How Are Dangerous Goods Classified?

Dangerous goods are often transported by sea. But in certain situations that these hazardous goods are transferred by air, there are regulations set in place. First off, there is the so-called dangerous goods classification.

The dangerous goods classification is used to further identify how these dangerous substances vary from each other according to their physical and chemical properties. This information greatly helps during the handling and transporting of dangerous goods.

Without further ado, here are the different classes in the dangerous goods classification table according to the Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Class 1: Explosives

  • Division 1.1: substances and articles which have a mass explosion hazard.
  • Division 1.2: Substances and articles which have a projection hazard but not a mass explosion hazard
  • Division 1.3: Substances and articles which have a fire hazard and either a minor blast hazard or a minor projection hazard or both, but not a mass explosion hazard
  • Division 1.4: Substances and articles which present no significant hazard
  • Division 1.5: Very insensitive substances which have a mass explosion hazard
  • Division 1.6: Extremely insensitive articles which do not have a mass explosion hazard

Class 2: Gases

  • Division 2.1: Flammable gases
  • Division 2.2: Non-flammable, non-toxic gases
  • Division 2.3: Toxic gases

Class 3: Flammable liquids

These are liquids that will burn in the presents of an ignition source. They are used to run commonly used equipment such as the following: vehicles, generators and brush cutters. Specifically, it includes:

  • Liquids offered for transport at temperatures at or above their flash point; and
  • Substances that are transported or offered for transport at elevated temperatures in a liquid state and which give off a flammable vapor at a temperature at or below the maximum transport temperature.

Class 4: Flammable Solids

These are substances liable to spontaneous combustion and/or substances which, in contact with water, emit flammable gases. When flammable solids combust, they often emit toxic gases.)

  • Division 4.1: Flammable solids, self-reactive substances, and solid desensitized explosives
  • Division 4.2: Substances liable to spontaneous combustion
  • Division 4.3: Substances which in contact with water emit flammable gases

Class 5: Oxidizing substances and organic peroxides

  • Division 5.1: Oxidizing substances
  • Division 5.2: Organic peroxides

Class 6: Toxic and infectious substances

This class is divided into two divisions as outlined below:

  • Division 6.1: Toxic substances

–   These are substances liable either to cause death or serious injury or to harm human health if swallowed or inhaled or by skin contact.

  • Division 6.2: Infectious substances

–  These are substances known or reasonably expected to contain pathogens.  Pathogens are defined as micro-organisms (including bacteria, viruses, rickettsia, parasites, fungi) and other agents such as prions, which can cause disease in humans or animals.

Class 7: Radioactive material

Class 8: Corrosive substances

Class 9: Miscellaneous dangerous substances and articles

– These are substances and articles (miscellaneous dangerous substances and articles) are substances and articles which, during transport present a danger not covered by other classes.


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