When importing goods, there are different requirements for each product that you’re bringing in. Some goods will need different documentation; some goods may even need a special type of container.
However, there are some goods that will require a lot more work and attention than others. Dangerous goods (DG) are a prime example of this – so be aware of what classifies as dangerous goods and why you need to be careful with them! Today, we’re sharing the 9 classes of dangerous products so that you can identify whether your goods are hazardous and take the necessary steps to ensure that you can import them safely.
Before we get into what goods are considered to be dangerous, though, we’re going to discuss what you need to do to bring dangerous goods into the country.
MSDS - Material Safety Data Sheets
“Material Safety Data Sheets must accompany any hazardous shipment as they identify and classify the potential hazard/risk. They also include details on what to do if there is an issue (what first aid to administer, how to fight a potential fire etc.) and how to safely handle/store the product. If you are importing something dangerous, naturally this information is essential for the port to be aware of – as well as you.” – What Documents Do I Need To Import Goods To The UK?
A MSDS is an essential piece of documentation that will need to accompany any goods that are considered dangerous for transportation. Essentially, these data sheets identify and minimise the risks these materials pose by telling the recipient how to handle them safely.
When you import any goods on this list, you need an MSDS sheet.
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Dangerous Goods Classification Infographic
Class 1 - Explosives
CLASS 1 – EXPLOSIVES SUB-DIVISIONS
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
Division 1.4: Substances and articles which present no significant hazard; only a small hazard in the event of ignition or initiation during transport with any effects largely confined to the package
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
What are Class 1 dangerous goods and why are they classed as dangerous?
Class 1 goods are products that possess the ability to alight or detonate as a consequence of a chemical reaction.
Explosives are classified as a hazardous product for a pretty clear reason – they can explode.
Naturally, goods that are partial to spontaneous combustion during transit if they aren’t properly handled are an issue – however, you may be surprised by some of the items that are in this category.
Examples Of Commonly Transported Class 1 Explosive Goods
- Blasting caps and detonators
- Explosive charges such as those used for blasting, demolition, etc.
- Detonating cord
- Air bag inflators
Class 2 - Gases
CLASS 2 – GASES SUB-DIVISIONS
Division 2.1: Flammable gases
Division 2.2: Non-flammable, non-toxic gases
Division 2.3: Toxic gases
What are Class 2 dangerous goods and why are they classed as dangerous?
Class 2 consists of compressed gases, gases in their liquefied form, refrigerated gases, mixtures of gases with other vapours and products charged with gases or aerosols. These are considered hazardous goods for many reasons; often they are flammable, they can oxidize (chemically react with oxygen), act as asphyxiants and be toxic or corrosive.
Although it is a lot easier to identify gases based on their physical states and substances, identifying the most commonly transported gases is still worthwhile.
Examples of Commonly Transported Class 2 Gases
- Compressed air
- Hydrocarbon gas-powered devices
- Fire extinguishers
- Gas cartridges
- Fertilizer ammoniating solution
- Insecticide gases
- Refrigerant gases
- Acetylene / Oxyacetylene
- Carbon dioxide
- Helium / helium compounds
- Hydrogen / hydrogen compounds
- Oxygen / oxygen compounds
- Nitrogen / nitrogen compounds
- Natural gas
- Oil gas
- Petroleum gases
- Dimethyl ether
- Propene / propylene
Class 3 - Flammable Liquids
What are Class 3 dangerous goods and why are they classed as dangerous?
Flammable liquids are liquids, mixtures of liquids or liquids containing solids that require a much lower temperature than others to ignite – often temperatures that may be reached during transportation. Due to this, flammable liquids are very volatile and easily combustible. This means that these goods will need to be transported more carefully and with their individual needs in mind.
Again, some of these products may surprise you, so it’s worth perusing the list.
