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What are the nine classes of dangerous goods?

Ensuring Safe Carriage of Dangerous Goods - all you need to know about dangerous/hazardous goods...


Dangerous Goods: Classification, Packaging and Labelling – Considerations For Transporting Dangerous Goods

Whether you are transporting paint, perfumes, batteries or a dangerous chemical; ensuring they are packed and labelled correctly is paramount to ensure smooth transportation in the safest and most professional way.

These are all classed as dangerous goods and there are rules and regulations that must be adhered to when it comes to the transportation of these goods.

We have compiled a ‘get to know’ guide on the nine materials that fall under the category of dangerous/hazardous goods and the requirements for their transportation.


How Do You Classify Dangerous Goods?

Dangerous goods are any items that can have a negative effect on human health, no matter how minute. These materials, if not properly controlled can present themselves with the cause of potential harm to either human health and safety, infrastructure and/or the means of transport which the items are present in.

Dangerous goods also come under the ‘hazardous materials’ heading, both have the same meaning, just with a different title.

Hazardous materials may be purely chemical, a mixture of substances, or, manufactured products which can pose a risk to people, animals and the environment if not properly handled with care whilst in use or in transport.

Before transporting any item, you need to ensure you know and understand the nature of your goods and if they fall into this classification. It may not always be obvious!


What Are The Nine Dangerous Goods Classes?

The United Nations Model Regulations use a classification system in which each of the nine recognised dangerous goods falls under a class, this class is dependent on the danger and risk the said good has to humans, the environment and so on.

The nine classes are as followed:

Class 1. Explosives
Explosives have molecules designed to rapidly change their (usually solid) into very hot gas, in order to produce a sudden and violent physical effect.

Class 2. Gases
Gases mainly get carried under pressure, this reduces their volume and in turn saves space in both transport and storage.

Class 3. Flammable Liquids
Some flammable liquids are obtained from petroleum such as petrol and kerosene whereas others are manufactured through natural or industrial processes like alcohol.

Class 4. Flammable Solids
Flammable solids are broken up into three sub brackets; flammable solids, spontaneously combustible and dangerous when wet.

Class 5. Oxidising Substances
Oxidising substances are broken into two branches; oxidising agents and organic peroxides.

Class 6. Toxics and Infectious Substances
These break into two as the name suggests, both ‘Toxics’ and ‘Infectious Substances’ as stand alones.

Class 7. Radioactive Material
Radioactive materials are materials that contain unstable atoms that change structure spontaneously in a random fashion over a time period.

Class 8. Corrosives
Corrosives are highly reactive materials that produce a positive chemical effect that can result in a change within the said affected material.

Class 9. Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods
The final class is where confusion sometimes sets in. Class nine covers substances and articles that can present a danger during carriage, however, these don’t specifically fall under any of the other eight headings.


Dangerous Goods Shipping: Rules & Regulations

As with any item that needs transporting, dangerous goods have their own set of rules and regulations, similar to the more commonly known incoterms.

If you choose to transport these goods via air, then The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) will be your first port of call. The ICAO’s technical instructions are an internationally agreed set of provisions governing the requirements for transporting dangerous goods (via airspace).

On top of this organisation, we also have the International Air Transport Association (IATA) that publishes the dangerous goods regulation in accordance with the ICAO.

Each method of transport has its own regulations and we will cover these in detail in future blogs on our website.


Transporting Dangerous Goods Safely

All dangerous goods need to be shipped with care and this starts with the packaging process.

Every product should be packaged to a standard which complies with the international and national regulations for your specific mode of transport, abiding by these rulings fully will ensure that your goods are carried safely.

Whilst taking on board the specific rules per mode of transport everything ultimately needs to be tightly padded, braced and secure so there is no risk of damage and threat to life.

 Not adhering to the rules and taking shortcuts can slow down the transportation process as goods can be refused resulting in additional costs.


Dangerous Goods Labels

Finally, and most importantly, is the labelling of your goods. 

The Dangerous Goods Note is a legal requirement for the transport of dangerous goods by air, sea and road.

The person responsible for signing the Dangerous Goods Note is required by law to have received the appropriate training.

The safe carriage of dangerous goods requires numerous considerations and legal requirements. Transporting without the right knowledge is a big risk for any organisation.


If you have any questions about goods that you believe may fall under the dangerous/hazardous goods bracket do feel free to contact us -

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