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Enforcement!

Enforcement!


Continuing the theme of this column in the last two editions of Truck and Track, Richard Shreeve, Labeline’s Compliance Manager, discusses the enforcement of the Dangerous Goods Regulations with Nicola Jaynes, Principal Inspector at the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR)

Inspectors from the ONR were present at a recent ADR enforcement stop that Labeline also attended. I started our conversation by asking Nicola when the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) was formed…

ONR was formally established under Part 3 of The Energy Act 2013 (TEA13), creating an independent, statutory regulator of nuclear safety security and conventional health and safety at nuclear sites. It came into being as a Public Corporation on 1 April 2014.

TEA13 also transferred the Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2009 (as amended) (CDG) to fall under nuclear regulations, with ONR as the competent and enforcing authority for the civil transport of Class 7 dangerous goods (radioactive material) by road and rail.

What is ONR’s role?

ONR’s mission is to protect society by securing safe nuclear operations. It delivers five statutory purposes to ensure safe nuclear operations now and in the long term. These are:

  • nuclear safety
  • nuclear site health and safety
  • nuclear security
  • nuclear safeguards
  • safety of transport of nuclear and radioactive materials

In addition to having the legal authority to regulate the nuclear industry in Great Britain, ONR regulates the safety and security of the transport of civil nuclear and radioactive materials by road and rail, extending our regulation across a large number of dutyholders.

Are there any other regulations that cover the transport of radioactive material by road and rail?

CDG transpose into UK law the following international standards:

  1. 1. Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR)
  2. 2. Regulations concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Rail (RID) 

Transport of radioactive material by road and rail in Great Britain must also be in accordance with The Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017 (IRR17) for which ONR is the enforcing authority.

Depending upon the amount of radioactive material transported, dutyholders will need to make a notification, apply for
registration or seek consent as transport is specifically defined as a practice in IRR17. It should be noted that transport doesn’t only include ‘carriage’ but begins when loading radioactive material onto a conveyance and ends with unloading it from the conveyance.

More details on making notifications and applying for registration and consent can be found via the websites below:

ONR has recently engaged with a number of transport dutyholders who don’t have IRR17 registration and consent, so it would urge all transport dutyholders to seek advice from their appointed Radiation Protection Advisers (RPAs) to ensure all requirements are in place.

As a regulator, what powers do you have, particularly in relation to the transport of radioactive material?

ONR is the competent and enforcing authority for CDG and the enforcing authority for IRR17 for the civil transport of class 7 dangerous goods (radioactive material) by road and rail. 

It undertakes transport compliance inspections* of nuclear and non-nuclear dutyholders to ensure they are meeting their legal obligations, performs roadside stops* of vehicles carrying radioactive material, investigates transport incidents that dutyholders are required to report to ONR through its INF1 notification system*, assesses packages that require competent authority approval and issues package approvals.

If ONR identifies non-compliances, it has the power to take enforcement action. This can range from informal enforcement action such as regulatory advice provided in inspection records and enforcement letters (requiring specific action to be taken within certain timescales) to formal enforcement action such as the issue of improvement and prohibition notices. Ultimately, ONR can stop the transport of radioactive material and can instigate prosecutions against non-compliant transport dutyholders.

ONR’s Enforcement Policy Statement* and Enforcement Technical Inspection Guide* explain this in more detail. These documents, together with information about ONR enforcement action, can be found in the Enforcement section of the ONR website*.

Radioactive material has a variety of uses, which many people won’t be aware of. Can you give some examples of the dutyholders that ONR regulates and how they use radioactive material?

In addition to nuclear dutyholders, we regulate non-nuclear industrial, medical and carrier dutyholders such as:

  • radiography companies who use special form (sealed) sources to undertake non-destructive testing of components in dedicated facilities and on sites
  • companies who have to deal with waste material from the cleaning of oil and gas drilling which may be contaminated by naturally occurring radioactive material
  • universities who undertake research work involving radioactive material
  • hospitals who use radioactive material to treat patients
  • companies who have in-transit depots at airports/ports where material is stored prior to collection for road transport

Most of us don’t understand the risks of radioactive material. When we see a Class 7 hazard label or ’Radioactive material trefoil’ mark, should we be extra cautious?

There is a graded approach to radioactive material transport packages. This means that, as the potential hazard associated with radioactive material increases, so do the requirements for package robustness, labelling, vehicle placarding and emergency planning. Provided transport dutyholders comply with these requirements for the radioactive material they are transporting, the risk to members of the public is very low. ONR transport compliance inspections, roadside stops of vehicles, investigations into transport incidents and package assessment work are all undertaken to confirm transport dutyholders are meeting their legal obligations to keep risks to as low as is reasonably practicable.

What are the differences in hazard posed by the different categories of Class 7 dangerous goods – and what does the term ‘Fissile’ mean?

There are various Class 7 dangerous goods United Nations (UN) numbers which form a graded approach to classifying the hazards associated with radioactive material. They vary from UN numbers associated with excepted packages (which are considered to pose the least hazard) through to UN numbers for Type B and C packages (which reflect the greater hazard posed by the contents). 

Some packages are permitted to contain fissile material which is material that can, under specific conditions, generate large amounts of heat and radiation through fission (when atoms are split apart to form smaller atoms, releasing energy). The most important fissile materials are uranium and plutonium. There are specific UN numbers that reflect packages containing fissile material — these are designed, tested and approved to ensure that the material will not be able to enter the specific conditions for fission to occur during transport or due to accidents.