Examples of Commonly Transported Class 3 Flammable Liquids
- Paints, lacquers and varnishes
- Perfumery products
- Gasoline / Petrol
- Diesel fuel
- Aviation fuel
- Liquid bio-fuels
- Coal tar
- Petroleum crude oil
- Gas oil
- Shale oil
- Heating oil
- Carbamate insecticides
- Organochlorine pesticides
- Organophosphorus pesticides
- Copper based pesticides
Class 4 - Flammable Solids
CLASS 4 – FLAMMABLE SOLIDS; SUBSTANCES LIABLE TO SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION; SUBSTANCES WHICH EMIT FLAMMABLE GASES WHEN IN CONTACT WITH WATER SUB-DIVISONS
Division 4.1: Flammable solids
Division 4.2: Substances liable to spontaneous combustion
Division 4.3: Substances which, in contact with water, emit flammable gases
What are Class 4 dangerous goods and why are they classed as dangerous?
Flammable solids are products that can spontaneously combust.
Well, kind of. Flammable solids are actually classified as products that are easily combustible and likely to cause or contribute to fire under the conditions they’ll encounter in transport. This is usually due to a number of factors – some goods are self-reactive and can have strong exothermic reactions, some are liable to spontaneously heat up in normal conditions and some goods even heat up on contact with air. All of these things means that these products are liable to catch alight.
Examples Of Commonly Transported Class 4 Flammable Solids
- Alkali metals
- Metal powders
- Aluminium phosphide
- Sodium batteries
- Sodium cells
- Calcium carbide
- Activated carbon
- Seed cake
- Oily cotton waste
- Desensitized explosives
- Oily fabrics
- Oily fibres
- Iron oxide (spent
- Iron sponge/direct-reduced iron (spent)
Class 5 - Oxidising Substances and Organic Peroxides
CLASS 5 – OXIDIZING SUBSTANCES; ORGANIC PEROXIDES SUB-DIVISONS
Division 5.1: Oxidizing substances
Division 5.1: Organic peroxides
What are Class 5 dangerous goods and why are they classed as dangerous?
Class 5 goods – AKA oxidizers – are substances that can cause or be party to combustion typically by yielding oxygen as a product of chemical reactions. Although oxidizers are not necessarily combustible individually, the oxygen they yield can cause combustion with other materials.
Organic peroxides, on the other hand, are likely to combust individually. An organic peroxide is a substance formed of organic compounds that are derivative of hydrogen peroxide; in organic peroxide, however, one or more of the hydrogen atoms in the chemical structure is replaced by organic radicals. Due to their nature, organic peroxides are thermally unstable and can give off heat.
“Additionally, organic peroxides may be liable to explosive decomposition, burn rapidly, be sensitive to impact or friction, react dangerously with other substances or cause damage to eyes.” – Dgiglobal.com
Examples Of Commonly Transported Class 5 Oxidizers and Organic Peroxides
- Chemical oxygen generators
- Ammonium nitrate fertilizers
- Aluminium nitrate
- Ammonium dichromate
- Ammonium nitrate
- Ammonium persulphate
- Calcium hypochlorite
- Calcium nitrate
- Calcium peroxide
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Magnesium peroxide
- Lead nitrate
- Lithium hypochlorite
- Potassium chlorate
- Potassium nitrate
- Potassium chlorate
- Potassium perchlorate
- Potassium permanganate
- Sodium nitrate
- Sodium persulphate
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Class 6 - Toxic and Infectious Substances
CLASS 6 – TOXIC SUBSTANCES; INFECTIOUS SUBSTANCES SUB-DIVISIONS
Division 6.1: Toxic substances
Division 6.2: Infectious substances
What are Class 6 dangerous goods and why are they classed as dangerous?
This one’s pretty obvious; toxic substances are, well, toxic – they’re liable to cause death, serious injury or significant harm to human or animal health if they come into contact. This can be through swallowing, inhalation or skin contact.
