Hazardous Substances

Management of Hazardous Substances

Licensing Controls

Licensing controls are implemented under the Environmental Protection and Management Act (EPMA) and the Fire Safety Act. The licensing controls prevent unauthorised persons from handling such substances and ensure proper safeguards are taken at all times in the handling of the substances to prevent and mitigate accidental releases if they occur.

The following licensing controls over the import, transport, storage and use of hazardous substances are implemented under The Environmental Protection and Management Act (EPMA) and its Regulations:

Hazardous Substances Licence Control

Any person who wishes to import, sell or export any hazardous substance controlled under the Environmental Protection and Management Act (EPMA) must obtain a Licence.

A licence will be issued to a person if:
  • he can show proof that the Hazardous Substances will be stored safely in an approved location and in compliance with all storage requirements;
  • the use of the Hazardous Substances at his factory has been approved;
  • he has sat and passed the Management of Hazardous Substances Course conducted by accredited list of training providers); and
    his academic qualification must be at least a technical diploma

  • Hazardous Substances Permit Control

    Any person who wishes to purchase, store and/or use any hazardous substance controlled under the Environmental Protection and Management (Hazardous Substances) Regulations must obtain a Permit.

    A Permit will be issued to a person if:
  • he can show proof that the Hazardous Substances will be stored safely in an approved location and in compliance with all storage requirements;
  • the use of the Hazardous Substances at his factory has been approved; and
  • he has declared that he has read and understood the Environmental Protection and Management Act (EPMA) and its Regulations.

  • An electronic application can be submitted for a Hazardous Substances Licence/Permit via the following link at: https://www.gobusiness.gov.sg/licences

    Transport Approval Control


    Any person who wishes to transport any hazardous substance in quantities exceeding the limits specified in the Environmental Protection and Management (Hazardous Substances) Regulations (see Table 2) must obtain a Transport Approval. The limits varies from 0 kg for highly toxic chemicals such as organochlorines pesticides to 1000 kg for corrosives such as sulphuric acid.

    A Transport Approval will be issued to a person if:
  • he holds a Licence to handle hazardous substances; and
  • he can show proof that the Hazardous Substances will be transported safely in compliance with all transportation requirements.

  • The licence holder can also submit an online application for a Hazardous Substances Transport Approval.

    Import Control

    The most effective stage of control to ensure that all chemicals that enter Singapore can be and will be safely managed and handled at all times by approved competent licence holders is at the import stage.

    Under the Environmental Protection and Management Act (EPMA), all import of Hazardous Substances listed under Second Schedule of the Act must be approved by CCMD. CCMD will approve the import only if:
  • the Hazardous Substances are stated in the importer's licence,
  • there is a valid transport approval for the Hazardous Substances if the Hazardous Substances are to be transported out of the port.

  • Technical Requirements Under Licensing Controls

    The Environmental Protection and Management Act (EPMA) and its Regulations provide provisions for technical requirements to be imposed and complied with to ensure the safe management and handling of hazardous substances and to prevent an accident from occurring. These technical requirements are briefly described below.

    Storage Requirements

    The storage area should be sheltered; fenced-up; under lock and key; provided with kerb/hump all round the storage area; provided with fire protection and safety facilities; equipped with leak detection and warning devices and emergency scrubbing systems for storage of toxic gases.

    The containers and storage tanks for the chemicals must be designed, manufactured and tested in accordance to an internationally-acceptable standards.

    Hazardous Substances Licence and Permit holders must keep records of stock movements of the hazardous substances in accordance to the formats specified by CCMD.

    Adequate emergency action plan (see Annex 1) for dealing with any accidental release of chemicals must be drawn; with adequate stock of emergency equipment such as neutralising agent, adsorbents, oversized drums, protective gears, etc on kept on standby.

    The implementation of a safety audit procedure is strongly encouraged to systematically identify and rectify weaknesses in the management system and practices of handling hazardous chemicals on a regular basis. Attached are the elements that should be audited and a list of consultants that are able to conduct such audits. (see Annex 2 & 3)

    Transport Requirements

    The containers and tankers used for bulk chemical transportation must be designed, manufactured and tested in accordance to an internationally-acceptable standards. The tankers must be certified by an approved third party inspection body to have met the stipulated standards (see Annex 4) before it can be used for transportation on Singapore roads.

