When is ventilation in your van mandatory?

You regularly see vans driving past with a miniature wind turbine on the roof. These are roof ventilation units which ensure that air is efficiently supplied and removed from vehicles. A lot of people think that a roof ventilation unit is only required when transporting gases and hazardous goods. But is that really the case?

What does the law have to say about this?

In Germany, it is mandatory to have a roof ventilation unit if you are transporting hazardous goods. In the Netherlands, there are currently no such regulations which is crazy, of course, as hazardous products such as gas cylinders, flammable liquids and chemicals can create highly dangerous situations. Sufficient ventilation is necessary in order to prevent the formation of explosive gas mixtures.

However, regulations relating to the transportation of hazardous substances in vans can be found in the Regulation on the land transport of dangerous substances (ADR) [Dutch: VLG]. If you carry limited quantities of hazardous substances in your van, the so-called 1000 points rule will apply. It specifies that sufficient ventilation must be provided in a van if you are carrying certain gases. This can be done by installing a roof ventilation unit.

Safe working environment
– Using a van as a mobilework place

There is no law relating to the transportation of other types of goods. However in many countries, the owner of a van has a duty of care towards the driver. An employer must ensure that his employees are able to work as comfortably and safely as possible. Therefore drivers must not be exposed to unnecessary risks such as heat or vapours. These risks can be eliminated by installing a roof ventilation unit, making working conditions as pleasant as possible.

Keep the temperature low

– transporting chilled or perishable goods

In addition, when transporting some goods, installing a roof ventilation unit is the right thing to do. For example, if you are transporting chilled or perishable products, you will want to keep the temperature inside your van as low as possible. Similarly, if you are transporting animals such as dogs, you will want to vent the heat out of your van and provide a supply of fresh air. During the day, the temperature inside unventilated vans can reach up to 38 ºC in the sun and even higher if the vehicle is stationary.

Reduce condensation

– transporting wet or moist goods

If wet overalls and equipment are kept in a vehicle a roof ventilation unit can reduce condensation . This can help to prevent damage to equipment and the interior caused by moisture and mould .