Difference Between Hazardous Substances and Dangerous Goods

Hazardous Substances vs Dangerous Goods

The terms hazardous substances and dangerous goods are used frequently at workplaces to refer to objects that have the potential to harm human beings. There can be serious accidents involving workers at workplaces when dealing with these two groups or categories of substances. However, there remains confusion in the minds of the workers as to whether the substance or product is hazardous or dangerous as they do not have a clear cut definition. There are many who treat both types of substances as same or synonymous. However, there are differences between hazardous and dangerous goods that will be highlighted in this article for the benefit of the readers.

Dangerous Goods

When there is an immediate danger or hazard to human beings, property, or even to the environment from certain products, they are labeled as dangerous goods. This danger may be because of their inherent properties such as their toxic content, flammability, or even their reactivity to other substances or chemicals. If the goods are such that they can cause a fire or an explosion, they are termed as dangerous. They are dangerous even if they can lead to corrosion or poisoning. Thus, it becomes clear that both physical as well as chemical effects of products are responsible for getting them classified as dangerous goods. There are many different classes into which dangerous goods are divided into. These classes include explosives, gases, flammable liquids and solids, toxic solids and liquids, radioactive substances, corrosive and acidic substances etc.

Hazardous Substances

The substances or the products used by employees at a workplace are classified as hazardous when they have harmful health effects, both short term as well as long term. Many of the hazardous substances are the everyday products we see and use in our daily lives such as paints, cleaning powders, glues, and liquids. However, it is their medium term and chronic health effects that get them to be classified as hazardous substances. Some people seem susceptible to harmful health effects of these substances while others can easily resist these health effects. Some people report nausea, dizziness, watery eyes, and itching and irritation on skin because of coming in contact with hazardous substances while there are people who develop dermatitis or even cancers of skin because of these hazardous substances in the long run.

What is the difference between Hazardous Substances and Dangerous Goods?

• Hazardous substances are those that are classified based upon their health effects upon human beings.

• Dangerous goods are goods that have the potential to cause harm to people, property or the environment.

• Hazardous substances include paints, washing powders and many other innocuous looking substances that can bring in harmful health effects on a medium or long term to some individuals

• Dangerous goods can bring immediate physical or chemical harm by fire, explosion, corrosion, etc. These include, flammable solids and liquids, gases, radioactive materials, and so on.

• There are many products that are classified under both the categories and, therefore, safety regulations of both categories are applied on such products.