Class 7 hazards are different to those of the other recognised hazard classes. What initial actions should be taken at the time of an incident?

Consignors and carriers of radioactive material are required to have suitable and sufficient IRR17 radiation risk assessments* in place before they transport any radioactive material. These risk assessments should inform the type of emergency arrangements that are required to be produced, CDG emergency plans when there is more potential for significant incidents to happen and IRR17 contingency plans when there is less potential for significant incidents to happen. These arrangements will detail the specific action to be taken in the unlikely event of an incident. However, individuals should stay as far away as possible from any incident scene. If leaving the scene, do not approach or touch any packages whether they appear to be damaged or not. Do not touch or make contact with liquids or substances which may have leaked from packages and stay or move upwind of the scene of the incident. More detail on this is provided on ONR’s website: Prior information to the public- Radiation Emergencies during the transport of radioactive material*.

Is specific training required for consigning and transporting Class 7 dangerous goods? 

All staff involved in the transport of Class 7 dangerous goods should be provided with basic radiation protection training, dependant on their role, and this should be provided by appointed Radiation Protection Advisers (RPAs).

Additionally, most companies should appoint a Dangerous Goods Safety Adviser (DGSA) to provide them with specific transport compliance advice and transport specific training which should include security considerations.

Section 3 of ONR’s Dangerous Goods Safety Adviser Guidance* provides information on DGSA Class 7 dangerous goods training, which is summarised as follows:

DGSAs should be suitably trained and hold the road/rail ‘all’ classes qualification for the nine classes of dangerous goods.

For DGSAs advising dutyholders on Class 7 dangerous goods, the additional Class 7 training course, designed by the Radioactive Materials Transport Users Committee (RAMTUC), is recognised by ONR as relevant good practice. The course contents are designed to provide additional Class 7 specific compliance information.

DGSAs should also be able to demonstrate that they have the necessary knowledge and experience to make them suitable to appropriately advise transport dutyholders.

Does ONR deliver training or are there specialist trainers for Class 7 dangerous goods?

ONR doesn’t deliver Class 7 dangerous goods training, but there are specialist trainers who do provide it. Anyone interested in this should ensure the trainer meets the requirements of the Class 7 dangerous goods course designed by the RAMTUC.

Are many Class 7 dangerous goods transported by rail? If so, what are the benefits?

Class 7 dangerous goods are transported by rail. This is especially beneficial for large loads, usually associated with the nuclear industry.

I have heard of the RADSAFE scheme for Emergency Response to transport incidents — how does this work?

RADSAFE is a private company, limited by guarantee, that offers mutual assistance in the event of a transport accident involving radioactive materials belonging to a RADSAFE member.

RADSAFE itself does not constitute transport dutyholders emergency or contingency plans required by CDG or IRR17, but it can form part of their plans, which in addition to the RADSAFE response, should include details of what drivers and office staff receiving emergency calls are required to do, and the reporting requirements etc. ONR has published guidance on planning for transport emergencies*.

And finally, what non-compliances do you typically encounter during transport inspections? 

The most common non-compliances relate to:

  • IRR17 transport radiation risk assessments:
    • not having suitable and sufficient, or any IRR17 transport radiation risk assessments
    • not reflecting the actual radioactive material transported 
    • focusing on physical carriage only and not including all aspects of transport (packing, loading, in-transit storage, unloading)
    • not including the content required by IRR17 Approved Code of Practice paragraphs 70 and 71
    • not making clear conclusions about which kind of emergency arrangements are required to be produced, CDG09 emergency plans or IRR17 contingency plans
  • Inadequate CDG emergency plans and IRR17 contingency plans:
    • not being clear which kind of plan they are, CDG09 emergency plans or IRR17 contingency plans
    • limited to initial driver actions only
    • not describing the actions of individuals receiving emergency phone calls from drivers
    • not including detail of how consignors will provide a radiation protection response to accident scenes to retrieve packages
    • not reflecting the required content of CDG emergency plans
    • not being tested and reviewed
    • tests of CDG09 emergency plans not being reported to ONR, as required by CDG
  • Appointment of Safety Advisers:
    • not having or appointing suitably experienced Radiation Protection Advisers* or Dangerous Goods Safety Advisers
    • not acting upon the advice of Radiation Protection Advisers or Dangerous Goods Safety Advisers
  • Inadequate management systems:
    • documents not included within a management system
    • documents being past review dates
    • documents reflecting out-of-date legislation
  • Inadequate training records:
    • required training and refresher training not documented
    • training or refresher training records not held
    • individuals past refresher training due dates

*The ONR website (onr.org.uk) is a mine of information, regulations and interesting articles, some of which have been referenced above. 

About Labeline…

Worldwide, Labeline International has maintained its position as the leading authorised distributor for the regulations covering the transport of dangerous goods by road, rail, sea and air. 

As the only authorised reseller in UK and Ireland for all modes of transport, Labeline is at the forefront of compliance when it comes to dangerous goods and stocks 1,000’s of UN, IMO, IATA and ICAO publications.

Labeline, for all your Dangerous Goods compliance needs: 

For more information visit: www.labeline.com

Order online 24-7 

Phone: 0870 850 5051

sales@labeline.com


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