Safely Handling Hazardous Materials At Work

There are various risks involved with the handling of hazardous materials. These can be short-term, in the form of workers tripping and falling, and long-term through accidental and direct exposure to hazardous materials. Such spillages can create a significant risk to both people and the environment, which is why it's important to have the right equipment in place for the goods that are being handled.

To help businesses seamlessly handle their hazardous materials, we've put together an FAQ of everything you need to know about the on-site transportation of hazardous substances. You will also fine a comprehensive checklist included further down the page, to help you avoid missing anything important when dealing with hazardous processes. 

FAQ – What you need to know about handling hazardous substances

What are the risks that can occur when handling hazardous substances?

If a container isn't handled correctly or becomes damaged during handling, it can result in the uncontrolled spillage of hazardous substances. Depending on the substance that has been spilt, there are a variety of different consequences for both workers and the environment. For example, if a substance is classified as dangerous for the environment, contact with either soil or surrounding waters can cause considerable environmental damage, impacting on both flora and fauna in a way that has the potential to make areas uninhabitable.

Many substances are harmful through direct contact, inhalation and ingestion.

Flammable substances have the potential to create a dangerous explosive environment. 

Gas under pressure can be a serious hazard, so precautions must be taken when transporting gas cylinders. When dropped, the weakest part of the cylinder - the value - is at risk of tearing, which can result in the contents of the cylinder being released into the atmosphere. A dropped gas cylinder can also act as a dangerous projectile, and pierced gas cylinders have been known to punch through concrete walls. Unnoticed gas leaks pose a well-documented risk of suffocation.

You can find more information about the hazardous substances located on your company's premises within the company's safety data sheets (SDS). Employers have a duty to ensure that substances are appropriately labelled and able to be easily identified by employees.

Here are a few examples of hazard symbol labels:

It is worth noting that larger containers create larger risks. If hazardous substances are being transported in large, heavy containers - such as drums - then manual transport will result in a high level of physical strain and an increased risk of injury to the employee, alongside an increased risk of spillage. 



What is the difference between dangerous goods and hazardous substances – and which laws apply?

The terms "dangerous goods" and "hazardous substances" are commonly used interchangeably in almost every industry, but it's important to know that they are not the same thing. From their definition and classification through to their regulation, everything about them is significantly different. 

Dangerous goods are substances that when transported pose a risk to any of the following: Health, safety, property or the environment. Anyone planning on transporting dangerous goods in a public area must take a close look at the legal provisions surrounding these substances. You can find this within The European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR). The ADR explicitly considers the hazard level of a substance in connection with their transportation in public spaces. 

Dangerous goods laws give rise to special regulations, such as special labelling requirements, the use of packaging with special transport approval and the need for vehicle drivers to receive special training.

Certain dangerous goods that pose a risk even when not being transported are called hazardous materials (also known as HAZMAT or hazmat). Under the European Union's 2008 CLP Regulation, hazardous substances placed on the market must be correctly classified, labelled, packaged and handled.

The law governing the control of these substances in the UK is the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH, 2002). COSHH applies to virtually all substances hazardous to health, with the exception of asbestos and lead (which have their own regulations) and substances that are hazardous only because they are radioactive, asphyxiants, at high pressure/temperature or have explosive/flammable properties.

COSHH legislation requires:

  • Identifying health hazards
  • Identifying how to prevent harm to health (through a risk assessment)
  • Providing control measures to reduce harm to health
  • Making sure control measures are used
  • Keeping control measures in good working order
  • Providing information, instruction and training for employees and others
  • Providing monitoring and health surveillance
  • Planning for emergencies

Employers have a legal requirement to carry out a risk assessment, both under COSHH legislation and within The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 so it’s important that you have one in place!

Do employers have to provide equipment for employees when handling hazardous substances?

