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Classification of Dengerous Goods
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

Australia has adopted a system of classification and labelling for dangerous goods based on the United Nations system used in other countries. This system helps people to quickly recognize dangerous goods, their properties and dangers.

  • 1 Explosives
  • 2.1  Flammable gas
  • 2.2  Non- flammable   
  • 2.2  Oxidizing gas
  • 2.3  Toxic gas
  • 3      Flammable liquid
  • 4.1  Flammable solid
  • 4.2  Spontaneously combustible
  • 4.3  Dangerous when wet
  • 5.1  Oxidising agent
  • 5.2  Organic peroxide
  • 6.1  Toxic
  • 6.2  Infectious
  • 7  Radio Active
  • 8  Corrosive
  • 9  Miscellaneous
Dangerous goods are divided into nine classes according based on their hazardous properties. Except for very small packages, all packages and containers, shipping containers, unit loads, tankers, etc. which hold dangerous goods for transport must carry the correct Class Label. This label (or diamond sign) shows the nature of the hazard by the colour and symbol, and the Class of the goods by numeral. The responsibility for classification of products lies with the manufacturer or person packaging the products.

The regulations specify how storage areas are to designed, constructed and located to minimize risks. The Regulations are designed to assist the authorities and other emergency services, and to ensure that they have enough information to deal with incidents.


Segregation means keeping incompatible goods apart from one another in a room, using a barrier or intervening space. Chemicals must be segregated when either stored or shipped to ensure they do not mix in case of spillage. To use Table 2, select two of the Classes of dangerous goods to be kept in the mixed class storage area. Locate the first Class on the top line of class numbers, and the second Class in the column on the left hand side of the table. read the code at the intersection of the line and column.

Table:2 Types of isolation required while shorting classes of dengerous goods together

Keys to the Codes


Separation or segregation is not applicable to the two Classes, and they may be stored in the same area.


The two Classes of chemicals must be segregated (i.e., kept apart) from each other by a distance of at least three metres.


The two Classes must be fire separated.


The two Classes are prohibited in the same are storage area. As well, they must not be stored in adjoining areas which are attached to each other. The two Classes must be stored in separate areas at least ten metres apart.


The HAZCHEM Code provides advisory information to the emergency services personnel to enable them to take the appropriate action to combat the incident. Placarding with HAZCHEM and other notices warns of the presence of quantities of dangerous goods on the premises.

Procedures for action in the event of a spill or fire must be displayed at the storage area. Portable fire extinguishers and materials for absorbing or neutralizing spills must be kept at or near the storage area.
HAZCHEM Emergency Action Code for Fire or Spillage
Notes for guidance
V Can be violently or even explosively reactive
BA Use breathing apparatus plus protective gloves.
FULL Use full body protective clothing with breathing apparatus.
DILUTE Wash to drain with large quantities of water.
CONTAIN Prevent spillage from entering drains or watercourses.
WATER FOG In the absence of fog equipment, a fine spray may be used.
DRY AGENT Water must not be allowed to come in contact with the substance at risk.