Response to Emergencies and Safety Hazards – Hazardous Material/Dangerous Goods Incident

Response to Emergencies and Safety Hazards – Hazardous Material/Dangerous Goods Incident 

Hazardous material/ dangerous goods can be defined as any substance (gas, liquid, or solid) either alone or mixed with another substance that may cause injury or death to any person or damage to the environment.

Classification of Hazardous Materials/ Dangerous Goods

  • Class 1 Explosives
  • Class 2 Gasses
  • Class 3 Flammable Liquids (combustible liquids)
  • Class 4 Flammable Solids
  • Class 5 Oxides and Organic peroxides
  • Class 6 Toxic Material and infectious substances
  • Class 7 Radioactive Materials
  • Class 8 Corrosive Materials
  • Class 9 Miscellaneous dangerous goods


Any vehicle transporting hazardous material must have a diamond-shaped identification placard showing what type of material it is transporting. These placards will be color-coded and use words, symbols, or both to identify the materials in the freight containers, motor vehicles, or train cars. Labels communicate the same hazards for small containers and packages offered for transport.

A hazmat incident happens when a hazardous material or dangerous goods escapes or has the potential to run its container in an uncontrolled environment.

An example would be if a fuel truck were involved In an accident, and the fuel was leaking or had the potential to leak. Remember that the substance does not have to be in a liquid form to be considered a Hazmat incident. Gasses such as hydrogen or oxygen can be considered hazardous materials under certain circumstances.

Safety Response

  • Remain calm
  • Call emergency response 911
    • Give the location and nature of the problem
    • The name and identification number of the material involved
    • The shipper, consignee, and point of origin
    • The carrier name, rail car, or truck number
    • The quantity of material being transported and or spilled
    • The local conditions (weather, terrain, proximity to schools, hospitals, etc.)
    • Any injuries or exposures
    • Any emergency response agencies that have been notified
    • Be prepared to give
      • Your name
      • The location that you are calling from
      • Who do you work for, and what is your current occupation
      • What time did you discover the incident
  • Contact your supervisor or designated manager.
  • Maintain a safe distance from the spill or accident. This varies from a few hundred feet to a mile. Keep the potential of drifting fumes and gas in mind. Victims are often overcome by fumes or vapor from a spill without coming into physical contact with the substance. Be aware of wind direction and speed. It can affect how fast flames and vapors can travel.
  • Secure the scene. Without entering the immediate hazard area, isolate the area and assure the safety of people and the environment. Keep people in the safety zone.
  • Above all, do not walk into or touch spilled material. Avoid inhalation of fumes, smoke, and vapors, even if no dangerous goods are known to be involved.
  • Give your name, call back number