The short answer is yes. As laid out in Section 7 of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH, 2002), employers in the UK are required to provide employees working with hazardous materials with "suitable work equipment." This can include drum handling equipment, equipment for the management of spills and floods and transport equipment for gas cylinders. Section 7 also covers the need to provide employees with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)


the design and use of appropriate work processes, systems and engineering controls and the provision and use of suitable work equipment and materials
COSHH 2002, s 7(3)(a)




where adequate control of exposure cannot be achieved by other means, the provision of suitable personal protective equipment in addition to the measures required by sub-paragraphs (a) and (b)
COSHH 2002, s 7(3)(c)





IMPORTANT FACT: From 2015-16, according to statistics from the UK Health and Safety Executive, work-related musculoskeletal disorders accounted for 34% of work days lost to ill health in Britain.  

The safe transport of hazardous substances is not only important from a legal point of view, it also helps to prevent worker ill health from impacting on productivity.  



Can any employee work with hazardous materials?

Not unless you've carried out a risk assessment. Under section 6 of COSHH 2002, employers must carry out a risk assessment prior to employees performing tasks involving hazardous substances. Employees must be informed of the properties of any hazardous substances, any potential hazards they create and what protective measures need to be taken, especially with regard to the handling of hazardous substances.

Employers are required to carry out risk assessments "regularly." An exact legal time frame isn't specified, but it's necessary to perform one after any significant changes to a process, such as bringing in new machinery, changing chemical formulas, changes in worker exposure times, and so on. If no significant changes happen, it is good practise to carry out a review every 3-5 years. 

According to the legislation, employees must be properly informed, trained and supervised at all times. Having HSE safety data sheets on file is not sufficient to comply with COSHH requirements.

Employees working with hazardous materials should be given the following information:

  • The name of any hazardous substance they come in contact with 
  • The associated risks with these substances 
  • Any precautions needed to protect themselves and other employees
  • How to use the personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Any workplace exposure limits
  • The results of any exposure monitoring and health surveillance
  • Emergency procedures 

The DENIOS checklist for the safe transport of on site hazardous substances

Please note: This checklist offers only general recommendations not tailored to your individual business. 

Preparations for the transport of hazardous materials  Done?
Carry out a risk assessment: Before starting any work, you are legally required to carry out a risk assessment. These are some of the questions you should ask

  • What are the risks of the hazardous substance being handled?
  • What quantities are being moved?
  • How often does the hazardous substance have to be transported?
  • Which employees will / may be handling the hazardous substance?
  • Over what distance is the hazardous substance being transported?
  • What potential sources of danger might arise during the transport process?
  • What is the probability of occurrence and the extent of damage to be expected?
Identify protective measures: Use your risk assessment to identify suitable protective measures for the handling of hazardous substances

Employee training: Train your employees specifically on the safe handling of hazardous substances

  • Before starting the work
  • If there aren't any changes to the job, then annually after that
  • Immediately if anything about the job changes
Safely transport the hazardous substances! Done?
Identify the hazardous substance: Before handling anything, determine what the hazardous substance is and what protective measures are detailed in the operating instructions 
Check the label: It is important to check the hazardous substance has been correctly labelled (especially when receiving goods that have been transferred from their original containers). 

Wear PPE: Never work with hazardous substances unless you are wearing the correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) - this also applies to transport! 

Check containers for damage: Check any packaging isn't damaged before handling hazardous substances. If there is damage, the container should be replaced to ensure that the hazardous material doesn't leak during handling. 

Close the container tightly: Before transporting containers, make sure the container is tightly closed. The closure cap should be attached to gas cylinders.

Use suitable equipment: Only use suitable equipment and vehicles for the handling of hazardous substances 

Attach any necessary locks: Make sure you have good load locks when handling hazardous substances. Equipment such as drum handling devices and gas bottle trolleys are usually equipped with a transport lock (e.g. in the form of a belt or chain), which ensures a secure hold during transport. Suitable load securing sets are available for many products, such as mobile collecting trays.

Always stay on the right route: If leaving site, always drive on the designated traffic route. 

Keep your distance: Keep a sufficient distance between you and doors, gates, stairs and passengers. 

Ensure safe storage: Before storing hazardous substances, make sure you are following the relevant legal requirements regarding the substance.

Practical equipment for the transport of hazardous substances

DENIOS manual handling products reduce transportation risks to a minimum and ensure the safe and efficient handling of your hazardous materials. Below you will find an overview of our product range!

