The Inspectorate monitors whether shippers, agents, handlers and airlines adhere to the (ICAO) regulations concerning the safe transport of dangerous goods by air, for which the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management is responsible. The Inspectorate oversees compliance with legislation and monitors safety and security developments by means of risk based inspections.
Dangerous goods are transported through five Dutch airports: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Rotterdam Airport, Eindhoven Welschap, Groningen Eelde and Maastricht-Aachen Airport. The Inspectorate works closely with the Dutch Border Police, the customs department, the fire brigade, the aviation police and environmental services.
The Inspectorate monitors the following:
- transport of dangerous goods to/from the airport
- acceptance and handling procedures
- stowage and loading procedures in the warehouse
- transport of dangerous goods at the airport
- aircraft loading procedures
- training requirements for staff involved
They focus on the following issues:
- safety and security risks
- packaging and labelling
- documentation including Notification to Captain (NOTOC) (on the ground) and load sheets
- crew training
The Inspectorate also has the authority to check passengers’ baggage.
Security risks: 'from safety to security'
Before 9/11, inspections were primarily focused on the safety of the goods themselves. Since then, greater emphasis has been placed on security risks, with security and inspection services paying ever more attention to the possibility that dangerous goods can be used for terrorist attacks.
Since 2003, all checked baggage is screened along with hand baggage at Schiphol. In the United States and Switzerland, such practices were introduced earlier and experiences there have shown that greater volumes of forbidden substances are being detected due to more stringent controls. When this happens, the Inspectorate is notified and if the passenger is in violation of the regulations, a report is submitted to the public prosecutor’s office.
Types of inspection
When inspecting the transport of dangerous goods by air, the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate distinguishes between different types of inspection.
In the event of an exemption – where the transport companies involved have requested that the goods be transported in a way other than stipulated in the applicable regulations – the Inspectorate always carries out inspections in advance. Additional conditions apply to this kind of transport.
The types of inspection are:
- inspections on board aircraft
- company audits
- risk-based special interest inspections