Explosives are materials or items which have the ability to rapidly catch fire or detonate as a consequence of chemical reaction. Explosives are capable by chemical reaction of producing gases at temperatures, pressures and speeds as to cause catastrophic damage through force and/or of producing otherwise hazardous amounts of heat, light, sound, gas or smoke. Class 1 explosives are assigned to UN Packing Group II.

Explosives are further divided into three risk categories for the purposes of transportation:

  • Category 1: low risk

  • Category 2: moderate risk

  • Category 3: high risk.

The common compatibility groups for Class 1 explosives encountered in NSW are:

  • B – articles containing a very sensitive primary explosive substance.

  • C – an explosive substance used to propel projectiles out of a weapon.

  • D – a detonating explosive that can cause mass destruction.

  • G – a pyrotechnic substance or article used to give light, create smoke, or give a loud report.

  • S – a substance or article packed in a package in a manner that it will not present any significant hazard if it is accidentally functioned within that package.

Driver and vehicle licenses are required for the transport of explosives where they are transported in a Category 3 (High Risk) quantity.​ The Regulator for the handling, storage, distribution, and transportation of Explosives in New South Wales is SafeWork NSW.  

Per the NSW Explosives Regulation 2013, an explosives transport license is not required to transport the following quantities of explosives:


  • Power device cartridges 10,000 items; 

  • Distress signals 10 kg;

  • Life-saving appliances 10 kg (including air bag inflators, air bag modules and seatbelt pretensioners of Division 1.4);

  • Division 1.4 explosives 10 kg (unless detonators or safety cartridges of Class 1.4S, percussion caps of Class 1.4S for firearms, or fireworks);

  • Toy fireworks 1000 kg.

  • Security Sensitive Ammonium Nitrate (SSAN) ≤20 kg. Note, although  SSAN is not Class 1, it is still classified and regulated as an explosive under the NSW Explosives Regulation. 

See here for a detailed table of Class 1 explosives that are OK to be transported without a explosives transport license. (Note, other legal requirements and procedures required of other Classes of DG transport and security measures specific to explosives are still required regardless of whether the driver needs a license or not. 



Division 1.1: Substances and articles which have a mass explosion hazard. Examples are nitroglycerin, gunpowder, detonators, demolition charges, grenades, mines, bombs, etc. Detonators of 1.1B are categorized as "low risk" if their quantity is ≤125 items, "moderate risk" if their quantity is >125–5000 items, and "high risk" if their quantity is >5000 items. All other Division 1.1 articles are "low risk" if their quantity is ≤5kg, "moderate risk" if >5–250kg, or "high risk" if >250kg.

Division 1.2: Substances and articles which have a projection hazard but not a mass explosion hazard. Examples are bullets, explosive sounding devices, aerial flares, etc. A Division 1.2 substance is classified as "low risk" if the quantity is ≤5kg, "moderate risk" if >5–250kg, and "high risk" if quantities are >250kg.


Division 1.3: Substances and articles which have a fire hazard and either a minor blast hazard or a minor projection hazard or both, but not a mass explosion hazard. Examples include flares, flash powder, igniters, etc. In Division 1.3 a "low risk" quantity = ≤50kg, a "moderate risk" quantity = >50–1000kg, and a "high risk" quantity = >1000kg.


Division 1.4: Substances and articles which present no significant hazard. These are substances with effects that in the event of ignition or initiation during transport are largely confined to the package and no projection of fragments of appreciable size or range is to be expected. Examples include cap type primers, detonators, cartridges, ship distress signals, fireworks, etc. Detonators of Division 1.4B or 1.4S can be either "low risk" or "moderate risk" categories if quantities are ≤125 items. All quantities of Division 1.4S (other than Detonators) are category "low risk" only. All other articles in Division 1.4 may be either "low risk" or "moderate risk" if quantities are ≤250kg. No quantity of articles in Division 1.4 fall into the category of "high risk." A driver does not require an explosives transport license if transporting 10kg or less of Division 1.4 explosives, with the exception of detonators, safety cartridges, or percussion caps for firearms of Division 1.4S; or fireworks, however general DG transportation protocols still apply and items must be transported under a proper explosives Security Plan.


