What are GHS physical hazards?

In the GHS system it is important to be aware of all the different hazards that exist in a given chemical or solution. One of the most common hazards is the physical hazard, which is used for chemicals and mixtures where there are dangers that can cause physical damage. This would include explosions, fires, and more. Understanding what physical hazards are within the GHS system, and how to make sure your labels are properly configured, will help to improve the safety of your facility, and other facilities that you work with.

Types of Physical Hazards

There are several types of physical hazards that are identified in the GHS system. They are as follows:

  • Explosives – Any solid or liquid that can cause an explosion.
  • Flammable Gasses – All gasses that are flammable in the air at 20 degrees Celsius.
  • Flammable Aerosols – Any aerosol that has more than 85% of the components in the solution are flammable.
  • Oxidizing Gasses – All gasses that can cause or contribute to combustion, or the combustion of surrounding materials.
  • Gasses Under Pressure – Any gas that is contained at a pressure of at least 280 Pa at 20 degrees.
  • Flammable Liquids – A liquid that has a flash point of 93 degrees Celsius or lower.
  • Flammable Solids – Any solid that is combustible or can cause a fire through friction.
  • Self-Reactive Substances – Any thermally unstable substance that can experience an exothermic thermal decomposition, even without oxygen present.
  • Pyrophoric Liquids – A liquid that can ignite with five minutes or fewer of exposure to the air.
  • Pyrophoric Solids – A solid that is able to ignite when coming into contact with air. Ignition can occur within five minutes of exposure to air.
  • Self-Heating Substances – A material that can give off heat, but is not a pyrophoric substance.
  • Substances that Emit Flammable Gasses when in Contact with Water – Either solids or liquids that can become flammable or give off flammable gas when exposed to water.
  • Oxidizing Liquids – A liquid that can yield oxygen and contribute to the combustion of other materials.
  • Oxidizing Solids – A solid material that can yield oxygen, which can result in combustion.
  • Organic Peroxides – Any of several types of organic peroxide substance that can cause serious physical reactions.
  • Corrosive to Metals – Any substance that can damage or destroy metals when exposed.

Having an understanding of these types of physical hazards that can be present will help ensure your facility is able to use the materials safely, and respond to any spills or accidents appropriately.


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