Curtain systems among key changes following Dangerous Goods Code review

From this month, dangerous goods carriers have the choice of using either gates or curtain systems, so long as they form part of a load restraint system that complies with national heavy vehicle regulations.

This is among several changes coming into play following the Dangerous Goods Code review.

The Competent Authorities Panel (CAP) has approved use a certified load restraint curtain (CLRC) system for securing dangerous as well as the use of rated gates under amendments to the Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods (ADG) by Road & Rail which take effect from April 1, 2023.

CLRC systems are tested and certified to provide load restraint meeting the performance standards specified in the Heavy Vehicle (Mass, Dimension & Loading) National Regulations.

A rated CLRC system, when used as specified in the certification, provides the same protection as a similarly rated gate.

National Transport Commission’s (NTC) manager legislative maintenance, Debra Kirk, adds that gates also pose other health and safety risks.

She cites Australian Trucking Association (ATA) estimates that the weight of gates on a vehicle is around 300kg; and that in 2015-16, musculoskeletal injuries accounted for 63 per cent of serious injuries in the trucking industry.

As such, of the Code has been amended to allow the use of either rated gates or a CLRC system.

Where rated gates are used, they must form part of a complete load restraint system that complies with the load restraint guide.

The guide mandates that no dangerous article or package containing dangerous goods protrudes above the sides or gates by over 30 per cent of the height of the article or package; that no parts of an article or package may protrude horizontally beyond the sides or gates; and the dangerous goods are stowed and restrained to ensure the rated capacity of the gates isn’t exceeded.

Other key amendments to the Code relate to the requirement for ‘emergency information’ to be carried on any vehicle transporting a placard load of dangerous goods; and new guidelines that allow the use of portable tanks with shells made of fibre-reinforced plastics (FRP) materials for transporting dangerous goods.

The updated ADG 7.8 is effective April 1, 2023, and mandatory from April 1, 2024 – however the NTC advises that the commencement date in some states may be later than this, so please check with your competent authority.

The updated Code can be downloaded here.

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