the undertaking are not the carriage or related loading or unloading of dangerous goods, but the undertaking does occasionally engage in the national carriage or the related loading or unloading of dangerous goods posing little danger or risk of pollution
- if that carriage operation complies with the conditions specified in the Road Derogation 11 (RO-bi-UK-1) The crossing of public roads, as set out in the Carriage of Dangerous Goods: Approved Derogations and Transitional Provisions document 2012
- if that carriage operation complies with the conditions specified in 1.1.3
This information is for guidance only and you should refer to RID/ADR 1.8.3 for full details.
The exemptions do not apply to international carriage.
DGSA training and certification
DGSAs must pass written examinations. On passing the examination a DGSA certificate, valid for 5 years, is issued specifying the mode(s) of transport (road, rail, inland waterway) and the classes of dangerous goods that the DGSA is qualified to monitor and advise on.
A DfT approved examination and certificate-issuing regime applies throughout the UK. DGSA certificates are mutually recognised by all contracting parties, namely in countries which are signatories to RID, ADR or ADN.
There is no legal requirement for DGSAs to undertake formal training and DfT does not keep a list of recommended DGSA training providers.
The form and type of training undertaken is a matter for the individual candidate and the employer to decide, based on the candidate’s knowledge and experience.
Training courses for DGSAs are run by independent providers and trade associations and course lengths vary from 2 to 5 days. Training providers may offer online courses as well as classroom training. They are not required to be approved by the DfT. The fees charged are a matter for the training provider.
Obtaining a DGSA certificate
The DfT has appointed the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) as its agent to organise, set and mark the examinations and issue the DGSA certificates in the UK. A DGSA certificate is issued to a candidate on successfully passing DfT approved examinations.
The examinations relate to one or more specific modes of transport – road, rail or inland waterway – covering the classes of dangerous goods and would be recognised by all countries that have signed up to either RID, ADR or ADN.
Information on the examination syllabus, location and dates of the examinations, costs and general advice for candidates and training providers is available from SQA.
Scottish Qualifications Authority
The Optima Building
58 Robertson Street
Tel: 0345 270 0123
Renewing a DGSA certificate
A DGSA certificate must be renewed every 5 years. This is done by the holder passing relevant examinations which can be taken in the last year of the certificate’s validity.
The new certificate will be valid for 5 years from the date of expiry of the previous certificate.
DGSA certificates are only issued or revalidated after successful completion of the approved examinations and not in relation to previous knowledge or experience in the field of the transport of dangerous goods.
It is the view of the UK competent authority that certificate holders seeking to revalidate their certificates must successfully undertake the case study specified in 22.214.171.124.4 (b) as part of the revalidation process.
Renewal should not be left until the last minute, as extensions to expired certificates will not be granted due to candidates failing to renew their certificate in time.
Candidates will receive their certificates no later than 8 weeks after the exam date.
Legislation applying to this requirement is:
- the Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road. The Agreement is more commonly known as “ADR” (from Accord Relatif au Transport International des Marchandises Dangereuses par Route): Section 1.8.3 Safety Adviser plus any corrigendum documents.
- Annex I of the Convention Concerning International Carriage by Rail (COTIF, from Convention de l’Organisation Intergouvernmentale pour les Transports Internationaux Ferroviaires. It is more commonly known as RID). Annex I is the Regulations Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Rail.
- the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Inland Waterways (ADN)
- the Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations as amended.
- the Carriage of Dangerous Goods: Approved Derogations and Transitional Provisions 2012.
- the Dangerous Goods Emergency Action Code List as amended.
This guidance is covered by the terms and conditions that apply to all GOV.UK content.
In international carriage, Competent Authorities of other Contracting Parties may have a different interpretation of the relevant international dangerous goods regulations, including additional or different regulations through their own national legislation.
Source: Department for Transport
Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0
Updated: 27 March 2023
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