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Hazmat Label Classifications

Hazmat label classifications are essential to the safe handling of hazardous materials. The Code of Federal Regulations defines nine classes of hazmat labels that are used to identify the type of hazard, and these labels dictate how these products can be shipped and transported in order to maintain public safety standards. Hazmat label classifications are useful for manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and customers, but also for first responders in the event that an incident occurs while products are in transit. Understanding the different classes is crucial if your organization manufactures products that are considered to be potentially hazardous.


Class 1: Explosives

Materials that have the ability to detonate or explode due to a chemical reaction are classed as explosives and may include anything from fireworks and ammunition to airbag inflators, ignitors, or other similar products.


Class 2: Gases

Gases, or substances that have a vapor pressure of 300 kPa or greater at 50 degrees Celsius fall under Class 2 and are listed in one of three categories. Fire extinguishers, natural gas, compressed air, methane, propane, aerosol cans, and compressed cases are a few types of products that would be labeled as gases.


Class 3: Flammable Liquids

These liquids have a flashpoint of between 60 to 65 degrees Celsius or lower and maybe completely liquid or have solids contained within the liquid. Paint, gasoline, alcohol, acetone, diesel, and kerosene are common examples of Class 3 Flammable Liquids.


Class 4: Flammable Solids

Flammable solids are those that can become combustible during transport, as well as self-reactive substances. Items such as matches, oily fabrics, sodium batteries, activated carbon, and metal powders are a few examples.


Class 5: Oxidizers & Organizer Peroxides

Organic peroxides, as well as substances that can cause combustion by chemically reacting and producing oxygen (oxidizers), are listed as Class 5. These may include ammonium nitrate fertilizers, oxygen generators, nitrates, nitrites, chlorates, sodium nitrate, and more.


Class 6: Toxic Substances

Acids, medical waste, dyes, biological cultures, cyanides, nicotine, chloroform, tear gas, and arsenic are all classified as toxic substances under Class 6 and can be extremely dangerous, poisonous, or toxic when handled.