Handling equipment

Safety and ergonomics in drum handling

Drum dollies, trolleys and lifters are essential to any manufacturing environment, providing the means for safely and easily moving steel and plastic drums around a work space. In many companies, hazardous substances are stored in these drums, making it even more important that they are transported safely and efficiently. Improper handling of these drums can lead to serious environmental and health risks:

Employees can be affected by the stress of manually moving drums, through lifting and holding drums. Manual handling can lead to tipping or dropping a barrel, which can quickly result in damage to the work area and the uncontrolled spill of hazardous substances – potentially exposing employees and the environment to harmful chemicals.

DENIOS offers an extensive range of work equipment, designed to keep the risks of on-site handling of hazardous substances to a minimum.

The universal item for easy transport

Our incredibly popular drum dollys allow for easy manoeuvring of standing barrels, both within the workplace and when transporting over short distances. Thanks to their light, space-saving construction and special manoeuvrability, our drum dollys are ideal for use in areas with limited space.

  • Available in all common barrel sizes (60, 200 and 220 litre barrels)
  • Made of heavy duty stainless steel, ideal for the food and pharmaceutical sectors
  • Option of a handle for more comfortable transport
  • Tilting function allows for emptying of the barrel by pump
  • With integrated drip tray (PE or steel)
  • Spark free models available for use in hazardous areas


Drum Dollys at DENIOS

Transporting goods has never been easier

With a drum trolley, heavy drums can be transported over long distances with significantly reduced effort. An integrated transport lock (such as a belt or chain) ensures a secure hold. Some models have the option of additional functions, e.g. function for loading collecting trays.

  • Compatible with all common barrel types (60, 200 and 220 litre barrels)
  • Fully rubberised tires available - allowing smooth and efficient transport
  • Pneumatic tires available for uneven surfaces
  • Tilt function to enable emptying of drums by pump
  • Additional function for loading collecting trays (depending on the model, up to a maximum of 365 mm tray height)
  • Spark free models available for use in hazardous areas


Load sump pallets and spill trays in a time-saving way

DENIOS drum lifters are indispensable to the manufacturing process. They allow energy-saving and precise lifting and lowering of drums, which is carried out by a lifting drawbar or foot hydraulics. Standard integrated steering wheels ensure good manoeuvrability and allow transport over shorter distances.

  • Compatible with all common barrel types (60, 200 and 220 litre barrels)
  • With special drum changer, allowing tipping of the drum for filling or storage
  • Different construction and lifting heights for different applications
  • Various, partly adjustable chassis variants, which allow over or under-running of Euro pallets or a start over corner 
  • Models available with battery drive for lifting and lowering without manual effort (optimal ergonomics with frequent use)


DENIOS drum lifters in the UK

Easy lifting of barrels in hard-to-reach places

Ideal for special application situations, such as the handling of salvage barrels or the targeted lifting of a barrel from the rear row. For special barrel handling products, crane attachments or drum tongs are the means of choice. They consist of steel or flexible chain that is simply hooked onto a crane. 

  • Compatible with all common barrel types (60, 200 and 220 litre barrels)
  • Ideal for lifting drums vertically
  • Available for standing or lying barrels


Drum Tongs at DENIOS UK - handling hazardous materials

Modify your forklift and save money on new equipment!

Do you need to move drums over long distances and outdoor areas? There's no need to buy new machinery for that. With practical attachments, your current forklift can be modified to meet the needs of your business. Our welded steel construction is a perfect fit for your forklift.

  • Compatible with all common barrel types (60, 200 and 220 litre barrels)
  • Grippers that allow for the simultaneous transport of 2 barrels - doubling your output!
  • Electrically dissipative models for use in hazardous areas
  • Special drum changers that allow the drum to be tilted for filling or storage
  • Special drum grippers for erecting barrels or for lying down for storage
  • Models for single-person operations, allowing drums and barrels to be held or tilted directly from the forklift
  • Specialised pliers for controlled turning and filling of drums


DENIOS Forklift Attachments - Handling hazardous materials in the UK

[Translate to en_IE:] Mobile. Practical. Safe. 

