By dangerous goods the transport authorities usually mean, inter alia, explosive and flammable substances, gazes, toxic substances, radioactive and infectious material.
It is obvious that the transport of such goods must be regulated to prevent accidents to persons or property and damage to the environment.
In order to bring together different regulations concerning transport and storage of dangerous goods in different countries, the United Nations has developed mechanisms for the harmonization of hazard classification criteria and hazard communication tools (GHS) as well as for transport conditions for all modes for transport (TDG).
The Sub-Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (TDG) and Sub-Committee of Experts on the GHS meet regularly to issue recommendations on the transportation of dangerous goods. All EU countries are the contracting parties to the UN-administered European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR). International standards on the transport of dangerous goods by road are derived from the recommendations of the UN Committee of Experts. These recommendations are contained in the so-called “orange book”, and form the basis of a series of codes covering the classification, packaging and labeling of dangerous goods for transport by road, rail, sea and air.
The international working party on the transport of dangerous goods (WP15), normally meets twice a year to review the conditions governing the international transport of dangerous goods between European countries by road and rail, with the aim of aligning ADR and RID with the UN recommendations. Decisions taken by WP15, when subsequently approved, are included in the latest edition of ADR for implementation. ADR is updated every 2 years.
Transport by road, rail and inland waterway is covered by a single EU directive – EU directive 2008/68 – inland transport of dangerous goods and Directive 95/50 on checks on dangerous goods. These directives as well as industry guidelines for secure transportation of dangerous goods can be found here.