What does the law state reguarding off duty status eg: lunch ,coffee breaks etc. when hauling dangerous goods?
You won’t find any mention of off-duty status in the Canadian Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) driver’s handbook because there are no special requirements or restrictions with which drivers must comply. There are restrictions that apply exclusively to Class A and B exlopsives, which state that a driver or authorised representitive must be present with the vehicle at all times, but they apply only to certain classifications of Dangerous Goods.
The TDG Act does require that the load’s documentation must remain with the load at all times, either in a designated holder on the cargo body, or in the cab of the truck, even when the driver is away from the truck.
The documentation must be stored within reach of the driver while he’s aboard the vehicle, or must be stored on the drivers seat, visible to a viewer peering in the window while the driver is away from the truck.
The American regulations don’t specifically mention off-duty status, either, in the wording of the text, but they do make specific demands as far as parking and storage of trucks containing dangerous goods. The U.S. rules say that a truck laden with classified substances must not be parked or left unattended on a public street or highway --the operative word being ‘public.’ The rules do not apply to truckstop parking lots or other private properties. The rules do say that the owner or person in charge of the properties must be notified when dangerous goods are left parked on their facilities.
In other words, you can’t just park it along the shoulder of the road and walk away, even when you’re having lunch. The truck must be properly parked, and the bills placed in such a way so that a responder can see the documentation to verify the contents.
A word of caution here: if you’re taking your paperwork into a restaurant, always leave a copy of the bill of lading with all of the appropriate information in the truck.
Regardless of the regulations, it’s always a good idea to park dangerous goods away from any potential danger, such as busy or crowded areas in truckstops. Why increase the risk of an incident by exposing the truck to tight parking spaces or heavily traveled areas. Park out back somewhere, where it’s quite.