Dangerous goods are substances and articles that are potentially hazardous to people and property. They may be corrosive, flammable, explosive, oxidizing or reactive with water. Whatever their properties and their potential for injury and destruction, great care is needed in their handling, storage and transport.

The Dangerous Goods (Storage and Handling) Handling Regulations require that dangerous goods, i.e., certain chemicals and gases, be stored in accordance with the law. These Regulations are designed to prevent accidents involving the range of chemicals which are known internationally as Dangerous Goods. These Regulations provide safety standards to protect worker, the community and the environment from the effects of fires, explosions and escapes of these Dangerous Goods.

The Classification System

Class Description & Examples Label
1 The Explosives class is sub-divided into six hazard divisions:
1.1 Substances and articles that have a mass explosion hazard - a mass explosion being one that affects almost the entire load virtually instantaneously.

Examples: TNT, ANFO
1.2 Substances and articles that have a projection hazard but not a mass explosion hazard.

Examples: some forms of ammunition, bombs, grenades
1.3 Substances and articles that have a fire hazard and either a minor blast hazard or a minor projection hazard or both, but not a mass explosion hazard. This includes substances that give rise to considerable radiant heat, or that burn one after another, producing minor blast or projection effects or both.

Examples: sodium picramate; Pyrodex®
1.4 Substances and articles that present no significant hazard. This class includes substances and articles that present only a small hazard in the event of ignition or initiation during transport. The effects of ignition or initiation are largely confined to the package and no projection of fragments of appreciable size or range is to be expected. An external fire should not cause virtually instantaneous explosion of almost the entire contents of the package.

Examples: propelling charges, fuses
1.5 Very insensitive substances that have a mass explosion hazard. These substances have a mass explosion hazard but are so insensitive that there is very little probability of initiation or of transition from burning to detonation under normal conditions of transport.

Examples: diperchlorate
1.6 Extremely insensitive articles that do not have a mass explosion hazard. These articles contain only extremely insensitive detonating substances and demonstrate a negligible probability of accidental initiation or propagation.

Examples: some forms of extremely insensitive ammunition
2 Gases are sub-divided as follows, based on the primary hazard of the gas during transport:
2.1 Flammable gases that, at 20°C and at a standard pressure of 101.3 kPa either:
  1. ignite when in a mixture of 13 per cent or less by volume with air; or
  2. have a flammable range with air of at least 12 percentage points, regardless of the lower flammable limit.

Examples: propane, LPG
2.2 Non-flammable non-toxic gases comprise gases that are transported at a pressure not less than 20kPa at 20°C, or as refrigerated liquids, and that:
  1. are asphyxiant, that is which dilute or replace the oxygen normally in the atmosphere; or
  2. are oxidising, that is which may, generally by providing oxygen, cause or contribute to the combustion of other material more than air does; or
  3. do not come under the other hazard divisions.

Examples: nitrogen, helium, compressed air, krypton, bromotrifluoromethane

2.3 Toxic gases comprise gases that:
  1. are known to be so toxic or corrosive to humans as to pose a hazard to health; or
  2. are presumed to be toxic or corrosive to humans because they have an LC50 value equal to or less than 5,000 mL/m3 (ppm).

Examples: chlorine, phosgene gas, hydrogen cyanide, ammonia
3 Flammable liquids are liquids, or mixtures of liquids containing solids in solution or suspension that give of a flammable vapour at a temperature not more than 60.5°C, closed cup test, or not more than 65.6°C, open cup test, normally referred to as the flash point.

Examples: gasoline and diesel fuels, hairspray, shaving cream, methylated spirits
4 Flammable solids; substances liable to spontaneous combustion; and substances that in contact with water emit flammable gases. This class is sub-divided as follows:
4.1 Flammable solids comprises:
  1. solids that, under certain conditions of transport, are readily combustible or may cause or contribute to fire through friction;
  2. self-reactive and related substances that are liable to undergo a strongly exothermic reaction; and
  3. desinsitised explosives that may explode if not diluted sufficiently.

Examples: safety matches, mothballs, camphor, firelighters
4.2 Substances that are liable to spontaneous combustion comprises substances that are liable to spontaneous heating under normal conditions encountered in transport; or to heating up in contact with air, and being then able to catch fire.

Examples: white phosphorus, calcium dithionite, ferrous metal shavings, maneb, activated carbon (other than steam activated)
4.3 Substances that in contact with water emit flammable gases comprises substances that, by interaction with water, are liable to become spontaneously flammable or to give off flammable gases in dangerous quantities.

Examples: lithium, sodium, calcium carbide
5 Oxidizing substances & organic peroxides. This class is sub-divided as follows:
5.1 Oxidizing substances comprises substances that, while in themselves not necessarily combustible, may, generally by yielding oxygen, cause, or contribute to, the combustion of other material.

Examples: ammonium nitrate fertilizer, potassium permanganate, hydrogen peroxide, nitric acid (conc.)
5.2 Organic peroxides comprise organic substances that contain the bivalent -0-0- structure and may be considered derivatives of hydrogen peroxide, where one or both of the hydrogen atoms have been replaced by organic radicals. Organic peroxides are thermally unstable substances, that may undergo exothermic self-accelerating decomposition. In addition, they may have one or more of the following properties:
  1. be liable to explosive decomposition;
  2. be liable to burn rapidly;
  3. be liable to be sensitive to impact or friction;
  4. be liable to react dangerously with other substances; or
  5. be liable to cause damage to the eyes.

Examples: benzoyl peroxide, di-tert-butyl peroxide
6 Toxic and infectious substances. This class is sub-divided as follows:
6.1 Toxic substances comprises substances liable either to cause death or serious injury or to harm human health if swallowed or inhaled or by skin contact.

Examples: lead oxide, lignocaine, srychnine, formaldehyde, cyanides
6.2 Infectious substances are those substances known or reasonably expected to contain pathogens.

Examples: anthrax spores (bacillus anthracis), toxoplasma gondii, HIV
7 Radioactive materials are defined as any material for which the specific activity is greater than 70 kBq/kg.

Examples: carbon-14, phosphorous-32, smoke detectors
8 Corrosive substances are substances that, by chemical action, will cause severe damage when in contact with living tissue, or, in the case of leakage, will materiallydamage, or even destroy, other goods or the means of transport; they may also cause other hazards.

Examples: car batteries, sodium hydroxide (Draino®), sodium hypochlorite, detergent concentrate
9 Miscellaneous dangerous goods and articles comprises substances and articles that during transport present a danger not covered by other classes, and include substances that are transported or offered for transport at temperatures equal to or exceeding 100°C in a liquid state or at temperatures equal to or exceeding 240°C in the solid state.

Examples: dry ice (carbon dioxide, solid), air-bag inflators, polystyrene beads (evolving flammable vapour)