Infectious substances are . . . again, reasonably obvious; infectious substances are infectious and are likely to cause disease in humans or animals. These substances are classified as substances that are known or expected to contain pathogens. (Pathogens are also known as micro-organisms such as bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi and more.)
The goods in Class 6 pose a large risk to animal and human health, which is why they need to be handled cautiously.
Examples Of Commonly Transported Class 6 Toxic Substances and Infectious Substances
- Medical/Biomedical waste
- Clinical waste
- Biological cultures / samples / specimens
- Medical cultures / samples / specimens
- Tear gas substances
- Motor fuel anti-knock mixture
- Carbamate pesticides
- Barium compounds
- Arsenics / arsenic compounds
- Beryllium/ beryllium compounds
- Lead compounds
- Mercury compounds
- Nicotine / nicotine compounds
- Selenium compounds
- Ammonium metavanadate
Class 7 - Radioactive Material
What are Class 7 dangerous goods and why are they classed as dangerous?
Class 7 goods are radioactive materials that emit ionizing radiation when they experience radioactive decay. This presents risks to human health.
Radioactive material is defined as any material that contains radionuclides that exceed certain values on its activity concentration and total activity. Radionuclides are atoms with an unstable nucleus – unstable nuclei release radioactive energy.
Examples Of Commonly Class 7 Transported Radioactive Materials
- Radioactive ores
- Medical isotopes
- Density gauges
- Mixed fission products
- Surface contaminated objects
- Caesium radionuclides / isotopes
- Iridium radionuclides / isotopes
- Americium radionuclides / isotopes
- Plutonium radionuclides / isotopes
- Radium radionuclides / isotopes
- Thorium radionuclides / isotopes
- Uranium radionuclides / isotopes
- Depleted uranium / depleted uranium products
- Uranium hexafluoride
- Enriched Uranium
Class 8 - Corrosives
What are Class 8 dangerous goods and why are they classed as dangerous?
Class 8 dangerous goods are defined as dangerous goods because they are corrosive. Due to their nature, corrosive substances cause chemical reactions that degrade or disintegrate other materials when they come into contact with each other.
This can cause severe injury when coming into contact with living tissue – however, in terms of transport, it can also damage and destroy surrounding materials if not transported properly.
Examples Of Commonly Transported Class 8 Corrosives
- Acids/acid solutions
- Battery fluid
- Fuel cell cartridges
- Fire extinguisher charges
- Phenol / carbolic acid
- Hydrofluoric acid
- Hydrochloric acid
- Sulfuric acid
- Nitric acid
- Sludge acid
- Hydrogen fluoride
Class 9 - Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods
What are Class 9 dangerous goods and why are they classed as dangerous?
Goods in Class 9 of dangerous goods are simply products that present dangers during transport that haven’t been covered in the other classes.
Some of the items this class includes, but is not limited to, include:
“Environmentally hazardous substances, substances that are transported at elevated temperatures, miscellaneous articles and substances, genetically modified organisms and micro-organisms and (depending on the method of transport) magnetized materials and aviation regulated substances.” – Dgiglobal.com
Examples Of Commonly Transported Class 9 Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods
- Dry ice / cardice / solid carbon dioxide
- Expandable polymeric beads / polystyrene beads
- Ammonium nitrate fertilizers
- Blue asbestos / crocidolite
- Lithium ion batteries
- Lithium metal batteries
- Battery powered equipment
- Battery powered vehicles
- Fuel cell engines
- Internal combustion engines
- Magnetized material
- Dangerous goods in apparatus
- Dangerous goods in machinery
- Genetically modified organisms
- Genetically modified micro-organisms
- Chemical kits
- First aid kits
- Life saving appliances
- Air bag modules
- Seatbelt pretensioners
- Plastics moulding compound
- Castor bean plant products
- Polychlorinated biphenyls
- Polychlorinated terphenyls
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We hope you found this post helpful; if you are importing dangerous goods, feel free to get in contact with us for advice on the preparations that you will need to make at email@example.com or call us at 0203 384 0498.