Dangerous goods


Dangerous goods are substances, objects, solutions, mixtures, preparations, and wastes that present a risk for health, safety, goods or the environment.

All dangerous goods display one or more special types of risk. They are categorized in danger classes and are assigned a "UN number", defined by the United Nations expert committee for the transport of dangerous substances, valid throughout the world.

The classes of dangerous goods are the following:

  • Class 1: Explosives substances and articles
  • Class 2: Gases
  • Class 3: Flammable liquids
  • Class 4.1: Flammable solids, self-reactive substances, solid desensitized explosives and polymerizing substances
  • Class 4.2: Substances liable to spontaneous combustion
  • Class 4.3: Substances which, in contact with water, emit flammable gases
  • Class 5.1: Oxidizing substances
  • Class 5.2: Organic peroxides
  • Class 6.1: Toxic substances
  • Class 6.2: Infectious substances
  • Class 7: Radioactive materials
  • Class 8: Corrosive substances
  • Class 9: Miscellaneous dangerous substances and articles

Many dangerous substances are also classified as dangerous substances in accordance with the European REACH regulation and labeled accordingly.

To delimit the two terminologies, one can say that the dangerous substances become goods when they are loaded on a means of transport (e.g by road, navigable waterway or air) for the purpose of being transported on public roads.

Obligations and controls

The transport of dangerous goods is subject to a specific safety regulation for each mode of transport that determines, among others, the conditions of packaging, documentation, loading, unloading, handling and storage of these goods. The following regulations apply according to the mode of transport:

  • ADR: the European Agreement on the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road
  • IMDG: International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code governing carriage of dangerous goods by sea
  • IATA/OACI: Regulation for the international carriage of dangerous goods by air
  • ADN: European agreement on the international carriage of dangerous goods by inland waterway navigation
  • RID: Regulation concerning the international carriage of dangerous goods by rail.

Note: radioactive substances are governed by additional specific provisions.

These rules specify the goods which transport is prohibited, the required documents and equipment, and any permits needed for the carriage of dangerous goods.

For some dangerous chemical products and pesticides listed in the annex to the European regulation, a Prior Informed Consent procedure (PIC procedure) is required. The exporter must provide notification of the exports. Exporters and importers must provide information on the quantities of chemical products that are involved in international trading, on the appropriate conditions of storage and use adequate packaging.

Transit movements of chemical products are also subject to the PIC procedure and the information is provided to the involved parties on request.

These export declarations show the different codes of goods indicated in the annexes (CAS and NC  number, etc.)

Vehicles transporting dangerous goods need to be approved by the National Society of Automotive Traffic (SNCA) for the transport of dangerous goods and have to be equipped with protective devices, equipment or systems to prevent theft or that of their load. These vehicles moreover need to contain personal protective equipment for the vehicle crew and fire extinguishers of the ABC type. All vehicles transporting dangerous goods in quantities greater than the exempted quantities have to be marked with orange-color placards and danger signs.

The goods are also subject to appropriate packaging and labeling showing the danger classes and the pictograms (detailed in the regulations) providing information on the potential danger represented by the substance being transported. Some dangerous goods cannot be transported together, for which reason the information needs to be indicated. Packages have to be properly stored and handled with precautions to prevent them from being damaged.

All companies which activity is transport by road, rail, or inland waterway of dangerous goods must designate one or more safety advisers, who holds a training certificate attesting to their professional qualifications. The role of the safety advisor is to facilitate the execution of transport, loading, unloading of dangerous goods, in compliance with applicable regulations. Companies that must designate a safety advisor are required to provide the details of the advisor, to the competent authority on request (Ministry of Transport or the Inspectorate of Labor and Mines).

Checks on regulatory compliance on dangerous goods may be  executed by the Officers of the Judiciary Police and by the Police and the Customs and Excise Administration.

Note: there are exceptions for the transport of dangerous goods in small and limited quantities, subject to less strict rules.

Related documents

For the transport of dangerous goods, the following accompanying documents are required.

The transport document (that varies depending on the means of transport) must contain the mandatory wording that enables qualitative and quantitative identification of the load:

  • the UN code preceded by the letters "UN"
  • the proper shipping name as well as the technical, chemical or biological name (when applicable)
  • danger label model number
  • packaging group
  • number and description of packages
  • total quantity of each type of dangerous goods
  • name and address of the consigner and consignee
  • the reference of any special agreement
  • the tunnel restriction code

Note: additional wording may be indicated when necessary: "waste", "dangerous for the environment", "empty, uncleaned", etc.

Prior to departure carriers have to provide to the vehicle crew, a written instruction easy to access in the vehicle cabin in one of the languages that each member can read and understand.

The driver has also to also be in possession of a valid drivers training certificate , photo ID (passport, ID card, etc.).

Compliance with the technical rules and specifications relating to the vehicles is specified in an ADR approval certificate delivered, on behalf of the Minister, by the SNCA.

Any container or vehicle loading certificate or special transport authorization must be provided along with the transport documents.

Related procedures

All chemical substances manufactured or imported in quantities of one ton or more per year, and governed by the REACH regulation have to be registered with the European CHemicals Agency (ECHA) prior to being manufactured or placed on the market of the European Economic Area (EEA).

Companies wishing to register non-phase-in or phase-in chemical substances that have not been pre-registered are required to file an application for advance information to the ECHA prior to registering.

Moreover, the REACH regulation requires manufacturers to submit a request for authorization for the marketing and the use of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) included in the authorization list (Annex XIV).

Related organizations

In Luxembourg, the Environment Agency and the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructure are the competent authorities for regulations governing the classification, labeling and packaging of substances and mixtures in Luxembourg.

The Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructure is the national authority for exports and imports of dangerous chemical products. The Environment Agency is in charge of executing the administrative tasks related to this regulation.

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