The 9 classes of dangerous goods

Shipping dangerous goods is inevitable for a lot of companies. What is the best way to go about it? Keeping in mind that there are 9 different classes of dangerous goods. These dangerous goods are subject to transport, workplace, storage, consumer and environment protection regulations. This in order to prevent accidents! Let’s take a look at these 9 classes.

The 9 classes of dangerous goods? From explosives and gases to flammable liquids, flammable solids, organic oxidants and peroxides, toxic and infectious substances, radioactive materials, corrosive substances and various dangerous substances.

1. Explosives

The first class is divided into six divisions. Let’s take a look at it:

  • Division 1.1: substances and articles presenting a mass explosion risk.
  • Division 1.2: substances and objects presenting a danger of projection but not a mass explosion (military shells).
  • Division 1.3: substances and articles presenting a risk of fire and a minor risk of explosion or projection, or both, without risk of mass explosion (fireworks).
  • Division 1.4: substances and articles presenting no significant danger (firearm cartridges).
  • Division 1.5: highly insensitive substances with a mass explosion hazard (blasting explosives).
  • Division 1.6: extremely insensitive objects that don’t present a mass explosion hazard.

2. Gas

Gas includes compressed gases, liquefied gases, dissolved gases, refrigerated liquefied gases, gas-laden articles and aerosols.

Class 2 is divided into three divisions:

  • Division 2.1: flammable gases (propane).
  • Division 2.2: non-flammable and non-toxic gases (nitrogen).
  • Division 2.3: toxic gases (carbon monoxide).

3. Flammable liquids

What is flammable liquid? Liquids or mixtures of liquids, or liquids containing solids in solution or suspension (for example, paints, varnishes, lacquers, etc.). They emit flammable vapours at temperatures of not more than 60 °C (closed-cup test) or not more than 65.6 °C (open-cup test)referred to as the flash point.

4. Flammable solids?

Flammable solids? Substances are liable to spontaneous combustion and/or substances which, in contact with water, emit flammable gases.

Class 4 is divided into three divisions as follows:

  • Division 4.1: solids that in certain transport conditions are combustible or may cause or contribute to fire through friction. They may explode if they aren’t diluted sufficiently.
  • Division 4.2: substances liable to spontaneous combustion. They are liable to spontaneous heating under normal conditions encountered in transport or to heating up in contact with air.
  • Division 4.3: substances which in contact with water emit flammable gases With the interaction with water they are liable to become spontaneously flammable or to give off flammable gases in dangerous quantities.

5. Oxidizing Substances & Organic Peroxides

Class 5 is divided into two divisions:

  • Division 5.1: oxidizing substances (not necessarily combustible), may by yielding oxygen cause or contribute to the combustion of other material.

→ Examples: ammonium nitrate, potassium nitrate

  • Division 5.2: organic peroxides may be considered derivatives of hydrogen peroxide, where one or both of the hydrogen atoms have been replaced by organic radicals. They may have one or more of the following properties:
  1. be liable to explosive decomposition
  2. burn rapidly
  3. be sensitive to impact or friction
  4. react dangerously with other substances
  5. cause damage to the eyes.

6. Toxic and infectious substances

  • Division 6: toxic substances can cause death or cause serious injury. They can harm human health if swallowed, inhaled or by skin contact.

→ Examples: dichloromethane, acetaldehyde

  • Division 6.2: infectious substances (Ebola virus, Herpes B,…). These are substances known or reasonably expected to contain pathogens(micro-organisms like bacteria, viruses, rickettsiae, parasites, fungi). They can cause disease in humans or animals.

7. Radioactive material

Radioactive material is defined as: ‘any material containing radionuclides where both the activity concentration and the total activity in the consignment exceed the values specified in the relevant standard.”

8. Corrosive Substances

Substances which, by their chemical action, cause serious damage to contact with living tissues or, in case of leakage, damage or even physically destroy other goods or the means of transport.

→ Examples: sulfuric acid, stripper

9. Miscellaneous dangerous substances and articles

The last class includes microorganisms (bacterium, microbe …) and genetically modified organisms (GMOs).


We hope we succeed in giving you more insights on this subject. If you have any questions feel free to reach our Shippr team at “”. You can also connect with the team on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn!

*Article initially published on on April 3rd, 2019

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