The 9 Classes of Dangerous Goods

What are Dangerous Goods?

Dangerous goods are substances that pose a health or safety risk when being transported. The United Nations has created a nine-class system to categorize dangerous goods based on their properties. If a dangerous good falls under a few different classes, the most dominant property is used to determine the item’s class. Some dangerous goods, such as hazardous materials, also pose a risk in general, even when not in transportation. When transporting dangerous goods, there are specific regulations and requirements for each class of goods that must be followed. Dangerous Goods Packing Inc.’s experienced team has a proficient track record of effectively transporting all classes of goods quickly and safely. We provide solutions to all your dangerous goods needs.

1. Explosives

2. Flammable Gases

3. Flammable Liquids

4. Flammable solids

5. Oxidizing

6. Toxic & Infectious

7. Radioactive

8. Corrosives

9. Miscellaneous

Class 1: Explosives

Class one substances and articles are those which present a risk of exploding. When transporting class one goods at high speeds with changes in pressures due to the altitudes, a chemical reaction can occur, causing an explosion. These items are further classified into six subcategories of 1.1 – 1.6, based on their sensitivity and the nature of the explosion they may cause—the risk of exploding increases as the subclass increases. Class one goods are also all assigned a single letter to represent their compatibility with other items. The letter issued represents which items can be transported together with the class one dangerous good. The class one subcategories are as follows:

Class 1.1: Mass explosion hazards
Class 1.2: Projection hazard but no mass explosion hazard
Class 1.3: Fire hazard and minor blast or projection hazard
Class 1.4: Hazard in the event of initiation or ignition while being transported
Class 1.5: Mass explosion hazard
Class 1.6: Insensitive items with no mass explosion hazard

Some commonly transported class one dangerous goods include fireworks, ammunition cartridges, airbag inflators, blasting caps, and flares.

Class 2: Gases

Substances and articles that are present in a gas state are classified as class two dangerous goods. This class includes liquefied gases, refrigerated gases, compressed gases, and dissolved gasses. Gases can be highly flammable and toxic. Furthermore, some gases such as asphyxiant reduce the oxygen concentration in their surroundings. Due to their flammability, toxicity, and ability to reduce oxygen concentrations, class two dangerous goods pose a serious hazard during transportation. All class two gases are assigned to a subgroup that represents their dangerous properties. The subgroups are as follows:

A: Asphyxiant
O: Oxidizing
F: Flammable
T: Toxic
TF: Toxic & Flammable
TC: Toxic & Corrosive
TO: Toxic & Oxidizing
TFC: Toxic, Flammable & Corrosive
TOC: Toxic, Oxidizing & Corrosive

Class two substances are also classified into subdivisions based on the main hazard they pose. The subdivisions are as follows:

2.1: Flammable gases
2.2: Non-flammable & non-toxic gases
2.3: Toxic gases

Some commonly transported class two dangerous goods include aerosols, compressed air, fire extinguishers, lighters, and insecticide gases.

Class 3: Flammable liquids

Liquid substances and articles that are flammable are categorized as class three dangerous goods. This entails any liquid, liquids containing solids, or liquid mixtures that release a flammable vapour when heated to a flashpoint. Class three dangerous goods are a hazard due to their ability to combust and cause or perpetuate conflagrations. Commonly transported class three dangerous goods include acetone, alcohols, perfumery, heating oil, resins, and varnishes.

Class 4: Flammable Solids

All flammable solids are classified as class four dangerous goods. These are very dangerous during transportation because if they experience a lot of friction or undergo a self-chemical reaction, they can cause and contribute to fires. Some items in this class are prone to spontaneous heating and combusting when they come in contact with air or water. Due to their combustibility and volatile nature, they pose a hazard during transportation. Class four items are further organized into subcategories as follows:

Class 4.1: Flammable solids
Class 4.2: Items prone to spontaneous combustion
Class 4.3: items that emit a flammable gas when in contact with water

Commonly transported class four dangerous goods include metal powders, matches, activated carbon, and oily fibres.

Class 5: Oxidizers and Organic Peroxides

Substances that can cause or contribute to combustion are categorized as class five dangerous goods. They are further organized into the following subcategories:

Class 5.1: Oxidizing substances

These substances undergo chemical redox reactions causing them to yield oxygen as they decompose or combust.

Class 5.2: Organic Peroxides

These substances are derivatives of hydrogen peroxide, with one or more of the hydrogen atoms replaced with an organic radicle.
Although class five dangerous goods do not pose a huge hazard on their own of combusting, they can highly contribute to the combustion of other items. Some commonly transported class five dangerous goods include chemical oxygen generators, aluminum nitrate, hydrogen peroxide, sodium nitrate, and ammonium nitrate fertilizers.

Class 6: Toxic and Infectious Substances

Class six is composed of substances that can cause injuries or death by skin-contact or if ingested. These substances pose a hazard because they usually contain pathogens such as viruses, parasites, fungi, and bacteria that can cause sicknesses and diseases. Class six dangerous goods are divided into subcategories as follows:

Class 6.1: Toxic Substances

These substances can cause injuries or even death if absorbed by skin contact, inhaled, or consumed.

Class 6.2: Infectious Substances

These substances contain pathogens or other agents that can cause diseases.
Some commonly transported class six dangerous goods include clinical waste; medical samples, cultures and specimens; biological specimens, samples, and cultures; and tear gas substances.

Class 7: Radioactive Material

Class seven dangerous goods encompass any items that contain radionuclides where both the total activity and the activity concentration exceed the set values as stated in the regulations. A radionuclide is an atom containing an unstable nucleus, and for that reason, it undergoes radioactive decay. This poses a hazard during transportation because as decay occurs, the nuclide releases ionizing radiation that can cause serious health issues for people. Some commonly transported class seven dangerous goods include medical isotopes, density gauges, depleted uranium products, and radioactive ores.

Class 8: Corrosive

Class eight dangerous goods are corrosive substances that cause other substances’ disintegration upon contact. Corrosive substances pose a hazard because they can damage and destroy living tissue. Some commonly transported class eight dangerous goods include batteries, paints, fire extinguisher chargers, hydrofluoric acid, acid solutions, and fuel cell cartridges.

Class 9: Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods

Class nine dangerous goods consist of articles and substances that pose a hazard during transportation but do not fall into any of the other eight classes. Class nine includes magnetized substances, genetically modified organisms, environmentally hazardous substances, and aviation-regulated substances. These substances pose numerous hazards to their means of transportation and to the health and safety of the people around them. Class nine dangerous goods are organized into the following categories:

C1-C4: Acid substances
C5-C8: Basic substances
C9-C10: Other corrosive substances
C11: Corrosive articles
CF: Corrosive & flammable substances
CS: Corrosive & self-heating substances
CW: Corrosive substances that emit flammable gases when in contact with water
CO: Corrosive & oxidizing substances
CT: Corrosive & toxic substances
CFT: Corrosive, flammable & toxic liquids
COT: Corrosive, oxidizing & toxic substance

Some commonly transported class nine dangerous goods include chemical kits, castor bean plant products, dry ice, lithium-ion batteries, vehicles, and first aid kids.

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