Understanding The Classification of Dangerous Goods

Date Posted:1 February 2022 

Understanding The Classification of Dangerous Goods main image Understanding The Classification of Dangerous Goods image

When it comes to the safe handling, storage and transport of dangerous goods, there are nine classes within the Globally Harmonised System (GHS) to familiarise yourself with. This international classification and labelling system is used to clearly communicate the risks of dangerous goods, to help protect everyone’s wellbeing. The classes and their divisions are as follows.


Class 1: Explosives

This class covers explosive substances, ammunition, pyrotechnic devices such as fireworks and explosive articles that pose a risk of explosion.

  • 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

Class 2 encompasses gases that may pose a risk via flame or fumes.

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


Class 3: Flammable liquids

Class 3 has no divisions, but includes all liquids that pose a fire risk including petrol and alcohol. Class 3 liquids are those with a boiling point of 35°C or less or a flash point of 60°C or less.


Class 4: Flammable solids

Class 4 substances include those that can catch alight, spontaneously combust or can emit flammable gases if in contact with water.

  • Division 4.1: Flammable solids, self-reactive substances and solid desensitised 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

Class 5 substances are those that may cause or contribute to the combustion of other materials either by yielding oxygen or undergoing heat generating, self-accelerating decomposition.

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


Class 6: Toxic and infectious substances

Examples of Class 6 substances include poisons and pesticides.

  •     Division 6.1: Toxic substances
  •     Division 6.2: Infectious substances.


Class 7: Radioactive material

Radioactive substances must be carefully controlled and labelled as such.


Class 8: Corrosive substances

Class 8 substances are those that can cause severe damage by chemical action, including acids, batteries and mercury.


Class 9: Miscellaneous dangerous substances and articles including environmentally hazardous substances

Class 9 goods can include environmentally hazardous substances, magnetic components which can cause havoc on aircraft navigation equipment, and substances such as dry ice or solid carbon dioxide.


Who regulates the transport of dangerous goods in Australia?

Transport of dangerous goods by air is regulated through the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). The transport of dangerous goods by sea is regulated through the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), while road and rail transport of dangerous goods is regulated separately by each individual Australian state and territory.


How do I know the requirements for dangerous good labels?

Each of these classes has an equivalent Australian Standard, which outlines the requirements for storage and handling of these types of goods. It’s incredibly important than when planning for the transport of any of the above substances or products, you’re applying the correct dangerous goods shipping labels and dangerous goods handling labels clearly and appropriately. It should be noted that whilst we endeavor to keep our information up to date and correct, Thermal Labels does not take any responsibility regarding incorrect usage of this information or dangerous goods products for the requirements of your business.


For thermal transfer and direct thermal shipping labels, dangerous goods labels and fully custom labels, contact the Thermal Labels team in Australia today.

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