Consisting of a special plastic drum trolley with an integrated pump, the DENIOS mobile filling station has been specially developed for the flexible transfer and removal of chemicals and petroleum products at different locations. The system is easy to operate and provides users with a versatile and user-friendly equipment option.

  • Practical and easy-to-use barrel trolley made of chemical-resistant PE
  • Suitable for plastic and steel drums up to 220/200 litres
  • Integrated drain basin, hose guide and holding pump gun
  • Pump pipe and cable compartment
  • Integrated locking rod
  • Belt for transport safety
  • Compartments for storage, such as personal protective equipment
  • L x W x H approx. 600 x 600 x 1000 mm

The right pump for every situation

Our new mobile filling systems will be available in several designs. Depending on your business needs and application, you can choose between models with manual, electric and battery-powered pumps. 

  • Lightweight, compact pump in ergonomic design
  • Stepless control of filling quantity and automatic shutdown in case of overload
  • Replaceable battery with Li-ion technology
  • High capacity - up to 2500 litres with one battery charge
  • Includes 1.5 m hose and tap
  • Charger and flow meter available as accessories


Mobile filing station for chemicals
Mobile filing station for chemicals

Avoid ignition during lifting and handling! 

When moving barrels with mechanical aids in an Ex Zone (Explosion Hazardous Area), something as small as friction can create a devastating spark. 

That is why it is vital that you use only specialised equipment in an Ex Zones. 

Products such as the the DENIOS Secu Ex drum lifter have been constructed to be electrostatically dissipative, so they do not have to be grounded by a directly connected potential equalisation.



Handle small containers the smart way

Handle small containers the smart way

The on-site transport of hazardous substances in small containers - such as canisters and bottles - requires the utmost care and attention. One of the most common risks that this poses for businesses is the accidental spillage of hazardous substances during the handling process.

This is when you need a DENIOS expert handling solution. DENIOS mobile spill trays and sump pallets have been designed to prevent losses and drips, whilst being compatible with a full-range of hazardous substances. 

Unsure of what you need? Contact us now on: 02891 240 644 and one of our experts will be happy to advise you.

Effectively prevent drips and losses

Mobile collection trays are available in different designs and dimensions. We offer effective handling and storage solutions for the safe handling of hazardous substances within confined spaces and passageways. Thanks to smooth steering wheels and optional sliding brackets, they are comfortable and safe to manoeuver. 

  • Various designs available, with models made of steel and plastic
  • Suitable for canisters and small containers up to 200-litre drums
  • Models available with practical sliding brackets
  • Load securing sets are also available


Mobile Spill Tray

Transport your products with ease

The transport trolley basic model is ideal for transporting canisters and small containers to filling stations. The unloading of containers is not necessary – thanks to the stable swivel basket. This is customisable for canisters from 15 to 30 litres and enables time-saving and energy-saving filling directly from the transport trolley. 

  • Ideal for transporting canisters and other small containers
  • Perfect for optimal handling and safe transport
  • 2 smooth-running solid rubber wheels (200 mm)
  • Also available as a practical complete set - with mounted swivel basket - for canisters up to 30 litres - for use as a mobile filling station


Transport your products with ease

Transport small containers effortlessly

Transport of hazardous substances carries an increased risk of accidents and leaks. Our safe transport trolleys are made of high-resistant plastic, which is ideal when dealing with aggressive chemicals. They have been manufactured to be oil, alkali and acid resistant as well as corrosion free (due to the lack of steel components).  

  • Highly resistance to oils, acids, alkalis and other aggressive substances
  • Robust chassis
  • Large, rubber-tired rear wheels, and light-running front steering wheels, equipped with 2 parking brakes
  • Ergonomic handle which allows safe, fast and convenient transport
  • Corrosion-free and easy to clean


Transport Trolley Advanced Model

Transporting gas cylinders has never been safer

Transporting gas cylinders has never been safer

The transport of gases under pressure poses a particular risk to worker safety, as they have the potential to cause substantial injuries to both people and the workplace.  

This is why DENIOS provides a range of gas bottle trolleys and transport frames - that we strongly recommend for customers who are engaging in regular handling activities involving gas cylinders. Our products prevent gas cylinders from falling over, rolling away or being pushed during transport.

