Transporting gas cylinders can be a safety risk – especially when it comes to those containing toxic, flammable and asphyxiant gases.

In the event of a serious crash, cylinders can be damaged and start to leak – with potentially catastrophic consequences. This is why it’s essential for drivers transporting gas cylinders in vehicles to take the right precautions.

In the UK, gases are classified as Class 2 dangerous goods, and must be handled accordingly. This means complying with the 2009 Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Regulations (CDG Regulations), in line with the European Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR).

The British Compressed Gases Association (BCGA) Technical Sub Committee 4, have produced  Guidance Note 27 – Guidance for the Carriage of Gas Cylinders on Vehicles.

You can read Guidance Note 27 in its entirety here.

Guidance Note 27 – An Overview

Navigating the complexities of the ADR and CDG Regulations and working out how they apply to the carriage of gas cylinders can be challenging.

Guidance Note 27 aims to simplify this – providing easy to follow guidance to help drivers understand the risks, and safely transport gas cylinders in line with the latest legislation.

It covers:

  • General requirements – all the relevant legislation and who it applies to
  • Basic legal and safety requirements – in terms of training, vehicles, ventilation, security, temperature, damage, identification, cylinder valves, smoking, inspection, labelling and documentation
  • Personal safety – including personal protective equipment (PPE) and manual cylinder handling
  • Roadside Inspections – what they entail, and what they are looking for in terms of breaches
  • Actions to take in the event of an incident – from suspected leaks and fires, to communicating with the emergency services

Threshold Levels – Calculations and Guidance Explained

One of the key considerations when transporting gas cylinders is the threshold level of the load – and Guidance Note 27 covers this topic in depth.

The threshold level determines which safety requirements need to be followed. Those transporting loads below the threshold have to follow a series of basic safety requirements. Those transporting loads above this need to comply with the full ADR requirements.

Before transporting gas cylinders, drivers should calculate the load to see whether it exceeds the threshold level. This works on a points system, which is calculated according to both the type and quantity of gas:

  • Every litre/kg of gas carried represents a ‘point’
  • There is a point limit for each category of gas

To calculate the load, multiply the points per cylinder by the number of cylinders. If this number exceeds the point limit for that category of gas, the full ADR requirements should be followed.

This process can be complex – Guidance Note 27 includes a number of tables and a full list of equations required to make the calculation as easy as possible. It also outlines a full list of requirements for both under threshold and above threshold loads.

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