Dáil Éireann - Volume 584 - 27 April, 2004

Written Answers. - Safety Advisers’ Certificates.

  180. Mr. Crowe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if she intends changing the regulation whereby safety advisers have to re-sit their exams every five years. [11739/04]

  181. Mr. Crowe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if she will replace the five yearly exam with a refresher course to be conducted every two years in line with the biannual republication of the ADR manual. [11740/04]

  182. Mr. M. Higgins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the position held by the Government with regard to the need for members of the Dangerous Goods Safety Advisors’ Association of Ireland to repeat their examinations every five years; if the Government agrees with proposals to instead introduce a refresher course every two years; and if Ireland proposes to sign up to the European Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road, ADR, in view of the fact that until such time, Ireland has no say or input into the ADR. [11870/04]

  Mr. Fahey: I propose to take Questions Nos. 180 to 182, inclusive, together.

The current legislative provisions relating to the appointment, examination etc., of safety advisers for the transport of dangerous goods by road are set out in the European Communities (Safety Advisers for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road and Rail) Regulations 2001 (S.I. No. 6 of 2001). These regulations transpose: Council Directive 96/35/EC of 3 June 1996 on the appointment and vocational qualification of safety advisers for the transport of dangerous goods by road, rail and inland waterway; and Directive 2000/18/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 April 2000 on minimum examination requirements for safety advisers for the transport of dangerous goods by road, rail or inland waterway.

Under the regulations and directives, a safety adviser for the transport of dangerous goods must hold an EU certificate of training as a safety adviser. The regulations and directives also lay down the minimum examination requirements for the examination needed to obtain such a certificate. Article 6 of Directive 96/35/EC, relating to the validity of the certificate, provides that:

The certificate shall be valid for five years. The period of validity of a certificate shall be extended automatically for five years at a time where, during the final year before its expiry, its holder has followed refresher courses or [298] passed an examination both of which must be approved by the competent authority.

This is transposed in Ireland through Regulation 7(12) of the 2001 regulations, which provides that:

Where the holder of a training certificate can show to the competent authority concerned, that within the 12 month period which precedes the expiry of the validity of the certificate referred to in paragraph (11) or of any extension of it given under this paragraph, he or she has passed an examination which has been approved by the competent authority, the period of validity of that certificate shall be extended by the competent authority for a further period of 5 years.

I have no proposals currently to alter the existing requirements and I do not envisage changing those requirements in the foreseeable future.

I am informed by the Health and Safety Authority, the national competent authority in Ireland for the regulations, that it is considered too onerous to require training for safety advisers every two years, particularly in light of the decision in October 2003 by the joint meeting of the RID safety committee, international rail transport, and the working party on the transport of dangerous goods, which works under the auspices of the UN-ECE, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, and which takes decisions on the amendments to the international agreements ADR-RID-AND, on the transport of dangerous goods by road, rail and inland waterways respectively.

That unanimous decision, to which all member states of the EU were party, decided that revalidation of safety adviser certificates would be by examination every five years and that such examinations would be approved by the relevant competent authority in each member state. This position will be reflected in the 2005 edition of the ADR, which will become applicable from 1 January 2005, with a six-month transition period. A memorandum on the matter of acceding to the ADR is being prepared by my Department and will be submitted to Government by the Department of Foreign Affairs later this year.