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Since 1987 taking the danger out of dangerous goods

The ADR (European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road), which constitutes the legal reference in this matter in 48 countries, has been updated in 2015. Since January 1st, this new incarnation is applied in conjunction with the previous version (ADR 2013), but on July 1st 2015 ADR 2015 will become the single valid one. This article will highlight the most significant changes introduced in latest update of the ADR.

ADR 2015




A new subdivision has been added under Class 2 for adsorbed gases, including pertinent definitions and classification criteria.

Articles (such as batteries, ammunition or mercury contained in manufactures articles) are no longer assigned packing groups; instead, requirements for specific packaging performance levels are addressed within the applicable packing instruction.


Dangerous goods list

Several new entries have been added, including UN 3507 URANIUM HEXAFLUORIDE, RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL, EXCEPTED PACKAGE, UN 3508 CAPACITOR, ASYMETRIC and 17 entries for adsorbed gases.

The Proper Shipping Name has been changed for a few entries. For example, air bag inflators, air bag modules and seat belt pretensioners are no longer used as PSN and must be identified as UN 0503 SAFETY DEVICES, PYROTECHNIC or UN 3268 SAFETY DEVICESs electrically initiated. Similarly, asbestos-related entries now only have two acceptable PSN: ASBESTOS, AMPHIBOLE (UN 2212) or ASBESTOS, CHRYSOTYLE (UN 2590).

A new entry has been added for UN 3509 PACKAGING DISCARDED, EMPTY, UNCLEANED. Those shall be carried in adequate packagings, but not necessarily UN homologated ones. Empty uncleaned packagings, large packagings or IBCs, carried for disposal, recycling or recovery of their material, other than reconditioning, repair, routine maintenance, remanufacturing or use, may also be assigned to UN 3509.


Lithium batteries

Packing instruction P903 has been updated, and LP903 has been added, for entries UN 3090, 3091, 3480 and 3481 (lithium metal and lithium ion batteries, including those contained in or packed with equipment).

Lithium batteries carried for disposal or recycling have their own packing instruction (P909) and special provision (377). Packages shall be marked "LITHIUM BATTERIES FOR DISPOSAL" or "LITHIUM BATTERIES FOR RECYCLING", as appropriate. Cells and batteries shall be secured within the outer packaging to prevent excessive movement during carriage. Measures must be taken to prevent short circuits and the dangerous evolution of heat.

Special provision 376 and packing instructions P908 and LP904 have been added to specify the requirements under which damaged or defective lithium batteries may be carried for transport. These include individually packing each battery or cell, and marking the packages "DAMAGED/DEFECTIVE LITHUM-ION BATTERIES" or "DAMAGED/DEFECTIVE LITHIUM METAL BATTERIES" as applicable.


Fire extinguishers

Special provision 225 has been updated to specify the types of fire extinguishers which fall under the entry UN 1044 FIRE EXTINGUISHERS with compressed or liquefied gas:

  • Portable fire extinguishers for small manual handling and operation.
  • Fire extinguishers for installation in aircraft.
  • Fire extinguishers mounted on wheels for manual handling.
  • Fire extinguishing equipment or machinery mounted on wheels or wheeled platforms or units carried similar to (small) trailers.
  • Fire extinguishers composed of a non-rollable pressure drum and equipment, and handled e.g. by fork lift or crane when loaded or unloaded

These fire extinguishers shall be manufactured, tested, approved and labelled according to the provisions applied in the country of manufacture.

Furthermore, special packing provision PP91 has been added. It allows large fire extinguishers to be carried unpackaged under certain circumstances (such as being protected to prevent accidental activation).

Fire extinguisher


Vacuum-operated waste tanks

Non waste substances may be carried now in vacuum-operated tanks under the same conditions as wastes consisting of substances in Classes 3, 4.1, 5.1, 6.1, 6.2, 8 and 9, if their carriage in fixed tanks, demountable tanks, tank-containers or tank swap bodies is permitted.


 Construction of packagings

A note has added to state that alternate methods of indicating the date of manufacture for plastics drums and jerricans are acceptable, as long as the information is displayed in a durable, visible and legible form.


Marking & Labelling

The description and dimensions for all marks, labels, placards and marks is now more specific. For example, hazard labels must have a square shape with a 100 mm side, and the line inside the edge forming the diamond must be at least 2 mm wide. However, marks, labels and placards which meet the requirements of ADR 2013 may continue to be applied until December 31st, 2016.

As of January 1st 2016, a new requirement will be added to OVERPACK and SALVAGE markings, which will need to be 12 mm high.


Special provisions for carriage in bulk

The former special provisions for carriage in bulk (represented by codes starting with VV in column 17 of the dangerous goods list) have been split into two lists:

  • Three special provisions, applied to all classes (VC bulk codes)
  • Eight class-specific provisions (AP bulk codes)

ADR VC and AP codes


Electronic cigarettes

The instructions in writing have been modified to include an explicit prohibition of using electronic cigarettes or similar devices in the event of an accident or emergency. Instructions in writing which conform to the previous requirements may continue being used until Jun 30th, 2017.

Additionally, the prohibition of smoking during handling operations, and specifically on vehicles carrying explosives, now includes the use of electronic cigarettes.



Some lamps are not subject anymore to the ADR, provided that they do not contain radioactive material, don't exceed certain quantities of dangerous goods, and comply with certain managing and packing requirements, complied in subsection

Environmentally hazardous substances (under entries UN 3077 and UN 3082) carried in single or combination packagings containing a net quantity per single or inner packagings of 5 L (liquids) or 5 kg (solids) are not subject to any provisions of ADR other than the general packing provisions of, and to This exemption is applied as well to wastes with no associated risk other than environmentally hazardousness.


Radioactive material

Several changes throughout the ADR have been made to provisions concerning radioactive material in order to align to the new provisions in the IAEA Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material, 2012 edition (SSR-6).


This article has been written in collaboration with DGM Spain.

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