Dangerous Goods Classes

Dangerous goods are items or materials (solids, liquids or even gases), that pose hazards and that if mismanaged or uncontrolled, will be harmful to health and safety of humans, environment, animals and properties. It is critical that these dangerous goods are handled, packaged, labelled, stored and transported safely and in compliance with the different regulatory regimes operating at local, national and international levels.

Dangerous Goods Class 1 – Explosives

Class 1 is made up of explosive substances, explosive articles that contain one or more explosive substances and pyrotechnic substances. An explosive contains a great amount of potential energy. They can be solid or liquid capable of a chemical reaction that creates a sudden expansion of its material after initiation. This is usually accompanied by the production of light, heat, sound and pressure.


Dangerous Goods Class 2 – Gases

Class 2 comprises of gases and consists of liquefied gases, refrigerated liquefied gases, compressed gases, and gases in solution. Gases are dangerous goods for a number of reasons the main one that they are under pressure and could explode if involved in fire. They are assigned to one or more of three divisions depending of the hazard that they present. Division 2.1 is Flammable gas, 2.2 is Non-flammable non-toxic gas and 2.3 is Toxic gas.


Dangerous Goods Class 3 – Flammable Liquid

Class 3 comprises flammable liquids and applies to liquids that have a flash point of 60 ºC or below. A flash point refers to the lowest temperature at which sufficient flammable vapours are released to burn in air. Some flammable liquids give off highly flammable vapours at normal (ambient) temperatures. Examples of flammable liquids are ethanol, alcohol, nail polish, acetone, paint, kerosene, and petrol.


Dangerous Goods Class 4

Class 4 has three divisions. Flammable solids, spontaneously combustible solids, and Solids that are dangerous when they get wet.

Division 4.1 also includes self-reactive substances and de-sensitized explosives. By definition, a flammable solid is readily combustible by a brief contact with an ignition source. They may cause fire through friction, particularly, during transport and being readily combustible, they may also contribute to a fire.

Examples of Division 4.1 are sulfur, magnesium, naphthalene and safety matches. Division 4.2 includes pyrophoric substances and self-heating substances. These substances are liable to catch fire without the application of any ignition source and are usually products with high oil content.

Examples of Division 4.2 include carbon, cotton seed, copra, and also carbon paper.

Division 4.3 are substances which emit flammable vapours , usually hydrogen, when in contact with water.

Examples of Division 4.3 include sodium, lithium and zinc dust.


Dangerous Goods Class 5 – Oxidizing Substances and Organic Peroxides

Class 5 is made up of 2 divisions. Oxidizing substances and organic peroxides.

Division 5.1 contains substances that are able to give off oxygen when subjected to heat. This oxygen is then available to stimulate combustion of other substances.

Examples of Division 5.1 include granular pool cleaning chemicals and ammonium nitrate fertilizer.

Division 5.2 are also strong oxidizes but many are firmly unstable some even at normal temperature. These substances are subject to explosive decomposition, sensitive to sudden shock, impact or friction, can react violently with other substances, may explode or burn rapidly and cause corneal damage to eyes.

Examples of Division 5.2 include MEKP, dicumyl peroxide, dibenzoyl peroxide, and acetone peroxide.


Dangerous Goods Class 6 – Toxic and Infectious Substances

Class 6 is divided into 2 divisions. 6.1 are toxic substances and 6.2 are infectious substances.

Division 6.1 relates to substances that are poisonous. There are several factors use to determine if a substance meets the criteria of this hazard division. Dosage is the most important factor, and route of exposure is another one.

There are 3 ways that we can be poisoned. Orally or ingestion by the mouth, dermally or absorption through the skin and by inhalation or breathing contaminated air.

Examples of Division 6.1 include chloroform, arsenic, rodenticides, and snake venom.

Division 6.2 relates to 2 categories of substances. Category A are infectious substances that are known or are reasonably expected to contain microorganisms that can cause disease in humans or animals. And category B are biological substances, like virus cultures, pathology specimens and used intravenous needles.


Dangerous Goods Class 7 – Radioactive Material

Class 7 are radioactive materials categorized into one of three categories depending on the severity of the danger of the radioactive source.

There are various types of radiation. Alpha particles are relatively low and heavy. They have a low penetrating power and can be stopped with a sheet of paper. Beta particles are fast and light and have medium penetrating power. They can be stopped by a sheet of aluminium or plastic. Gamma rays are waves, not particles, and have a high penetrating power. It takes a thick sheet of metal such as lead or concrete to reduce them significantly.


Dangerous Goods Class 8 – Corrosives

Class 8 comprises corrosive substances and applies to substances that are capable of causing damage to living tissues and or chemical destruction of metals. It includes acids and alkalis or bases, which can have a violent reaction if mixed.

Examples of corrosive substances include hydrochloric acid & sodium hydroxide, sodium hypochlorite solution, mercury, and quicklime.


Dangerous Goods Class 9 – Miscellaneous

Class 9 contains articles and substances that don’t meet the criteria for any of the other 8 classes that are considered sufficiently dangerous to be regarded as dangerous goods.

Class 9 includes substances that are regarded as cancer producing or carcinogens, irritants, fire risk, asphyxiants and substances that are environmentally hazardous.

Examples are asbestos, dry ice, lithium batteries, expandable polymeric beads, and lifesaving appliances such as compressed gas, oxygen cylinders, self -igniting lights, flares, matches and pyrotechnics.