The transportation of hazardous materials carries multiple risk factors and there are many possible dangers that can result from accidents involving their transportation.
The risk factors are categorised by the United Nations under 9 hazard classes:
- Explosives– goods which are capable of producing hazardous amounts of heat, light, sound, gas or smoke.
- Gases– which pose a serious risk as potential asphyxiants and because of their flammability.
- Flammable liquids– which are volatile and capable of giving off a flammable vapour.
- Flammable solids– are highly combustible, can even cause fire through friction.
- Oxidising substances– not naturally combustible but can contribute to the combustion of other hazardous substance.
- Toxic substances– able to cause serious injury or death to humans if swallowed, inhaled or by contact with skin.