HazMat is an abbreviation of “Hazardous material”. A hazardous material, or HazMat, is a chemical or agent (biological, chemical, radiological, or physical) which has the potential to cause harm to humans, animals, or the environment, either by itself or through interaction with others.

HazMat is often used as a general term to describe Hazardous Substances, Dangerous Goods, Extremely Hazardous Substances, or Hazardous Waste.

Classes of Hazardous Materials

The Department of Transportation has broken down hazardous materials into nine classes. They are:

  1. Class 1: Explosives
  2. Class 2: Flammable, Non-flammable and Toxic Gasses
  3. Class 3: Flammable Liquids
  4. Class 4: Flammable, Spontaneously Combustible and Water-Reactive Solids
  5. Class 5: Oxidizers and Organic Peroxides
  6. Class 6: Toxic Liquids and Solids
  7. Class 7: Radioactives
  8. Class 8: Corrosives
  9. Class 9: Miscellaneous

Hazardous Substances

A HazMat, or hazardous material, can also be classified as a Hazardous Substance or Dangerous Goods, which has reporting requirements if spilled into the environment. A hazardous substance can any solid, liquid, or gas that may cause harm to your health or the environment.

Extremely Hazardous Substances

Some hazardous materials are identified as Extremely Hazardous Substances under Section 302 of the Emergency Planning & Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA). SARA Title III requires all companies that have extremely hazardous substances on-site over a certain quantity to have a plan on file with the Local Emergency Planning Committee. This is to help plan for chemical emergencies and protect vulnerable populations.

Below is a table listing common extremely hazardous materials for reference. See Section 302 of EPCRA for a complete list.

Hazardous Waste

When a hazardous material is spilled or has reached the end of its useful life in a chemical process (degreasing solvents, for example), the chemical is disposed of under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulations as a Hazardous Waste.

Examples of Common Hazardous Materials

Many chemicals found in a typical garage – such as flammable liquids, battery acid, pesticides and propane – are hazardous materials. Industries may have these chemicals in large volumes, which can pose a threat to the safety of workers and the community. To learn more about the chemicals you might be exposed to in everyday locations and situations, visit the National Library of Medicine’s interactive application called “Tox Town”.

Requirements for Employee Communication and Training

Almost every company has hazardous materials in their facility, such as the concentrated industrial cleaner or the sulfuric acid in the forklift batteries. OSHA requires all employers to provide hazard communication training and hazmat awareness HAZWOPER training for new employees and additional training when new hazardous materials enter the facility. HazMat Solutions offers customized, on-site hazmat training for the specific chemicals in your facility. If you’re wondering what type of training your company needs, contact us! We’re happy to answer your questions and provide you with a quote.