February 27th 2020
Guide for Hazardous Materials Classification
If you are involved in the handling, packing or transporting of hazardous materials, you may already know that several regulations must be followed to ensure safety. As a shipper, you must start by classifying the hazardous materials correctly. This will determine the right type of packaging and labeling to ensure the shipment has been prepared for safe transportation. In an emergency situation during transport, the first responders will also be aware of the hazards related to the shipment if ever there is a spill or a leak of hazardous materials. As Hazmat shipping experts, EZ-Ship Sofwares inc. understands how important it is to classify these hazardous materials and how to comply with regulations before shipping your products. We have prepared this hazardous materials classification guide to help you classify your materials.
As defined in 49 CFR 172.101 and 172, there are nine different classes of hazardous materials. From explosives to oxidizing substances to infectious substances, we’ll break it down for your understanding.
Class 1: Explosives
Any hazardous material that may detonate or conflagrate due to chemical reactions is classified as explosives. For instance, ammunition, airbag inflators and fireworks fall under this category.
Class 2: Gases
Any hazardous substances that may have a vapor pressure of 300 kPa or greater at 50 degrees Celsius fall into this category. They are also popularly known as class 2 hazardous materials and have three sub-divisions. Aerosols, compressed cases, fire extinguishers, and propane are some examples of hazardous gases.
Class 3: Flammable Liquids
Substances have a flashpoint of 60 degrees Celsius or lower (closed cup) are considered to be flammable liquids. Some of the most common flammable liquids, adhesives, paints, alcohol and gasoline.
Class 4: Flammable Solids
Readily combustible hazardous materials or self-reactive substances that undergo strong exothermic reactions are classified under flammable solids. There are three key subdivisions under this category too. Some of the most common flammable solids include materials like matches, sodium batteries and activated carbon. There is also a division for water-reactive substances.
Class 5: Oxidizing Substances, Organic Peroxides
Substances that have the capability to cause combustion as a part of a chemical reaction by yielding oxygen are called oxidizers. Organic peroxides are substances in which the organic radicals have replaced one or more of the hydrogen atoms in the overall chemical structure. Nitrates and ammonium nitrate fertilizers are two of the most common substances that fall under class 5.
Class 6: Toxic Substances and Infectious Substances
Any substance that is capable of causing harm to your health when inhaled, swallowed or when it comes in contact with skin is considered to be toxic. As for infectious substances, these include any microorganisms like virus and bacteria that can cause death or disease among living beings.
Class 7: Radioactive Material
Hazardous materials that have the capability to emit ionizing radiation that is dangerous to mankind is considered to be classified as radioactive materials. For instance, medical isotopes, density gauges, and depleted uranium fall under this classification.
Class 8: Corrosives
Substances which, by chemical action, will cause irreversible skin damage, or in the case of a leak will materially damage the packaging or means of transport. They can be extremely dangerous if they leak during transportation or otherwise. Batteries filled with acid or alkali, acids, acid solutions, caustic substances are some of the most commonly transported corrosives.
Class 9: Miscellaneous Hazardous Materials
Any hazardous materials or substances that are not classified under any of the above mentioned 8 classes are considered miscellaneous hazardous materials. The most common articles that falls under this category are lithium-ion batteries, vehicles, and first-aid kits.
All of the hazardous substances and materials are dangerous and have strict safety regulations that must be complied with while in storage and in transport. After being classified correctly, it is imperative to have them properly packaged, marked, labeled and placarded to be a safe Hazmat shipment. As experts in shipping hazardous materials, EZ-Ship has developed a visual guide that will help you with this process. Don’t forget to bookmark this handy hazardous material classification guide for all future references.