Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority


When do stowage rules apply?

Stowage rules apply whenever a placard load of dangerous goods is transported, except in certain specific cases (see special stowage provisions below).

What general stowage rules apply?

Dangerous goods must only be loaded in transport units* which are strong enough to withstand transport. Packages must be stowed and restrained within the transport unit as outlined in the load restraint guide.

Before loading, inspect the interior and exterior of a transport unit to ensure there is no damage that could affect its integrity or that of the packages to be loaded in it.

Specific loading instructions - such as orientation arrows, 'not to be double stacked' 'keep dry' or temperature control requirements - must be met. Load liquid dangerous goods below dry dangerous goods whenever possible.

Packagings and intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) fitted with a vented closure must be stowed and restrained with the closure uppermost.

If the dangerous goods are of a kind that may lead to the formation of flammable, toxic or other harmful atmospheres, they must be stowed so that no harmful atmosphere will accumulate in the vehicle cabin if there is a leakage.

Packages that appear to be leaking or damaged, potentially allowing the contents to escape, must not be accepted for transport.

Stowage on vehicles and freight containers that are open or have non-rigid sides

Where unpackaged dangerous articles or dangerous goods in packages are transported in an open transport unit:

  • the items must be stowed and restrained within rigid sides or gates
  • no dangerous article or package containing dangerous goods may protrude above the sides or gates by more than 30 per cent of the height of the article or package, and
  • no parts of an article or package may protrude horizontally beyond the sides or gates.

However, rear gates may be omitted from a road vehicle if:

  • the dangerous goods are loaded towards the front of the vehicle, and/or
  • other goods are stowed and restrained at the rear according to the load restraint guide to prevent the dangerous goods from falling from the vehicle.

Note: a curtain-sided container or vehicle is not regarded as a closed unit and must be fitted with gates unless it has been given a specific exemption from this requirement.

The requirement for rigid sides or gates does not apply to intermediate bulk containers, large packagings, segregation devices, pressure drums or multiple element gas containers, as long as they are restrained on a transport unit according to the load restraint guide.

The following applies to class 2 dangerous goods secured in gas industry cylinder pallets (stillages):

  • the cylinders must be secured within the frame of the stillage by a lashing system that meets the load restraint guide
  • not more than 45 per cent of the height of the cylinders may protrude above the stillage rail
  • the stillages must be stowed and restrained according to the load restraint guide.

Special stowage provisions

The following special provisions apply to any quantity of dangerous goods transported:

  • class 2 gases must not be stowed near a source of heat
  • liquefied gases in a cylinder with a pressure relief device must be transported upright so that the pressure relief device is in the vapour space
  • when transporting cylinders, the main valve must be closed and any regulator removed prior to loading
  • self-reactive substances and organic peroxides must be protected from direct sunlight, heat and be placed in adequately ventilated areas
  • dangerous goods of division 4.3, or with a subsidiary risk of 4.3, must be kept dry.

The following special provisions apply to placard loads of dangerous goods:

  • dangerous goods (other than aerosols and gas cartridges) of division 2.1 or 2.3 or with a subsidiary risk of 2.1, or liquefied oxygen, must not be transported unless the transport unit or compartment in which they are loaded is ventilated to prevent vapours building up.

* 'Transport unit’ means a portable tank, a bulk container, a freight container or a vehicle.

Return to summary of controls.

Page last updated: 10 May 2013