What are dangerous goods?
Dangerous goods are substances that are corrosive, flammable, combustible, explosive, oxidising or water-reactive or have other hazardous properties. Dangerous goods can cause explosions or fires, serious injury, death and large-scale damage.
The Dangerous Goods Act 1985 (DG Act) defines which substances are dangerous goods. Examples of common dangerous goods:
- flammable liquids (petrol, kerosene, turpentine, flammable paints etc.)
- corrosives (hydrochloric acid)
- flammable gases (LP Gas)
- non-flammable non-toxic gases (CO2)
Are there dangerous goods in your workplace?
As an occupier, your first step is to identify all dangerous goods stored and handled at your premises. That includes any dangerous goods generated during a manufacturing process.
Manufacturers and suppliers must supply you with a safety data sheet (SDS) with dangerous goods. There must also be package markings and class or hazard class information. These will help you identify what’s in a product, precautions for use, and safe storage and handling requirements.
Identifying Dangerous Goods
To determine if a product is a dangerous good, you can
- check its label
- check its shipping or transport documents
- check the product’s safety data sheet (previously called the materials safety data sheet)
- check with the manufacturer or supplier of the product
- check if the product is listed in the dangerous goods list in the ADG Code and is not excluded by a special provision detailed in column 7 of that list
- have the products tested to the classification criteria of the ADG Code or UN Manual
Dangerous Goods Act 1985
- The purpose of the Act includes:
- promoting the safety of people and property in relation to storing, handling, manufacturing, transporting, transferring, selling, importing, disposing of and using dangerous goods, and importing explosives into Victoria
- ensuring associated risks and security concerns are effectively managed and incidents are reported immediately to the emergency services and inspectors
- regulating and where necessary preventing the import, export, supply and disposal of dangerous goods
- protecting the health and safety of workers and the general public.