Handle gas cylinders safely and ergonomically

Gas cylinders can weigh over 70kg, which creates a variety of risks for both workers and production areas during manual handling exercises. These risks can be avoided with a DENIOS gas cylinder trolley, which allows the safe handling of gas cylinders without any heavy lifting.  

  • Models available for up to 2 50 litre gas cylinders
  • Available in steel or easy-to-use polyethylene (PE)
  • Option of air or full rubber tyres
  • Includes straps or fuse chains


Gas Handling

Professional solutions for large quantities

If you need to transport large quantities of gas cylinders over long distances, then you need special equipment. Carriage by forklift, lift truck or crane should only be carried out if gas cylinders are placed on specially designed transport pallets. In the DENIOS range, you will find transport frames for gas cylinders as well as crane-free gas cylinder pallets. 

  • Models available for up to 12 propane gas cylinders of 33 kg
  • Option of steel or easy-to-use polyethylene (PE)
  • Transportable with forklift, lift truck or crane


Gas Handling

Safely contain hazardous substances

Safely contain hazardous substances 

The safe handling of hazardous substances begins with suitable packaging. Packaging must be tailored to the properties and quantities of the hazardous materials that you are handling. Whether it's dangerous liquids or critical solids - you'll find a comprehensive range of safety containers here at DENIOS.

Many of our products have a UN transport permit for legally compliant transport outside of business premises. 


In most production environments, hazardous liquids need to be used on a daily basis. We understand the importance of making sure they are handled safely and efficiently, so we've created the DENIOS FALCON product line - designed to meet the diverse needs of businesses across the UK.

Our line of FALCON products includes a comprehensive range of solutions - made of steel, stainless steel and highly resistant HDPE - for the storing, transporting and dispensing of hazardous substances. FALCON storage and transport containers are ideal for when you need quick access to small quantities or have specific transport requirements.

Storage and transport cans

  • Made of steel or stainless steel - for use with flammable and aggressive liquids
  • Made of highly resistant HDPE for acids and alkalis
  • 1 to 5 litres volume
  • For safe storage and in-house transport
  • Screw cap with chemical-resistant PTFE seal (steel and stainless steel models additionally with integrated flame lock)
  • Ergonomic handle for safe handling
  • Incl. multilingual safety sticker for content marking according to GHS


Storage and transport cans

Storage and transport canisters

  • Made of steel or stainless steel - for use with flammable and aggressive liquids
  • 10 to 20 litres volume
  • UN approval for the transport of liquid substances in packaging groups I, II and III (UN 3A1/X/250/...)
  • Equipped with screw cap and large opening (approx. 43.5 mm)
  • Ventilation valve for uniform and fast emptying
  • Standard with flexible plastic outlet pipe (approx. 20 mm)
  • Incl. multilingual safety sticker for content marking according to GHS


Storage and transport canisters

Storage and transport containers

  • Made of steel or stainless steel - for use with flammable and aggressive liquids
  • 5 to 20 litres volume
  • UN approval for the transport of liquid substances in packaging groups I, II and III (UN 3A1/X/250/...)
  • Ventilation valve for uniform and fast emptying
  • Opening approx. 35 mm with ergonomic aluminium cap
  • Protection against damage caused by circulating protective ring
  • Incl. multilingual safety sticker for content marking according to GHS


Storage and transport containers

Containers for hazardous liquids

If you work with hazardous liquids, you will need safe and suitable containers. If materials need to go off-site, you will need specially approved products to safety contain and transport hazardous liquids. From small containers, hundred litre barrels and large collection tanks, DENIOS has got you covered:

Containers for hazardous liquids

Containers for hazardous solids

Dangerous solids can come in a variety of forms - from granules and powders through to metal residues, pastes and waste materials (such as cleaning cloths, which can be contaminated by hazardous liquids.) With the increasing use of lithium-ion technology, the safe storage and removal of old and possibly critical energy storage systems has become an important issue for businesses. Here at DENIOS, you will find the right solution for your business:

Containers for hazardous solids

Contact us!

Need advice on the right equipment for your business?
Contact DENIOS today and one of our team of experts will be happy to talk you through handling and storage solutions.