Dangerous Goods

What are Dangerous Goods?

Substances hazardous to health may also be classified as dangerous goods. For example, kerosene is classified as a hazardous substance, and also as 'dangerous - class 3.' Which goods are classified as dangerous are as per the Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road (the 'ADG')

Dangerous Goods legislation is aimed at controlling hazards such as the explosiveness, flammability or oxidising effects of hazardous materials. A list of the various pieces of legislation (Acts, regulations, Code of Practice), with links, is at the bottom of the page.

Class  Type/Form of Substance
Class 1 Explosives
Class 2  
 2.1 Flammable gases
 2.2 Non-flammable, non-toxic gases
 2.3 Toxic gases
Class 3 Flammable liquids
Class 4 
 4.1 Flammable solids
 4.2 Substances liable to spontaneous combustion
 4.3 Substances which in contact with water emit flammable gases
Class 5  
 5.1 Oxidising substances
 5.3 Organic peroxides
Class 6  
 6.1 Toxic substances
 6.2 Infectious substances
Class 7 Radioactive material
Class 8 Corrosive substances
Class 9 Miscellaneous dangerous goods

The dangerous goods class and status as a hazardous substance should be found on the chemical container, on the label. This is in the form of a statement: "Hazardous" or "Non-hazardous", and there should also be 'risk phrases' such as 'Flammable'.

Advice for Health and Safety Reps

There are a few things you can do as a rep:

  • Before any new substances are brought into the workplace, your employer should obtain and provide you with a copy of the relevant and up-to-date MSDS. Remember that the employer has the duty to consult with you prior to the introduction of new substances into the workplace (Section 35(1)(f) of the OHS Act, 2004)
  • Ask your employer to put all workplace substances on a register, and check whether they are hazardous or dangerous, and whether there is an up-to-date MSDS available for each of these. The employer has the duty to provide you with this information. WorkSafe Victoria has a publication: Chemicals Management in the Workplace, A Step by Step Guide - which includes a register at Appendix 1 which may be useful in your workplace.
  • Talk with the members of your DWG about the substances on the register. These are some of the issues you might raise:
    • how the substances stored, how are they used and so on.
    • the training and information your members have received - is it sufficient? Has everyone who may be exposed to any associated risk received training?
    • Is personal protective equipment (PPE) used? Should workers be issued with it? Have they been trained?
  • Meet with your employer to discuss any issues of concern.

Contact your union if you need some advice on the content of MSDSs or on any of the above.

The Dangerous Goods Act, 1985 can be viewed on the Victorian legislation website - go to Victorian Law Today and then enter the name of the Act. 

Dangerous Goods Regulations

There are also a number of regulations which cover dangerous goods, which are also accessible from the above website (New regulations for the storage and handling of dangerous goods commenced on 1 December 2012). The main ones are:

  • Dangerous Goods (Storage and Handling) Regulations 2012
  • Dangerous Goods (Explosives) Regulations 2011
  • Dangerous Goods (Transport by Road or Rail) Regulations 2008
  • Dangerous Goods (HCDG - High Consequence Dangerous Goods) Regulations 2005

More resources

From WorkSafe Victoria:


Last updated, June 2015


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