Dangerous goods can cause serious injury and even death if not handled properly, so knowing what their types are is important for handlers to be able to deal with them properly. Doing so is also important so that the right dangerous goods labels and printed label tapes are used.
Here are the nine different classifications of dangerous goods according to the Australian National Standard for the Storage and Handling of Dangerous Goods.
Explosives are substances that contain a large amount of potential energy, producing a sudden and instantaneous release of gas, light, or heat (or all of the above) when subjected to shock, pressure or temperature changes, accompanied by a loud noise. Examples of explosive material include aerosol cans, display fireworks, ammonium sulfide, and plutonium-239.
Gas is defined as an airlike fluid substance that expands freely to fill any space available. There are three subclasses for gases:
- Flammable gases, which ignite upon contact with an ignition source (e.g. butane, hydrogen);
- Non-flammable gases, which are neither flammable nor poisonous (e.g. ammonia, carbon dioxide); and
- Poisonous gases, which can cause death or injury to human health (e.g. chlorine, phosgene).
Flammable liquids are similar to flammable gases in that they have the same tendency to catch fire when they come in contact with an ignition source. Common examples of flammable liquids are isopropyl alcohol, acetone and gasoline.
Like flammable liquids, these dangerous goods easily catch fire upon contact with an igniting component. They are classified under three subclasses, which are:
- Solids that ignite upon contact with an ignition source or friction (matches, batteries);
- Solids that are liable to spontaneous combustion, igniting within five minutes after exposure to air (coal, pistachio kernels); and
- Solids that emit a flammable gas when wet (lithium, francium).
Oxidising substances are substances that can cause or contribute to the combustion of other objects. There are two subclasses for these substances:
- Oxidising agent: These substances can cause or enhance the combustion of other materials.
- Organic peroxides: These goods are thermally unstable and are liable to explosive decomposition and rapid burning, among other reactions.
Toxic and infectious substances
Toxic and infectious substances are substances that can cause death and serious injury to human health upon exposure. These substances can be classified as either poison, which can kill or seriously harm those who are exposed, or a biohazard, containing pathogens (bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites etc.) that cause massive infection.
These are goods that emit radiation energy (e.g. alpha, beta, and gamma rays or particles) which are harmful to living tissue upon exposure. Prolonged exposure to radioactive material can cause effects that are both short-term and long-term, with the latter leading to cancer and death. Examples of radioactive material include iodine-131, cobalt-60 and plutonium-239.
Corrosive substances are substances that can chemically destroy body tissues upon contact, with some of these substances also causing corrosion in exposed metals. Most of these substances are either acids (e.g. acetic and sulfuric) or bases (e.g. ammonia water and caustic soda).
Miscellaneous substances are those that are not listed under the previous eight classes but still cause chemical reaction or discomfort. Common examples of these include dry ice, lithium ion batteries, and genetically modified micro-organisms.
Dangerous goods labels by Hunter Industrial Supplies
If your site typically handles dangerous goods - or if you frequently send out these goods in packages - it’s important to make sure that you never run out of the appropriate printed label tapes. Hunter Industrial Supplies offers dangerous goods labels and printed label tapes that make it easy for the handlers of these packages to identify them and determine the right ways for dealing with them, ensuring safety.
Visit the Hunter Industrial Supplies website to view our range of printed label tapes, dangerous goods labels and other packaging labels and markers. Don’t forget to read our other blogs for more tips on item packaging and storage.