How to obtain an ADR certificate (hazardous goods transport)?

Everything you need to know about obtaining the ADR certificate

Land transport of dangerous goods is regulated by the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) and the Dangerous Goods Transport Decree of May 29, 2009. Every truck driver must possess their ADR training certificate or Driver Qualification Card (CQC). This certification is issued after completing a basic or specialized training based on the nature of the transported goods (tank, explosives, or radioactive materials). When it expires (every 5 years), this certificate must be renewed through a refresher course.

What is the ADR certificate and what is its purpose?

The ADR certificate serves as a driver's license issued to all truck drivers specializing in the transport of dangerous goods. ADR stands for "Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road." This European agreement, signed by 50 countries, establishes a framework and legislation to be followed. In France, the decree of May 29, 2009, known as the "TMD Decree," complements the provisions of the ADR. The Ministry responsible for Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion oversees the transport of dangerous goods (TMD).

The ADR regulation outlines all provisions concerning the packaging, labeling, signage, classification of dangerous goods, as well as the necessary training for truck drivers to transport such products. A substance is deemed dangerous when it poses a risk to human health and the environment. The objectives of the ADR are:

  • To raise awareness among carriers about the inherent risks in transporting dangerous goods
  • To integrate basic concepts to reduce the risk of accidents
  • In case of an accident: Ensure appropriate measures are taken by the carrier to ensure their safety, the safety of others, and environmental protection

Dangerous goods classes in the ADR

Depending on the type of dangerous material to be transported, the ADR provides a system of UN danger classes:

  • Class 1: explosive substances and explosive objects (dynamite, pentrite, tolite)
  • Class 2: flammable gases, non-flammable gases, non-toxic gases (propane, helium)
  • Class 3: flammable liquids (gasoline, kerosene)
  • Class 4.1: flammable solids, self-reactive substances, desensitized explosives, and substances that polymerize (hay, matches)
  • Class 4.2: substances liable to spontaneous combustion (calcium carbide, activated carbon)
  • Class 4.3: substances that, on contact with water, emit flammable gases (calcium carbide, aluminum powder, sodium)
  • Class 5.1: substances that are oxidizing and release oxygen or other oxidizing substances when decomposing (ozone, nitrous oxide)
  • Class 5.2: organic peroxides (sodium peroxide, hydrogen peroxide)
  • Class 6.1: toxic substances (asbestos, mercury, benzene)
  • Class 6.2: infectious substances (blood, organs, cultures containing pathogenic microorganisms)
  • Class 7: radioactive substances (uranium, thorium, potassium)
  • Class 8: corrosive substances (hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, nitric acid)
  • Class 9: various dangerous substances and articles (lithium batteries, solid carbon dioxide, dry ice)

Requirements for applying for an ADR certificate

Are you considering obtaining the ADR driver training certificate required for the ground transportation of dangerous goods? Every vehicle driver must undergo basic training and pass the final stage exam. The training can be enhanced by:

  • Specialization in transporting dangerous goods in tanks
  • Specialization in Class 1 (explosive materials)
  • Specialization in Class 7 (radioactive materials)
The training must take place in an approved center recognized by the Ministry of Transport as an approved training organization (OFA).

Required training to obtain an ADR certificate

Following professional ADR training enables drivers to transport dangerous materials: compressed gases, aerosols, solvents, flammable products, oxidizing substances, toxic substances, infectious or corrosive substances. However, ADR training does not authorize the transport of explosive materials or radioactive substances.

ADR training is provided over 21 hours, equivalent to three days. This initial training includes:

  • Theoretical Part: Theoretical exercises provide an understanding of the risks associated with dangerous goods, potential changes in the physical state of products, their packaging, labeling, and marking. The theory covers knowledge of national and international regulations related to the transport of such goods, different aspects related to fire, and candidates' responsibility regarding alcohol levels.
  • Practical Part: Obtaining the ADR certification involves completing exercises under real conditions, such as fire drills, classification and identification exercises of dangerous materials. The practical part also covers general vehicle equipment, safety, mandatory transport documents, instructions, and measures to follow during loading and unloading of sensitive products.
The candidates' competency validation comes in the form of a written final assessment in the form of a multiple-choice questionnaire (QCM) lasting 45 minutes. To obtain the ADR certification, candidates must answer a minimum of 25 questions with a success rate of 70%. The ADR certification is valid for 5 years. A refresher basic training allows for the renewal of the ADR certification after the five years.

Administrative formalities and mandatory documents

The cost of the training to obtain the ADR certification varies depending on approved organizations. While self-funding is possible, various mechanisms exist to fund ADR training:

  • Personal Training Account (CPF): It's for individuals over 16 years old. The balance depends on the number of years of contribution. The chosen ADR training in one of the organizations must be registered in the National Directory of Professional Certifications (RNCP).
  • Collective Job Preparation (POEC): It's for job seekers. Pôle Emploi funds the POEC.
  • Professional Transition Project (PTP): PTP is not meant to cover the cost of the ADR certificate, but to initiate steps for individuals wishing to become truck drivers with a specialization in TMD. The cost is covered by CPF under specific conditions.
  • Competency Operators (OPCO): These organizations promote professions like logistics and transportation. For an ADR certification, you should approach OPCO Mobility. Only individuals under an apprenticeship contract, professionalization contract, or pro-A contract can qualify for OPCO assistance in obtaining an ADR license.
Looking for an expert in hazardous waste and material transport with an ADR certification? Contact your OTEXIO representative!