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Many of the critical supplies needed to suppress the Covid-19 pandemic are ‘dangerous goods’. These include hand sanitisers, chemicals used for decontamination and patient testing, as well as test samples from those infected.
Transport regulations for air, road, sea, rail or inland waterway continue to apply, although there has been some relaxation for recurrent training.
Many companies require the services of a dangerous goods safety adviser (DGSA), a qualification that has to be renewed every five years.
Under Multilateral Agreement 324, 24 countries, signatories to ADR (Accord Dangereux Routier), have extended all certificates coming up for renewal since 1 March for six months, to 30 November. ADR is the regulation for the movement of dangerous goods by road and applies throughout Europe as well as Turkey and some countries in North Africa.
This benefits drivers of road tankers, intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) and trucks with large quantities of packaged dangerous goods over the ADR threshold, as well as those that deliver vital supplies of oxygen and other gas cylinders to hospitals.
The training for dangerous goods by air mandates refresher training every two years, and some countries have extended current certificates for six months, sometimes with conditions and in other cases unconditionally.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) lays down the two-year renewal in its Technical Instructions, and most countries have adopted the two-year standard, although in the US, under 49 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) legislation, refresher training takes place every three years. In the UK, the Civil Aviation Authority has extended all ‘dangerous goods by air’ certificates due to expire before 31 October to a new expiry date of 22 November.
In the US, there has not been a formal extension, but the enforcement agencies have indicated that they will not take action against employees who have not received refresher or recurrent training because of the Covid-19 emergency.
All these air training extensions are of great help to shippers, freight forwarders, ground handlers and airline personnel, but they do not apply to new employees or those taken on as temporary staff during the Covid-19 pandemic.
So, there is still a demand for dangerous goods training for new members of staff, and some training organisations have been quick to transfer their training courses to webinars. These can provide delegates with personal interaction with a dangerous goods expert and the knowledge they need to ensure dangerous goods can move safely around the world, even at this difficult time.
Nicholas Mohr is CEO of Peter East Associates Ltd, a provider of dangerous goods webinars – www.petereast.com. +44 (0)20 8953 6721