The importance of dangerous goods signage
May 14, 2018

The importance of dangerous goods signage

Walter Ingles Walter Ingles

Dangerous Goods are substances that pose an immediate threat to people, property and the environment. Because of the significant risks associated with dangerous goods, all storage facilities used for the storage of dangerous goods must be clearly marked with dangerous goods signs. Dangerous goods signs are a means of warning workers and visitors of the risks associated with the dangerous substances stored within the facility.

The importance of dangerous goods signs

Dangerous goods signs are an important part of an overall strategy for managing the risks associated with dangerous goods and hazardous chemicals stored in the workplace. The STOREMASTA methodology for managing the risks associated with dangerous goods has four facades. These are:

  • Identify
  • Assess
  • Control
  • Sustain

As you can see from this methodology, the first step that must be taken in the dangerous goods management process is to identify the potential risks associated with the dangerous goods in the workplace. If the dangerous goods storage facilities in your workplace didn't have the correct dangerous goods signage, it would affect your ability to manage their risks.

For example; if a flammable liquids storage facility in your workplace was not signed, workers could be unaware of the flammable substances contained in the storage facility. This could cause them to undertake unsafe activities in flammable liquids storage areas, such as welding and grinding. If the sparks from the welding and grinding came into contact with the vapours from the flammable liquids store, it would cause a severe fire that would harm the people and property in the surrounding area.  

Using the correct signage is essential

The specific risks associated with dangerous goods differ from class to class. This makes it extremely important to ensure that all dangerous goods storage facilities contain the correct signage. For example; the risks associated with corrosive substances and flammable liquids are vastly different. Corrosive substances have the ability to damage materials such as metal, stone and human flesh, while flammable liquids have the ability to ignite and cause severe fires.

The differing risks make it very important to sign dangerous goods storage facilities correctly, because different controls are required to minimise the risks associated with each dangerous goods class. The risks associated with flammable liquids are controlled by isolating ignition sources, while the risks associated with corrosive substances are controlled by using corrosive resistant personal protective equipment.  

The different dangerous goods signs

There are 9 different dangerous goods classes and some classes also contain subdivisions. Each of these dangerous goods classes and subdivisions have a specific dangerous goods sign that is used to warn workers of the risks associated with the specific class or division. These dangerous goods signs are shown below:

Class 1 - Explosives


Division 2.1 - Flammable Gas

Flammable - Gas

Division 2.2 - Non-Flammable Non-Toxic Gas

Non Flammable

Division 2.3 - Toxic Gas

Toxic - Gas

Class 3 - Flammable Gas

Flammable Liquids - class 3

Division 4.1 - Flammable Solids

Flammable - Solid

Division 4.2 - Spontaneous Combustibles

Spontaneous combustibles

Division 4.3 - Dangerous When Wet

Compliant_4 Dangerous When Wet

Division 5.1 - Oxidising Agents

Oxidising - Agent

Division 5.2 - Organic Peroxides

Compliant_5.2 ver 2 Organic Peroxide

Division - 6.1 - Toxic Substances 


Division 6.2 - Infectious Substances

Infectious Substances

Class 7 - Radioactive Substances

Radioactive Substances

Class 8 - Corrosive Substances


Class 9 - Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods

Compliant_9 Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods RLI

Next Steps

As outlined above, dangerous goods pose significant threats upon the people, property and environment of your organisation. To help reduce the risks that dangerous goods have upon your workplace, it is very important to sign all DG storage facilities correctly. Failure to identify dangerous goods storage facilities with the correct signage could result in workplace incidents that could harm people and property. If you would like more information on 9 different classes of dangerous goods, download our FREE eBook by clicking on the image below.

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Walter is STOREMASTA’s Dangerous Goods Adviser. He loves helping business reduce the risk that Dangerous Goods pose upon their employees, property and the environment through safe and compliant dangerous goods storage solutions.

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