    The containers, tankers and vehicles must be properly labelled and carry appropriate hazard warning panels.

    All transportation of controlled Hazardous Substances must strictly adhere to NEA's approved routes and must be between 9.00 am and 5.00 pm (Monday to Saturday excluding Sundays and Public Holidays).

    All drivers must be trained in the handling of accidental spills and have attended the HazMat Driver Course conducted by SCDF's Civil Defence Academy or Singapore Port Institute (PSA Institute). Drivers renewing their Hazardous Material Transport Driver Permit (HTDP) are required to attend the HazMat Driver's Course once every 2 years.

    An adequate transportation emergency response plan (TERP) (see Annex 5) must also be put up to deal with any accidental release of the hazardous substances; with adequate stock of emergency equipment carried on the vehicles; such as chemical fire extinguisher, neutralising agent, adsorbents, oversized drums, protective gears, etc.

    The consignor has to prepare a set of instructions for the carrier or transport company containing the following:
  • information on the hazards of hazardous substance and safety precautions for its safe handling,
  • restrictions on the mode of transport and any necessary routing instructions,
  • special operational requirements for loading, unloading and transport or a statement that none is needed, emergency response plan for transportation of the hazardous substances.

  • The carrier is required to obtain a set of the above instructions from the consignor and be conversant with the information it contained before proceeding to transport the consignment of the hazardous substance. The carrier must instruct and train his driver to ensure he understood the instructions given and is capable of carrying them out effectively. All documents pertaining to the chemicals transported (i.e. MSDS, transport approval and all emergency response, spill control and first aid equipment) should be kept within ready reach in event of emergency.

    The consignor has to ensure that the instructions given to the carrier are accurate and sufficient to enable the carrier to carry out the transportation safely. The consignor is also required to be present on-site to personally deal with any chemical release during transportation.

    Tanks of road tankers and tank containers used for transporting hazardous substances must meet approved standards of design, construction and testing. The design of the tanks must be reviewed and its construction surveyed by an approved third party inspection body. Once the third party inspection body is satisfied that the tank or tank container meets the approved standards, it will issue an initial inspection certificate. Under the approved standards, the tank and tank container must undergo periodic inspections.

    The following standards are acceptable:
  • European Agreement of Road Transport of Dangerous Goods (ADR Standards)
  • United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (UN Standard)
  • International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code)
  • United States Code of Federal Regulations (US-DOT Standards)

  • Labels are given for each class of hazardous substances and should be affixed on packagings and the vehicle. Road tankers and vehicles carrying hazardous substances in tank containers should have Emergency Information Panels.

    These are hazard warning panels containing the following emergency information:
  • the appropriate class label and subsidiary risk label, if any
  • the accurate technical name of the substance
  • the UN number of the substance
  • the Hazchem code number
  • contact numbers and names of company and emergency response authorities

  • Transportation Emergency Response Plan


    Notwithstanding the controls and precautions taken, one cannot rule out the possibility of spillages and accidental releases of hazardous substances during transportation. With well drawn up emergency plans and proper training, such releases can be effectively contained and the damage to the environment and dangers to the health and safety of public minimised.

    As a condition for granting licences and transport approvals, companies are required to put up emergency response plans.

    The plan must be comprehensive and should contain the following key elements:
  • notification procedures; (persons and authorities to contact and how to contact)
  • emergency procedures to contain and decontaminate spills; (immediate actions to be taken by driver/ground staff and actions to be taken by the company upon being informed)
  • emergency equipment to be carried on the vehicle and at base such as personal protection equipment, absorbents, neutralising solutions and salvage drums;
  • Material Safety Data Sheets of the hazardous substances transported.

  • The emergency response plan (ERP) shall be submitted to CCMD before a Transport Approval may be issued.

    Under the provisions of The Environmental Protection and Management (Hazardous Substances) Regulations, in the event of a chemical fire / release, the licence holders/transport approval holders are required to:
  • block off the area contaminated by the hazardous substance;
  • notify SCDF and NEA;
  • take immediate action to have the area decontaminated and return the situation to normal.