Transportation of hazardous chemicals

District Collector should monitor the following points of Central Motor Vehicle Rules (CMVR) 1989 to reduce the road disasters carrying chemicals.

Recommendations for Authorities

The primary concern regarding non-compliance by the consignors, transporters and drivers is the lack of enforcement of the applicable legal requirements and also lack of awareness amongst the stakeholders.

The implementation of the Rules 131 to 133 of CMVR, 1989, providing details of responsibility of consignors, transporters and drivers of the goods carriage transporting HAZCHEM shall be strengthened. Further, the states can also put additional restrictions in the permit condition while granting permits to the transporters.


  • Comprehensive training of inspection staff issuing fitness certificates regarding design codes, their requirement for the inherent safety of the container and the vehicle, etc.
  • Traffic policeman should be more stringent for HAZCHEM transporting tankers and must see to it that these tankers do not violate any rules. Moreover, a traffic policeman should not allow these tankers in crowded places/routes, for any reason whatsoever. Traffic policeman could be allowed to penalise the driver in case of illegibility of the emergency information panel and also if the class label is missing as per the provisions on the vehicle.
  • Comprehensive training of the traffic inspectors regarding the applicable of legal requirements.
  • Training of inspectors regarding HAZCHEM as per the CMVR so as to make them understand the consequences of non-compliance.
  • Elaborate training programmes for community leaders, panchayats, NGOs and other identified prominent persons in the areas is necessary after a directory of information (containing the names, addresses, telephone numbers, etc.) is prepared. A small booklet in the vernacular on dos and don'ts for the local public should be brought out and circulated.
  • The Regional Transport Officer (RTO) should carry out the proper verification and examination of the tankers/trucks before issuing a new license/permits.

Recommendations for MAH Units

MAH units are not only the recipients but also the consignors of HAZCHEM. It is in their business interest that the goods dispatched, reach the destination safely, in time and without any problem en route. Their role is by far the most important in terms of improving the status of implementing various legal requirements. Keeping this in mind, the following are the major recommendations for the MAH units (consignors) of HAZCHEM.

Check driver's license for its validity, provide a certificate to the effect that he has successfully undergone the requisite training for transportation of hazardous goods and endorse his license, authorising him to drive vehicles carrying HAZCHEM.

  1. Check documents and inspect vehicles with check lists.
  2. Implement vehicle entry, loading/unloading check list.
  3. Check compatibility with material last transported with the one intended to be loaded.
  4. Place appropriate fire extinguishers.
  5. Provide separate earthing to tank and hoses.
  6. Provide stop blocks to prevent rolling of vehicles. Loading/unloading operation to be carried out under supervision.
  7. Make the driver read the Transport Emergency Card (TREMCARD) while the loading/unloading operation is carried out.
  8. Seal and lock valves after loading. The Emergency Information Panel (EIP) should be checked and if found inappropriate, new panels should be pasted on all three places. Appropriate class labels should be pasted.
  9. Communicate the route and scheduled halts to driver and transporter.
  10. Implement a computerised system for records. Although it may not be possible for all the units to implement such computerised systems, alert security staff and proper maintenance of records can easily achieve the objective. Train security staff in checking the documents and vehicles.
  11. Selection of transporters should be on the basis of their credibility rather than solely on quotes.

Recommendations for Transporters

  1. Need to take a proactive role in keeping their vehicles fit, providing necessary fire extinguishers, PPEs, antidotes, emergency kits, spark arrester and training to drivers for safe transportation of hazardous goods.
  2. Careful driver selection.
  3. Vehicle maintenance, display of appropriate EIP and class label, proper painting.
  4. For transport of dangerous goods, the endeavour should be to find dedicated transport tanker vehicles or at least for dedicated use of specific material only. Inter changeability at times may cause mishaps/accidents.
  5. HAZCHEM should also be lettered in the vernacular for better understanding by the public at large.
  6. Ensure availability of all relevant documents and inform the driver of the chemical being transported, associated hazards and safety precautions to be taken during the journey.
  7. Provide route map to the driver (finalised in consultation with the consignor) and a timetable for each trip.

The photo is displaying two EIPs on one tanker, it is not clear whether the tanker is carrying chemical -1 or chemical - 2. Such situation can only be avoided jointly by RTO, transport contractor and consignor with proper enforcement of CMVR.


Recommendations for Drivers

Trained and experienced personnel of MAH units are not normally available at accident site en route to transport. The response of driver, cleaner, public and response in teams are therefore, of very high significance. Drivers on the other hand, are the weakest link in the entire process of HAZCHEM transportation due to the lack of proper training, low level of education, lack of awareness of the applicable legal requirements and a host of other factors such as rash driving, drinking habits, tendency for pilferage to make a quick buck, etc. All the efforts of consignors, transporters and authorities are diluted if the driver does not have safe driving habits, parks the vehicle incorrectly and/ or leaves his vehicle unattended. The rules applicable to drivers for improving the level of safety in HAZCHEM transportation as per Central Motor Vehicle Rules (CMVR) are fairly comprehensive and proper enforcement can definitely bring about the desired change.

  1. Driver training and involvement in mock drills are necessary and must be initiated on a priority basis.
  2. The driver should be trained to maintain a record of inspection round the Clock at least every two hours, to check the pressure, temperature of the product to see that no leaks are developed and to check the temperature of hubs and tires or to spot any other abnormality in the vehicle.
  3. The drivers and cleaners should necessarily maintain and use PPEs to meet specific requirements during chemical spills/ accidents.
  4. Driver training efforts must be updated, specifically for non-petroleum tankers, where training is lacking.
  5. Though it is mandatory to keep fire extinguisher(s) and a first-aid box in the driver's cabin, sufficient attention is not given in training the driver in their use. Even the selection of the correct fire extinguisher for different types of fires is unknown to the driver. The fire extinguishers should be related to the HAZCHEM being transported, which makes dedicated use of the vehicle important.

DC should also review the following points:

  1. Narrow roads increase the traffic density, the travel time and also the accident potential. Infrastructure in terms of proper roads and lights in population pockets needs to be provided for safe HAZCHEM transportation.
  2. The highway patrol should ensure the smooth flow of traffic on the highways and highway rescue squads need to be set up at critical locations for rendering prompt response during accidents.
  3. Police awareness about the provisions under the CMVR requires a major initiative, as it is poor. Police academies could be used for the purpose and special drives aimed at police forces should be made.
  4. The regulatory authorities, mainly the police, are not adequately aware of the CMVR HAZCHEM provisions and are therefore not able to enforce the rules sufficiently. This is necessary and must be accomplished on a mass basis. Communication System: the HAZCHEM transported from a source unit to the ultimate destination will have a dedicated consignment tracking system within and also be linked to fire, police and emergency control rooms including medical services. The mechanism will be worked out with the due diligence of all stakeholders and in consultation with all authorities concerned.
  5. Global Positioning System (GPS) type communication and information management systems for HAZCHEM fleet tracking, monitoring and accident management is recommended
  6. The Regional Transport Officer (RTO) should carry out the proper verification and examination of the tankers/trucks before issuing a new license/permit.


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