Last reviewed 12 August 2021

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) publish the list of Carriage of Dangerous Goods — Prohibition Notices. Caroline Raine discusses those issued in 2020 and highlights common mistakes that are made when transporting dangerous goods.


The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) publish the list of Carriage of Dangerous Goods — Prohibition Notices Issued by Police or Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) or Department for Transport. The notices are published in a separate spreadsheet for each month and, just recently, the last for 2020 (December) was published.

The list can be accessed through the HSE website

Notices issued

In 2020, a total of 449 notices were issued by the Police, DVSA or Department for Transport (DfT). This is compared to 601 in 2019, 762 in 2018, 860 in 2017, 976 in 2016, 984 in 2015 and 541 in 2014. The question is: are less checks being carried out (Covid-19?) or is there improvement!?

Prohibition notices were issued by Bridgewater Police Centre, Cheshire Constabulary, Cleveland Police, Greater Manchester Police, Hampshire Constabulary, Metropolitan Police, Norfolk Constabulary, North Yorkshire, Suffolk Constabulary, Thames Valley Police and West Mercia Police.

The DVSA issued the most with 306 (compared to 442 in 2019) followed by Greater Manchester with 46, Hampshire with 21, and Metropolitan {Police having issued 24.

Companies from the UK, France, Bulgaria, Germany, Turkey, Romania, Spain, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Ireland, Northern Ireland, The Netherlands, Italy, Estonia, Poland, Macedonia, Portugal and Lithuania were among those that received prohibition notices. Significantly fewer countries than last year.

Common issues

Common issues identified included inadequate provision of fire extinguishers, transport documentation not containing the required information or missing entirely, and the vehicle not being equipped so that the driver can take those measures detailed in the emergency information and, in the case of the carriage of toxic gases, to enable the crew to escape.

Instructions in Writing

Ten prohibition notices related to Instructions in Writing (IiW) — either there was no IiW or it was not in a format the driver could understand or it was an old out-of-date version.


Two hundred and forty-three related to fire extinguishers; common mistakes included them being out of date, or not being tested. Some loads had no fire extinguishers, the incorrect amount or they were not readily available. A few were found to have no pressure.

Transport document

Eighty-eight prohibition notices were as a result of the transport documentation. Either there was no document, or it contained insufficient or incorrect information on document, eg no proper shipping name, or wrong packing group.


Fourteen cases related to driver training, where the driver had received no awareness training on ADR and so the driver of the vehicle had not received adequate instruction and training to comply with the law and/or would not be able to take proper action to in an emergency.

Emergency phone number

Four notices were issued relating to the emergency response telephone number for answering emergency queries, on all three occasions the emergency number was not displayed.


Many of the notices issued also involved equipment, namely, the vehicle not equipped so that the driver can take those measures detailed in the emergency information and in the case of the carriage of toxic gases, to enable the crew to escape. Many were not carrying the mandatory equipment, or it was not working correctly. This included lack of warning signs, torch, eye wash, chocks, collecting container.

Orange plates/placards

Seventy-two loads were found to have problems with their orange plates or placards. In some cases, they were not being displayed when they should have been, or they were dirty or obscured.


Other reasons for the prohibition notice included 14 occurrences of insecure loads. Movement of load during transit (one pair of pallets was unrestrained and another had shifted and become loose.). Lack of segregation was also recorded – where incompatible dangerous goods were not properly segregated.

Several vehicles were found to have multiple missing items of PPE: no wheel chocks, no eye rinse liquid, no portable lighting apparatus, no shovel, no drain seal, no collecting container. Sixty-nine vehicles were “not equipped so that the driver can take those measures detailed in the emergency information”

One vehicle stopped was found to have an unauthorised passenger on the vehicle, this is a risk as they are not trained to deal with emergency situations, another was found to have goods being carried in a non-approved manner/container.

No UN number displayed at rear. Lack of correct information will result in emergency services not being able to deal with minor incidents

A number of loads were found to be leaking dangerous goods.

Reminder of the requirements


ADR specifies the equipment that should be carried on board a vehicle carrying dangerous goods. Chapter 8.1 outlines general requirements concerning transport units and equipment on board, and the IiW in Chapter 5.4 list the equipment needed. The list includes:

  • a wheel chock

  • two self-standing warning signs

  • eye-rinsing liquid.

For each crew member:

  • a warning vest

  • portable light

  • protective gloves

  • eye protection.

Also, required for certain classes:

  • an emergency escape mask (for each crew member)

  • a shovel

  • a drain seal

  • a collecting container.

Chapter 8.1 also specifies the requirement to carry fire extinguishers, the number and size of which is dependent on the transport unit size.


There is a legal requirement to carry both a transport document and IiW.

The transport document is specific to the load being carried and should contain:

  • the name and address of consignor

  • the name and address of consignee

  • a dangerous goods description for each dangerous substance

  • the number and description of the type of packages for each dangerous substance

  • material or article in the consignment

  • the total quantity of each type of dangerous goods with a different UN number, proper shipping name or packing group.

For loads being carried under ADR (small load exemption) the calculation must be shown on the transport document.

For each dangerous substance, material or article in the consignment, a dangerous goods description must be provided. This consists of a number of pieces of information, which must be listed in the Dangerous Goods Note (DGN) in the following order.

  • UN number — preceded by the letters “UN”.

  • Proper shipping name — including the technical name (if applicable).

  • The label numbers, as listed in column 5 of the dangerous goods list in the ADR. Note: It is the label numbers that are required, not the class number listed in column 2 — the primary hazard class should be listed first, followed by any applicable secondary hazard classes in brackets.

  • Packing group (if applicable) — in roman numerals. May be preceded by the initials “PG” or the equivalent initials in the language in which the DGN is being prepared.

  • Tunnel restriction code, as listed in column 15 of the dangerous goods list in the ADR. This should be listed in capital letters and within brackets. The tunnel code can be omitted if it is known that the consignment will not have to pass through any tunnels.

The IiW is a generic document that can be found in Chapter 5.4 of the ADR. It is a four-page document that can be used as an aid in the event of an emergency situation. The document must be carried in the vehicle crew’s cab and must be readily available. There is also a requirement to have an emergency response telephone number on the vehicle placards.



All staff involved in any way with the dangerous goods must receive training appropriate to their responsibilities and duties prior to such involvement.

The training must cover a range of topics.

  • General awareness training: training to make personnel familiar with the general requirements of the provisions for the carriage of dangerous goods of the mode(s) concerned.

  • Function-specific training: detailed training relevant to their duties and responsibilities concerning the carriage of dangerous goods.

  • Safety training: commensurate with the degree of risk of injury, training on the hazards and dangers presented by the goods and emergency response procedures.

  • Drivers of vehicles carrying dangerous goods are subject to specific training requirements.

  • Drivers must receive adequate training and instruction to enable them to understand:

  • The nature of the dangers of the goods and actions to be taken in an emergency.

  • Duties under the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974 and, where relevant, duties under the applicable carriage regulations.

Drivers of tanker and bulk vehicles, and vehicles carrying packaged goods above the ADR load threshold, must attend a course approved by the DfT and pass written examinations set by the Scottish Qualifications Authority to obtain a vocational training certificate (ADR certificate) valid for the classes of goods carried in packages or tanks.


  • The transport of dangerous goods is heavily regulated.

  • Make sure that your company doesn’t get a fine or prosecution by ensuring that the regulations are followed.

  • Pay particular attention to the detail of fire extinguishers, training, transport documents and equipment.

  • If there is any doubt about your responsibilities, speak to your Dangerous Goods Safety Adviser (DGSA).