So you need to send out a shipment – what do you normally include?
- Tracking numbers
- Delivery dockets
- Handling instructions
When said shipment includes hazardous materials however, you need to go a little bit further.
Due to the inherent risk associated with these substances, you’ll need to make sure that they’re shipped safely and in accordance with Australian safety laws.
And one of the most important ways of ensuring that drivers know what they’re dealing with and that recipients know what they’re receiving is with hazchem signs, emergency information panels (EIPs), dangerous goods signs and other types of signs and labels!
How do these signs ensure that you’re compliant and keep everyone else safe?
What are the 6 categories of hazardous materials?
First thing’s first: there are more than just 6 of them!
Under the American Hazmat system, 6 categories are recognised – in Australia however, we use hazchem, which recognises 9 different classes, as well as a number of subclasses.
Why does class matter? Simple: because each one needs to be treated differently when transporting them, and labelled with different signage in order to keep everybody safe.
So, what sort of hazard signs in Australia are used for the transportation of hazardous and dangerous substance classes?
- Class 1: Explosives, including fireworks, ammunition and detonators. These are explosive articles and explosive substances
- Class 2: Gases – pertains to hazardous materials that are liquefied, compressed and refrigerated, including aerosols and gas solutions; includes flammable and non-flammable gases as well as toxic gases like coal and chlorine
- Class 3: Flammable liquids, referring to liquids with a flashpoint of 60 degrees or less and a boiling point of 35 degrees like petrol and alcohol
- Class 4: Flammable solids – substances that are prone to combustion and are flammable when it comes in contact with gases
- Class 5: Oxidising substances like organic peroxide, which while not flammable themselves, can contribute greatly to fire conditions
- Class 6: Toxic and infectious substances like poison and pesticides that if inhaled, swallowed or absorbed
- Class 7: radioactive materials including any substances that emit radiation, which can potentially cause serious long-term risks to human health
- Class 8: toxic material – corrosives and acids that can cause severe injuries if they come into contact with skin
- Class 9: miscellaneous
While each of these have different handling requirements – and thus, a different procedure for safely transporting them – the one thing each of them share in common is the need for appropriate hazard signs and EIPs to alert others to the risk.
Specifically, that means hazchem class diamonds on the shipment, dangerous goods stickers attached directly to the containers themselves and emergency information panels on both pallets and the transport vehicle for bystanders, other motorists and drivers.
What is required on a hazmat label? The requirements for emergency information panels
If you’re shipping hazardous substances, then EIPs are one of the most important signs you’ll need to get your hands on, as they include all of the information such as:
- Product identifier and UN number
- Name, Australian address, and business telephone number of the importer or manufacturer
- Hazard pictogram with the correct classification of the chemical
- Hazchem code
- Other precautionary statements or information about the hazard
Thanks to standardisation these signs can be immediately understood by both drivers and emergency services no matter where you’re shipping in the country (as well as most of the Commonwealth as well!)
What additional label must be used with a package containing environmentally hazardous material and other risks?
While EIPs are a crucial part of the equation, they aren’t the only signs you’;re required to include with your shipment.
For some substances, the effects aren’t just limited to the people handling them – many also come with risks to the environment as well.
Unfortunately, this is something that hazchem classes and EIPs won’t be able to communicate on their own!
For these, you’ll need to back them up with GHS signs that quickly communicate the hazards that accompany a particular substance or material.
Dimensions must be 100mm x 100mm with a minimum width of line forming a diamond that is 2mm. The dimensions or the line of forming the diamond must also be 2mm., with markings that should be as clear as possible.
Where should you place required hazard labels?
Hazardous labels must be carefully and properly labelled to avoid confusion and misunderstanding.
Most importantly however, they need to be visible, and impossible to miss!
When placing hazardous labels, they are a couple of things you’ll want to keep in mind:
- Select areas that are easily visible and legible
- Labels must withstand weather conditions throughout transit
- Try find surfaces that contrast with the sign itself
- Numbers and letters should be appropriate for the size of the package
- Place them away from other package marks that can create confusion or reduce their effectiveness
- Place them on the top of pallets or containers
All of these ensure that your signs are visible and doing their job!
How do you read hazardous material labels?
So far, we’ve been assuming that you’re shipping locally.
But what if you’ve just gotten an order from overseas? Naturally, you’re going to be worried about whether or not your efforts are going to be understood properly.
Thankfully, the standardisation of hazardous material signage means that this isn’t something you’re going to have to worry about.
The usage of easily-recognisable pictograms and globally-standardised colours for signs means that even if there’s a language barrier, at least the immediate dangers won’t get lost in translation.
And this becomes even less of a risk if you combine your standard hazchem diamonds, EIPs and other signs with warning and danger labels – there’s no such thing as too safe, after all!
Just remember that as a distributor, you have a legal obligation to send out a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) that contains detailed information about hazardous chemicals if requested.
Label it right – call our trusted sign experts today!
Shipping hazardous materials needs a lot of care and attention – and proper labelling especially, since safety should be your number one priority when shipping them!
Take our word for it: all the signage requirements can be a little hard to wrap your head around. Luckily, that’s what we’re here for!
We’re the experts when it comes to hazchem signs. In addition to creating signs and offering the fastest turnaround in the industry, we can also help you figure out what signs you need to stay compliant.
Whether it’s hazchem signs, dangerous goods signs and labels, as well as fire safety signs and more.
Get in touch with us today and choose from our huge range of signs that will help you keep people safe, whether you’re shipping goods ore receiving them:
- Hazchem & EIP
- Dangerous goods signs and labels
- Custom safety signs
- Emergency information panels
- Transport labels