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Hazardous Materials Classification

2011 Hazardous Material Shipping rule update


Hazardous Materials Classification

Packaging, Marking, and Labeling

Shipping Papers

Excepted Quantity Limits

Dry Ice Checklist

Guide to Shipping Biological Materials


Biological Materials Shipping Certification

Anyone offering a hazardous material for shipment must:

  • Properly identify and classify all hazardous materials related to the shipment
  • Determine which of the nine hazard classes characterizes the hazards associated with the material
  • Assign each material to a packing group if applicable.

Usually a material’s proper shipping name, identification number, hazard class and packing group are found inside the MSDS.  Hazard classes define the type of risk a hazardous material may pose.  Some materials meet the definition of more than one hazard class with primary risks and subsidiary risks.  Some hazard classes contain divisions in order to further group materials with similar risks. 

Packing groups indicate the degree of risk a hazardous material may pose in transport in relation to other materials in that hazard class:

  • Packing Group I – High danger
  • Packing Group II – Moderate danger
  • Packing Group III – Low danger

Packing groups are always represented by Roman Numerals and determine the type of packaging required for the materials as well as quantity limits allowed on aircraft.

Applicable packing groups for the hazard classes and divisions listed below are located here.

Class 1 – Explosives

                        Division 1.1                  Explosives with a mass explosion hazard
                        Division 1.2                  Explosives with a projection hazard
                        Division 1.3                  Explosives with predominately a fire hazard
                        Division 1.4                  Explosives with no significant blast hazard
                        Division 1.5                  Very sensitive explosives; blasting agents
                        Division 1.6                  Extremely insensitive detonating devices

Class 2 – Gases

                        Division 2.1                  Flammable Gases
                        Division 2.2                  Non-flammable, non-toxic compressed gases
                        Division 2.3                  Gases toxic by inhalation

Class 3 – Flammable Liquids (and Combustible Liquids)

Flammable liquids – liquid with a flash point of 140°F or less
Combustible liquid – liquid with a flash point between 140°F and 200°F that does not meet any other hazard class definition.

Class 4– Flammable Solids; Spontaneously Combustible Materials;
Dangerous when Wet Materials

Division 4.1   Flammable solids - wetted class 1 explosives, self-reactive
                      materials or readily combustible solids
Division 4.2   Spontaneously combustible materials -pyrophoric or self-heating
Division 4.3   Dangerous when wet materials - gives off flammable or toxic gas
                      or become spontaneously combustible on contact with water

Class 5 --        Oxidizers and Organic Peroxides

Division 5.1  Oxidizers - by yielding oxygen, causes or enhances the
                     combustion of other materials
Division 5.2  Organic peroxides - organic compounds with the bivalent
                     R-O-O-R structure where at least one R is a carbon chain,
                     except for materials that meet class 1 (Explosive) definition,
                     or are "forbidden" on the HMT.

Class 6 --        Toxic Materials and Infectious Substances

Division 6.1  Poisonous materials - a liquid with an LD50 oral not more than
                    500 mg/Kg, or a solid with an LD50 oral not more than
                    200 mg/Kg, or a compound with a LD50 dermal not more than
                   1000 mg/Kg, or a dust/mist with a LC50 or not more than
                   10 mg/L
Division 6.2  Infectious substances – Go to Guide to Shipping Biological
                    Materials and Biological Materials Online Certification 
                    for more information.

Class 7 --        Radioactive Materials 

Radioactives are any material with a specific activity greater than 0.002 microcuries per gram (mCi/g.)  The specific activity of a nuclide means the activity of the nuclide per unit mass of that nuclide.

*** All Class 7 shipments must be coordinated through
Radiation Safety 515-2894

 Class 8 --        Corrosive Materials

Class 9 --        Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods

Materials that present a hazard during transport but do not meet other hazard class definitions. Examples are dry ice and lithium batteries.