Regardless of your industry, when it comes to shipping materials in the global market, there is a good chance that, at some point, you will encounter hazardous material or dangerous goods. And, when that time arrives, it is a good idea to understand the difference between the two as they will need to be handled and stored appropriately. 

USDOT Hazardous Materials Transportation Placards on rear of a Fuel Tanker

Because it is common for us to use the terms interchangeably, what is the difference between hazmat and dangerous goods?

 

Dangerous Goods

Dangerous goods are defined as those goods that present an immediate level of danger to the environment around them – including people. These substances can be corrosive, flammable, explosive, toxic, water-reactive, oxidizing, or may even spontaneously combust. They can damage property and the environment – and may even injure or even kill people. 

In other words, dangerous goods are concerned with the physical and chemical effects of a substance. 

 

Hazardous Goods

Hazmat or hazardous materials are those that pose a threat to human health. Rather than the physical and chemical effects of dangerous goods, these hazmat materials focus on the health effects. Exposure to hazardous gasses, liquids, or solids can lead to either an immediate danger, such as poisoning, chemical burns, or irritation. Or, a more long-term danger, including cancer, birth defects, or diseases that impact various major organs.  

 

Major Differences Between Hazmat and Dangerous Goods

Both hazardous and dangerous goods can cause dangers, but let’s take a look at a couple of the most common differences.

The classifications of the two are different. Dangerous goods are broken down into a standard 9 different classes including flammable solids, flammable liquids, explosive gasses, toxic substances, corrosive substances, radioactive materials, oxidizing agents, organic peroxides, and miscellaneous substances. Hazmats are only broken down into toxins, irritants, and corrosives. 

Another difference is their level of risk. As discussed above, for dangerous goods, the focus is on chemical and physical effects and can pose a risk to the people, the environment, and property. Hazmat focuses on the health effects, both long-term and short-term. 

Simply put, hazardous goods pose a risk and danger, but dangerous goods pose a more immediate risk. 

 

Reduce Your Risk

When it comes to reducing your risk – as well as the risk of those around you – it is important to take steps when dealing with both hazmat and dangerous goods. Familiarizing yourself with the dangers and the proper way to handle them is a great place to start. Making sure they are labeled properly is also important. 

Finally, safe shipping is just as important as safe handling in the workplace. Closely work with an experienced procurement service to ensure your shipments and certifications of chemicals and substances are handled appropriately.

 

Get Safe and Secure Shipping, Packaging, and Logistics

At DXL Enterprises we offer secure chemical supply chain solutions to handle your entire procurement process. We have over four decades of experience in the international procurement of chemicals and substances so that you can count on everything to be handled with the utmost care and attention – with all safety regulations adhered to. 

To learn more about how hazmat and dangerous goods are handled at DXL Enterprises, contact us today at (201) 891-8718 to speak with one of our representatives.