Hazardous Material

Posted in Operations and Supply Chain Terms, Total Reads: 223
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Definition: Hazardous Material

A hazardous material is an item or agent which has the potential to cause harm to humans, animals, or the environment, either on its own or through interaction with other factors. The agent can be biological, chemical, radiological or physical. A hazardous material could seriously affect the safety of the people, those who handle it or carriers during the transportation process.


Hazardous materials are classified into different classes as shown below. There are various divisions of hazardous materials:

1: Explosives

1.1 mass explosion hazard
1.2 projectile hazard
1.3 minor blast/projectile/fire
1.4 minor blast
1.5 insensitive explosives
1.6 very insensitive explosives

2: Compressed Gases

2.1 flammable gases 
2.2 non flammable compressed
2.3 poisonous

3: Flammable Liquids

Flammable (flash point below 141°)
Combustible (flash point 141°-200°)

4: Flammable Solids

4.1 flammable solids
4.2 spontaneously combustible
4.3 dangerous when wet

5: Oxidizers and Organic Peroxides

5.1 Oxidizer
5.2 Organic Peroxide

6: Toxic Materials

6.1 Material that is poisonous
6.2 Infectious Agents

7: Radioactive Material

Radioactive I
Radioactive II
Radioactive III

8: Corrosive Material

Destruction of the human skin
Corrode steel at a rate of 0.25 inches per year

9: Miscellaneous

A material that presents a hazard during shipment but does not meet the definition of the other classes



Symbols representing hazardous materials


Handling hazardous materials

Proper handling of hazardous materials is very necessary and thus basic rules all employees who handle hazardous materials should know and follow are given below:

1. Properly follow all the necessary procedures and perform job duties as you’ve been trained.

2. Think about what could go wrong and pay detailed attention to your work. Be cautious and plan ahead.

3. At all times use the required PPE and inspect it vigilantly before each use to make sure it’s safe to use.

4. Make sure that the material carrying boxes are properly labeled and that the material is contained in a suitable container. Avoid using any material that is not properly labeled. Report any spoiled containers or unreadable labels to your supervisor right away.

5. Carefully read all the labels and the material safety data sheet before using any material.

6. Use all materials solely for their proposed purpose and not for any other general purpose.

7. Don’t consume food or drink when you are handling any materials and if your hands are polluted don’t use any makeup and skin related products or any contact lenses.

8. One must store all the materials properly in individual incompatibles, and store them in ventilated, dry, cool areas.

9. Try to keep yourself and your work area clean. After material handling, wash yourself thoroughly with soap and water. Clean the work surfaces regularly so that infectivity risks are minimized.

10. Study about the crisis procedures and equipments used in case of any tragedy. Understanding emergency actions means knowing evacuation process, emergency reporting process, and procedures for handling fires and spills. One must know what to do in a medical emergency if a co-worker is injured or affected by chemicals.


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