Frequently Asked Questions

Main Content

I. Control Regime under the Dangerous Goods Ordinance

The DGO regulates the manufacture, storage, conveyance and use of dangerous goods.  A person must have a licence granted by the Fire Services Department (“FSD”) under the DGO to manufacture any dangerous goods (“DG”), or store, convey or use DG exceeding the exempt quantity.

 

Upon the receipt of an application for DG licence, the FSD will conduct a risk assessment of the case on its own merit, and formulate fire safety requirements for compliance by the applicant.  After inspection and confirmation that all these fire safety requirements have been complied with, the FSD will issue a DG licence to the applicant.

Members of the public can distinguish dangerous goods (“DG”) through the marking and labelling of the goods.  They can also refer to the Safety Data Sheet (“SDS”) of the goods and the Schedule 2 of the Dangerous Goods (Application and Exemption) Regulation 2012 (Cap. 295E).  The FSD’s DG thematic website provides a DG search function by name or UN number of the DG to facilitate the public to distinguish DG.

In general, the “Packing Group” of dangerous goods (“DG”) is set out in the Safety Data Sheet (“SDS”).  Members of the public can also identify the “Packing Group” of a DG by referring to the Schedule 2 of the Dangerous Goods (Application and Exemption) Regulation 2012 (Cap. 295E).

Manufacture of dangerous goods includes the change of nature or form of any substance by processing, compressing, liquefying or other means.  It also includes the filling of a pressure receptacle (other than a boiler or a pressure vessel as defined by section 2(1) of the Boilers and Pressure Vessels Ordinance (Cap. 56)) with any gas.

 

However, it does not include assembling, mixing, compounding or installing for the preparation of materials within the meaning of pyrotechnic special effects material under the Entertainment Special Effects Ordinance (Cap 560) if the process is authorized by a discharge permit issued under the Cap. 560.  Moreover, it also does not include the removal of a refrigerant from a refrigeration machine or equipment and storing the refrigerant in a container designed for storing it.

All dangerous goods (“DG”) have to comply with the packing, marking and labelling requirements in the Ordinance, no matter if their quantity of storage and conveyance have exceeded the exempt quantity or not.  However, DG with package size not exceeding the “limited quantity” will be exempted from the marking and labelling requirements while DG in consumer packs will be exempted from the packing, marking and labelling requirements.

Packing for dangerous goods (“DG”) shall be designed and constructed of material suitable for storing the DG, and provided with adequate measure(s) to prevent any leakage or spillage of any contents.  Packaging shall also be maintained in good condition and free from any defect which may impair its performance.  All restrictions and technical requirements in the extant Dangerous Goods (General) Regulations (Cap. 295B) has repealed and new requirements are incorporated into the Code of Practice for Control of Dangerous Goods on Land issued by the Authority.

 

In order to harmonize local requirements with the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (“IMDG”) Code, new marking and labelling requirements are introduced.  In gist, the “UN number” and the Chinese or English “Proper shipping name or true name” of the DG shall be clearly marked on the outermost packaging.  The appropriate label(s) shall also be clearly displayed on the same packaging.

 

If the DG are packed, marked and labelled in accordance with the IMDG Code, unless otherwise specified, the DG will be deemed as having complied with the packing, marking and labelling requirements of the legislation.

 

The concept of “limited quantity”, a concept adopted from the IMDG code, are introduced to all DG.  DG with package size not exceeding the “limited quantity” will be exempted from the marking and labelling requirements.  For example, if a DG is given a “limited quantity” of “one litre”, DG with package size not exceeding one litre will be exempted from all marking and labelling requirements, yet packing requirements should still be complied with.

 

Accurate marking and labelling of DG can enhance public awareness and is therefore of paramount importance to the safe storage and conveyance of DG.  To this end, the amended legislation requires DG to be packed, marked and labelled accurately.

The main features of the amendments to the DGO include:

  • To update the classification systems of dangerous goods (“DG”) to harmonize them with international standards (the types of DG under regulation increased from over 1 100 to over 2 300 (including explosives classified as Class 1 DG); Classes 2 to 9 DG regulated by the Fire Services Department, which increased from over 400 to over 1 700);
  • To update the packing, marking and labelling requirements of DG to harmonize them with international standards;
  • To update the exempt quantity of DG through a risk-based approach;
  • To facilitate the trade and the public without compromising public safety, such as stipulating exemption in respect of DG in consumer packs;
  • To explain the technical requirements by way of a code of practice, and update the technical requirements timely to keep pace with the times; and
  • To update the penalties for offences to maintain a necessary deterrent effect.
Dangerous Goods