Hazardous Substances vs Dangerous Goods
The terms hazardous substances and dangerous goods are frequently used in workplaces to describe items that have the potential to harm humans. Serious accidents involving workers can occur when dealing with these two categories of substances. However, confusion can arise regarding whether a substance or product is hazardous or dangerous, as definitions may not be clear-cut. Some people treat both types of substances as synonymous, but there are differences between hazardous and dangerous goods.
Dangerous goods are products that pose an immediate danger or hazard to humans, property, or the environment due to their inherent properties, such as their toxic content, flammability, or reactivity with other substances or chemicals. If the goods can cause a fire or an explosion, they are considered dangerous. They are also dangerous if they can lead to corrosion or poisoning. Both physical and chemical effects of products contribute to their classification as dangerous goods. Dangerous goods are divided into different classes, including explosives, gases, flammable liquids and solids, toxic solids and liquids, radioactive substances, and corrosive and acidic substances.
Substances or products used by employees in a workplace are classified as hazardous when they have harmful health effects, both short-term and long-term. Many hazardous substances are everyday products, such as paints, cleaning powders, glues, and liquids. However, it is their medium-term and chronic health effects that lead to their classification as hazardous substances. Some people may be susceptible to the harmful health effects of these substances, while others can resist them. Some people report nausea, dizziness, watery eyes, and itching and irritation on the skin due to contact with hazardous substances, while others develop dermatitis or even skin cancers in the long run.
- Hazardous substances are classified based on their health effects on humans.
- Dangerous goods have the potential to cause harm to people, property, or the environment.
- Many products are classified under both categories, and safety regulations for both are applied to such products.