Division 1.5: Very insensitive substances which have a mass explosion hazard. These are substances which are so insensitive that there is very little probability of initiation or of transition from burning to detonation under normal conditions of transport. There are only three entries under Division 1.5, consisting of two types of blasting agents and a general N.O.S category for "very insensitive" substances. In Division 1.5 substances ≤25kg are "low risk", "moderate risk" = >25-250kg, and "high risk" = >250kg.


Division 1.6: Extremely insensitive articles which do not have a mass explosion hazard. These are articles which demonstrate a negligible probability of accidental initiation or propagation. There is only one entry in Division 1.6: UN 0486 ARTICLES, EXPLOSIVE, EXTREMELY INSENSITIVE (ARTICLES EEI). Articles of Division 1.6 are "low risk" if quantities are ≤25kg, or "moderate risk" if >25kg. No quantity of Division 1.6 articles are categorized as "high risk."

Transport Rules

All packagings for Class 1 goods must be so designed and constructed that: (a) they will protect the explosives, prevent them escaping and cause no increase in the risk of unintended ignition or initiation when subjected to normal conditions of transport, including foreseeable changes in temperature, humidity and pressure; (b) the complete package can be handled safely in normal conditions of transport; and (c) the packages will withstand any loading imposed on them by foreseeable stacking to which they will be subject during transport so that they do not add to the risk presented by the explosives, the containment function of the packagings is not harmed, and they are not distorted in a way or to an extent which will reduce their strength or cause instability of a stack.

A transport document must be completed and accompany each consignment of explosives. An aggregated transport document may be used for multiple consignments from one consignor, which are carried on the same vehicle.

All vehicles used to transport explosives, other than unrestricted explosives must comply with the following requirements: (a) the passenger compartment of a vehicle must not be used for the transport of explosives, (b) when explosives are transported, the explosives must not be accessible from the cabin of the vehicle. The consignor, owner of the vehicle, and driver of the vehicle must ensure that any receptacle, carry box, other enclosed portion of a vehicle containing explosives, or closed transport unit is lockable and locked during the actual transport and when explosives are not being loaded into or accessed in the vehicle.


The consignor and person supervising the loading of the vehicle must ensure that the driver of the vehicle is provided with an Emergency Procedure Guide appropriate to each type of explosives so loaded in addition to required documentation, before the vehicle leaves the premises or place where the explosives are loaded. (See Pages 92-96 of the Australian Code for the Transport of Explosives by Road and Rail 3rd edition.) The guide(s) are to be placed in the Emergency Information Holder in the cabin of the vehicle, as required otherwise for any placard load of dangerous goods in other Classes and Divisions. Bulk loads of explosives require the same onboard PPE requirements as Class 8 substances, i.e. the maximum PPE requirements of all Classes and Divisions of transportable dangerous goods. 


The driver of the vehicle must not unload explosives at any premises or place unless the consignee, or a person authorized by the consignee, is present to receive the explosives. Upon arrival at the final destination the consignor must ensure that a recorded check or audit is carried out at the final destination to determine that there is no discrepancy between the quantities and types of explosives loaded and unloaded against the documentation. This applies to all quantities of explosives including low risk quantities where a DG driver license is not otherwise required. 


Note: DGTNSW is not licensed at this time to transport HIGH RISK Class 1 Explosives (for which a license to transport explosives under the NSW Explosives Regulation is required.) DGTNSW is able to transport unrestricted explosives including exempted articles and most articles in Class 1.4S (e.g ammunition, fuse, etc) in quantities equal to or less than 10kg, however these still need to be transported under the consignor's Security Plan and regular DG protocols (although vehicle placards are not required.) 

Commonly Transported Explosives

  1. Ammunition / cartridges

  2. Fireworks / pyrotechnics

  3. Flares

  4. Blasting caps / detonators

  5. Fuse

  6. Primers

  7. Explosive charges (blasting, demolition etc)

  8. Detonating cord

  9. Air bag inflators

  10. Igniters

  11. Rockets

  12. TNT / TNT compositions

  13. RDX / RDX compositions

  14. PETN / PETN compositions