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Hazardous substances

Every day, hundreds of thousands of tons of dangerous goods are transported all over the world. To do this as safely as possible, special transport rules apply. If you want to transport hazardous substances, you will have to deal with these transport rules.


Substances that cause danger, damage or serious nuisance to humans, animals and the environment in small quantities are referred to as 'dangerous substances'. Think of flammable, toxic or explosive substances. If hazardous substances are covered by transport legislation, you can recognize them by their UN number. These numbers are the same all over the world and are used for transport by land, water and air. How dangerous the substance is, is indicated by means of class 1 to 9:


  • Class 1: Explosive substances and objects
  • Class 2: Gases
  • Class 3: Flammable liquids
  • Class 4.1: Caustic solids, self-reactive substances and solid explosives in non-explosive state
  • Class 4.2: Substances liable to spontaneous combustion
  • Class 4.3: Substances which, in contact with water, emit flammable gases
  • Class 5.1: Oxidizing substances
  • Class 5.2: Organic peroxides
  • Class 6.1: Toxic substances
  • Class 6.2: Infectious substances
  • Class 7: Radioactive substances
  • Class 8: Caustic substances
  • Class 9: Various dangerous substances and objects

Transport rules

Based on the UN number and the hazard class, the carrier can see which rules the transport must meet. Every link in the transport and every person involved in this transport will have to deal with these rules. For example, it is exactly clear which requirements the transport must meet, how the materials must be packaged, which identification marks must be affixed to the packaging and which training the personnel must have followed.


If chemicals are imported, manufactured, distributed or used, so-called REACH legislation applies. REACH stands for Registration Evaluation and Authorization of CHemicals. It is mandatory to make the risks of these substances transparent and to limit them.