Hazardous Goods (ADR) Beginner’s Guide

Are you looking to advance your career by taking further training? Hazardous goods transport is one of the many additional career paths available to you, and this guide is designed to give you a brief insight into this type of training.

What is ADR?

“ADR” is the name of the Regulations covering the transport of all dangerous goods by road. The full title (translated from French) is:

The “European Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road,” the current version of which came into force on 1st January 2019.

ADR regulates all dangerous goods to a lesser or greater extent, by making legal requirements about the way in which dangerous goods are to be identified, classified, documented, packaged etc so that they can be carried safely when one has regard to persons, property and the environment. ADR also makes requirements on vehicle drivers as well as the companies that employ the drivers.

the driver of a vehicle carrying dangerous goods must have had some form of documented training that complies with ADR’s requirements.

The main requirement on a “Consignor” [ = the sender] and a “Carrier” [ = the vehicle operator or owner] is that they employ a properly qualified Dangerous Goods Safety Advisor (DGSA) whose job it is to monitor and advise the Consignor/Carrier.

Part of the ADR requirements are that the driver of a vehicle carrying dangerous goods must have had some form of documented training that complies with ADR’s requirements. Depending on quantity carried, ADR has a requirement that a vehicle driver attends an approved ADR course and passes a number of multi-choice ADR exams, either online or on paper in order to obtain an ADR Certificate.

Load types

Dangerous goods are usually carried in either, some kind of package, or some kind of tank.

Carriage in Tanks

In general, an ADR “in tanks” Certificate is required by drivers who are to carry any amount of any dangerous goods in:

  • A Tank Vehicle or Demountable Tank (Tank >1,000L), or
  • A Tank-Container (Tank in an ISO frame, the tank being >3,000L)
  • A company’s DGSA would be able to advise on the specifics of any applicable exemption(s)

Carriage in Packages/Bulk

In general, the term “packages” means that the dangerous goods to be carried are transported in a packaged form, such as:

  • Drums
  • Jerricans
  • Boxes
  • Crates
  • Bags
  • Cylinders
  • IBCs

In general, the term “Bulk” means that the dangerous goods to be carried are not in a packaged form; for example: solids (shavings, chippings, pellets, flakes) which are loose loaded in tippers or skips.

ADR Training

A driver’s ADR Certificate confirms that a driver has attended an ADR course, which comprises at least 3 modules chosen from the 12 available modules and passed the necessary exams.

Find a reputable, local ADR training provider by clicking here

The minimum ADR course is:

Core module (mandatory for everybody taking the ADR course) plus,

EITHER Packages/Bulk and/or Tanks, plus

AT LEAST ONE of the 9 UN Classes of dangerous goods.

Example choices

A tanker driver who does forecourt petrol deliveries would need:

  • Core module + Tanks module + UN Class 3 (for flammable liquids)

A driver who delivers gas cylinders to houses, mobile homes and caravan parks would need:

  • Core module + Packages module + UN Class 2 (for gases)

A very common ‘general’ choice is:

  • Core module + Packages module + seven of the nine UN Classes (all except UN Class 1 Explosives and UN Class 7 Radioactives) either with or without the Tanks module.


The awarding body for ADR Certificates is Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) who inspects and approves providers’ premises, courses and instructors as well as issuing ADR Certificates and maintaining records on behalf of the Department for Transport (DfT)

Depending on ADR modules chosen and whether a provider has had their ADR course separately approved by JAUPT for Driver CPC, an ADR course may have 7, 14, 21 or 28 hours on offer, but please be aware that this is NOT automatic, and should be discussed with the provider at the time of making an enquiry about booking on an ADR course.

ADR contains many exemptions which may apply, so the advice of a qualified DGSA should be sought by the “Carrier” in cases where there is any doubt as to whether an ADR Certificate is a requirement for a particular job.

Don’t get caught out

Before you book ADR Hazardous Goods Training, check out our list of recommended training providers. All feedback you see on our site has been vetted and verified for authenticity to ensure you don’t waste your hard-earned money.

Thanks to David Wood (DGSA in all UN Classes by Road and Rail, SQA approved and verified ADR instructor) for the information provided in this article. All information correct as of 20/03/19

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