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Dangerous goods

Dangerous goods are substances and items identified as hazardous for transport and present a risk to people, property and the environment.

Examples of HSE dangerous goods include:

  • clinical waste
  • specimens
  • laboratory waste
  • pharmacy waste
  • medical gases
  • chemical waste

Dangerous goods legislation

Dangerous goods legislation provides for the safety of people handling dangerous goods, the public, property and the environment.

The regulations place specific duties on the HSE as a consignor, carrier, packer, loader, un-loader and driver.

The regulations also place a legal duty on the HSE to appoint Dangerous Goods Safety Advisors (DGSA) to advise on the safe transport of dangerous goods.

HSE pharmacy departments and aseptic units

Guidelines for the segregation, packaging and removal of waste medicines (GD:019:00) documents a system for disposal of waste medicines that complies with transport regulations; while streamlining the process for HSE hospital pharmacies.

The guideline applies to:

  • unused or expired medicines and related products from the pharmacy department
  • medicines including patient medicines returned from the wards provided there is no additional infection risk
  • waste generated in aseptic units - wastes contaminated with cytotoxic drugs residue (includes used vials, syringes, needles, PPE, wipes and disinfectant bottles)

Note: the guideline may also be applied to areas where monoclonal antibodies are prepared under aseptic conditions in laminar flow hoods.

Implementation of the guidelines will continue to be supported by the National Health & Safety Function (NHSF).

Resources to support you in implementation:

Dangerous Goods Safety Advisor (DGSA) role

The role of the DGSA is to:

  • monitor compliance with the requirements governing the transport of dangerous goods
  • advise on the transport of dangerous goods
  • prepare an annual report in relation to the carriage of dangerous goods

HSE approach to discharging its legal duties

Responsibility for the management of the transportation of dangerous goods rests with the CEOs of HGs, COs of CHOs, Head of National Ambulance Service and local Responsible Persons.

Accessing services

Eco-Online has stopped providing Dangerous Goods Safety Advisory (DGSA) services to the HSE (effective 31 March 2024).

A new tender process for providing DGSA is currently underway.

In the meantime, Eco-Online has committed to sending DGSA annual reports to services by the end of May 2024.

For enquiries about outstanding DGSA audit reports, contact

All other dangerous goods enquiries can be submitted through the National Health and Safety Function Helpdesk.

Related content

Guidelines for the segregation, packaging and removal of waste medicines from HSE pharmacy departments and aseptic units 2022 (GD:019:00)

Disposal of waste medicines in limited quantities (LQ) bin checklist

Disposal of aseptic isolator sharps bin checklist

Disposal of flammable waste checklist

HBS Contract Ref: HSE14605

Transport of uncleaned reusable invasive medical devices (RIMD) by Road Safety Alert

Guidelines for the preparation for transport of patient specimens and other biological materials

UN 3373 Category B biological substances – P650 packaging checklist (liquid specimens)

Contact HSE Health and Safety helpdesk

Use the Health and Safety self-service portal or

Phone: 1800 420 420

Monday to Friday 10.30am to 12 noon and 2.00pm to 3.30pm