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Week in the Life of a Dangerous Goods Safety Advisor

At DACHSER, there is a wide range of different and responsible jobs. One of them is the Dangerous Goods Safety Advisor (DGSA). This role is of vital importance within the storage and transport chain in providing the expertise and knowledge which help to ensure that chemical goods reach their destination safely. Here we delve into a “Week in the Life” of one of our hardworking DGSAs, Gina Heywood, based at our Rochdale branch.
Gina Heywood - one of our hardworking DGSAs based in our Rochdale branch

Gina combines two main responsibilities in an important role for DACHSER UK. She is the branch DGSA as well as being a ‘DACHSER Expert Network Operations' (DENO). The responsibility of a DENO within DACHSER is best described as a business analyst and trainer for the operations departments. Gina’s in-depth understanding of DACHSER’s UK and European network combined with her extensive technical and practical knowledge and qualifications relating to the handling of dangerous goods makes her ideally qualified for this role. Gina is part of a team of three DGSAs in Rochdale; she has been qualified since January 2011, one colleague is newly qualified and another will be returning from maternity leave in the near future. Here, she talks about her daily life as a DGSA:


Start of the week and we have a new client who will be shipping consignments containing dangerous goods. The safety data sheet (SDS) for each product is checked for any necessary risk assessments and the UN numbers are checked against the Dangerous Goods master file to ensure that transport of the products is permitted within the groupage network. DACHSER has its own lists of transport bans, some of which are absolute and some conditional. Later on, we have our daily production meeting with the various operations and customer service departments to share information and address any queries.

Outside of work, I am a musician, playing the saxophone, cornet and piano in two bands and a saxophone quartet. Monday evening, living in the heart of Lancashire, it is my time for playing the cornet with a traditional brass band.


In the morning, we have our weekly branch DGSA meeting. We share information on any production issues and discuss the internal Dangerous Goods guidelines. These meetings are extremely valuable in order to share experiences and promote best practice internally, as well as addressing specific operational requirements relating to particular dangerous goods consignments or flows of business. This week, I also take this opportunity to carry out training on dangerous goods processes and rules within the DACHSER network, which are an important part of our daily operation. During the afternoon, I carry out my weekly checks of the line-haul drivers’ licences, Personal Protection Equipment and spill equipment.

Tuesday evening is funk and soul time, and I travel to south Manchester to rehearse with my band on the alto saxophone.


Help and advice is required for the Export department with some shipments we have been requested to collect by one of our European partners. The shipments contain dangerous goods with hazards which will clash with other shipments from other customers already planned for this evening’s departures. After some considerable scrutiny, some new load planning decisions are made! Following the daily operations meeting, I undertake analysis of the Short Distance production during the afternoon.

A busy evening follows with badminton scheduled after first teaching a group of children and adult brass players from the brass band training division.


The morning begins after breakfast with a swim at the local gym. I will push for 70 lengths in an hour but sometimes it’s only 60.

Today, at the office, a whole day of awareness training, covering the transport of dangerous goods by road, is scheduled. Throughout the year, the DGSA team will make presentations and carry out training for all blue collar and white collar operational staff (some 100 people in total) in all aspects of working with dangerous goods. Local and long-distance transport planners and clerks, bookings administrators, warehouse staff and drivers are all eligible for and included in the training programme.


The morning begins with a virtual classroom meeting with our Head Office in Kempten, southern Germany, and the other DENOs from almost every branch in the European Network. The topics this morning are varied, and this morning includes a presentation from a colleague in DACHSER France on the data integration of dangerous goods from our clients into our freight management system, along with options for the special routing of dangerous goods in our warehouses .

The afternoon is time for spot checks on import consignment data as well as physical shipments from our European partners plus outbound shipments from our own clients. I check the quality of the data in freight management system against the dangerous goods note and transport documents, and then track the pallets outside in the warehouse, checking on the quality of packaging, marking and labels. I conclude by making sure that our equipment in the warehouse is in order, including the spill equipment and protective clothing for the warehouse.

The end of another busy and varied week! It’s a good feeling to know that I’m part of a specialised team which is able to work in close co-operation with the other parts of the business, helping to secure the safe and compliant transport of dangerous goods in our network.

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