The vast majority hazardous goods carriers in the UK will be well aware of ADR requirements for road transport and their UK implementation* in the form of the Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2009 (as amended). Both the Regulations and ADR describe the conditions within which dangerous goods may be carried by road, including the manner in which such goods must be packaged and labelled and the characteristics of the vehicle in which they are carried.
Various bodies enforce the regulations and publish details of instances where carriers have failed to meet the strictly prescribed conditions. VOSA publish statistics showing the number of items found worthy of a prohibition, which for 2012/13 are shown below:
Experienced practitioners will not be surprised to see so many problems with fire extinguishers, commonly due to them being empty, broken, degraded, hard to find or absent altogether. More surprising, perhaps is the high number of vehicles being prohibited for a variety of other issues. While the most cautious and responsible hauliers can minimise the number of vehicles being prohibited, VOSA report that of roadside vehicle checks made on UK vehicles in 2012, a staggering 34% result in a prohibition notice being issued.
Prohibitions have long been a problem for hauliers – they can be costly, lead to delayed deliveries and loss of customer confidence. However, the relatively new Operator Compliance Risk Score (OCRS) now also affects every haulier holding a GB operating licence. Data from roadside tests consider a variety of factors or defects to produce a risk score, which then helps VOSA to judge which vehicles to check at a later date. Operators scoring poorly are more likely to be stopped again.
While the implications of a poor score can be worrying, this is good news for responsible hauliers who want to go about their activities without impediment and without corner-cutting competitors undermining their business. But it heightens the need to be aware of agency powers and invest in training, services and equipment, ensuring your compliance.
*Excluding Northern Ireland