Dangerous goods safety advisers (DGSA)

The European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) sets out the requirements for the classification, packaging, labelling and operational measures for the transport of dangerous goods. 


ADR also requires the appointment of a dangerous goods safety adviser (DGSA) for those organisations involved in the carriage, packing, loading, filling or unloading of dangerous goods by road. The role of the DGSA is to help prevent damage to persons, property or environment. 

Main duties of the DGSA

  • Monitoring compliance with rules governing transport of dangerous goods;
  • advising the organisation on the transport of dangerous goods;
  • preparing an annual report to management on dangerous goods activities (reports must be retained for 5 years and submitted to local authorities on request);
  • monitoring procedures and safety measures;
  • investigating and preparing reports of any accidents, emergencies, or infringements;
  • advising on the potential security aspects of transport.

ADR also lists a number DGSA responsibilities in relation to monitoring the practices and procedures of the organisation involving dangerous goods, such as the selection and use of sub-contractors, maintenance of training records and equipment checking.


In order to qualify as a DGSA, the responsible person must have successfully passed examinations and hold a vocational training certificate, which is valid for five years. The examination requirements set out in 1.8.3.12.4 of ADR are fairly prescriptive. Candidates are tested on their knowledge of the ADR regulations and ability to undertake defined responsibilities.


Electronic examinations are permitted, providing technical specifications are met and software/hardware is verified as meeting requirements. Contracting parties to ADR may facilitate for class specific examination, geared more towards company specific dangerous goods activities. 


ADR permits the following class category examinations:

  • Class 1; 
  • Class 2;
  • Class 7;
  • Classes 3, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 5.1, 5.2, 6.1, 6.2, 8 and 9;
  • UN numbers 1202, 1203, 1223. 3475 and aviation fuel classified under UN numbers 1268 and 1863.

The DGSA is required to prepare a report for management whenever an accident affects persons, property or environment, during the carriage, packing, filling, loading or unloading of dangerous goods.


In the case of a serious accident or incident involving dangerous goods, the involved party is required to prepare a report conforming to the model format set out in ADR (1.8.5.4) and inform the Competent Authority to the Contracting Party within one month. The Contracting Party should inform the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe for information exchange purposes, to prevent a similar accident or incident from occurring. 


A serious accident or incident is defined within Section 1.8.5.3 of ADR and could involve personal injury requiring a stay in hospital, loss of product (no limit if Class 6.2), or environmental damage exceeding 50,000 euros.


Competent Authorities may exempt the appointment of a DGSA under the following circumstances:


  • The carriage of dangerous goods is below thresholds set out in the regulation and defined in sections 1.1.3,6; 1.7.1.4; 3.3; 3.4; 3,5 e.g. limited quantity thresholds defined in Section 3.4;
  • the organisation is only occasionally involved in national carriage, or the related packing, filling, loading or unloading of dangerous goods, or the dangerous goods pose little danger or risk of pollution.

However, for those organisations that require a DGSA, the adviser is charged with a demanding and responsible role. Many organisations use the services of a third party provider to undertake their DGSA duties. 


Page published 11 July 2018