Transport of dangerous goods needs to be regulated in order to prevent, as far as possible, accidents to persons or property and damage to the environment, the means of transport employed or to other goods.
However, with different regulations in every country and for different modes of transport, international trade in chemicals and dangerous products would be seriously impeded, if not made impossible and unsafe. Moreover, dangerous goods are also subject to other kinds of regulations, such as work safety regulations, consumer protection regulations, storage regulations and environmental protection regulations.
In order to ensure consistency between all these regulatory systems, the United Nations has developed mechanisms for the harmonisation of hazard classification criteria and hazard communication tools (GHS – Globally Harmonized System) as well as for transport conditions for all modes for transport (TDG – Transportation of Dangerous Goods).
In addition, the UNECE administers regional agreements that ensure the effective implementation of these mechanisms as far as transport of dangerous goods by road, rail and inland waterways are concerned.