What are HAZMATs?
Hazmat is a short form of the term Hazardous Material. Hazmat is a term used exclusively in the United States. In other countries it is called Dangerous Goods or Hazardous Materials. Hazardous materials are any solid, liquids, or gases that are harmful to your health, other living organisms, property, and the environment. They can be by products or byproducts of medical wastes, nuclear wastes from nuclear power plants, chemicals from industries, etc. According to OSHA they can be carcinogens, toxic products, corrosive products, or other kind of flammable or unstable products. Under merchant shipping, IMDG (International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code) deals with the Hazmats and their terminology, packaging, storing, labeling, placarding, marking, segregation, handling, and emergency response.
The International Maritime Organization under the IMDG code classifies Hazmats into nine categories as follows:
Class 1: Explosive substances
Class 2: Gases. They include compressed gases, liquefied gases, gases in solution, and mixture of gases, etc.
Class 3: Flammable liquids
Class 4: Flammable solids
Class 5: Oxidizing substances and Organic peroxides
Class 6: Toxic materials and infectious substances
Class 7: Radioactive materials
Class 8: Corrosives
Class 9: Miscellaneous dangerous goods that present a danger during air transport.