What Are Hazardous Material (Hazmat)?
Hazardous material, or hazmat, is considered to be any substance that poses a risk to health, environment, property or safety. These are typically items that can become flammable or have toxic traits. This could be items like fireworks or gasoline and even includes things we use every day like shampoo. Hazmat categories cover any substance able to cause risk or harm to a person or environment. Hazardous materials are a threat to human health, safety and the environment. This especially applies when transporting hazmat. Using incorrect packaging or not properly storing the dangerous cargo can cause serious harm to anyone who comes in contact with it. While some hazmat is not too common, some are things we use every day. Some are useful to us like cleaning chemicals or soaps, while some have limited use. More dangerous hazmat items include fuels, toxic waste, and medicine. A big example can be COVID-19 tests and vaccines.
Different Levels of Hazardous Material
Here’s how the National Fire Protection Association rates hazmat in the United States:
- Red | Flammable
- Blue | Health Hazard
- Yellow | Instability Hazard
- 4 | Lethal or explosive
- 3 | Permanent injury cause
- 2 | Temporary injury or chemical change
- 1 | No hazard or stable
While handling or shipping most hazardous materials, material safety data sheets (MSDS) are a must have. This paperwork provides in depth information about the shipment and how it will transport. Overall, it will have safety guidance and a first aid process to follow in the case of exposure. Review the procedures of the MSDS before shipping any hazmat product. Also, make extra copies of the safety data sheets included with the shipment. While setting up transit, make sure to package materials by the regulations of the goods with correct and marked containers. Let the carrier know in advance the specifics of the materials you are setting up for transport.Get a Free Freight Quote
Different Usages for Hazardous Material
Even though it is best to steer clear of hazardous materials, they still play a part in all of our lives daily. Hazmat products like bleach or hand sanitizer can be bought in a local convenient store. While some are easy to come across and are fairly toxic if consumed, others we use for medical reasons. X-ray and MRI machines in hospitals, send out radiation that may be harmful to a healthy person, but it can overcome sickness. Chemotherapy is hazmat but has saved many lives.
Treating Hazardous Material
Treating hazardous materials can be a very dangerous process, although it can benefit our economy in a big way. Each Hazmat level requires a specific type of personal protective equipment. The gear worn by hazard cleanup teams is called hazmat suits.
What is a Hazmat Suit?
Hazmat suits resist many chemical, biological, and radioactive items to stay safe from exposure. While each suit is made special to protect each different
environment. For example, if workers are entering an area with toxic materials, they use lead lined suits that protect against radiation.
Levels of Hazmat Suits
Hazmat suits have four levels of protection appointed by the Department of Transportation (DOT).
- Level A Suits | Highest level of protection
A level A suit requires SCBA protective equipment. This suit shields against chemicals and airborne hazmat. These suits are for keeping one’s eyes, lungs, and skin safe from hazardous liquid or gas materials.
- Level B Suits | Protection against liquid
This suit level does not provide as much skin protection as Level A but still protects against splash, which requires SCBA equipment.
- Level C Suits | Protection against gas
Level C suits do not need an SCBA. In this case, any toxic materials in the air are low enough to avoid damage to the skin or eyes.
- Level D Suits | Lowest level of protection
As for this level suit, there is no hazmat in the air so there is no danger to the lungs or skin. Therefore, a Level D suit does not need a breathing device. However, protective eyewear is important for defense against possible eye exposure. Glasses also keep your eyes safe from airborne debris.
Know What SCBA and APR Are?
SCBA and APR are some of the many tools hazmat teams wear and use during an outbreak or cleanup. Although all tools they use are important, we will go over these two acronyms to better inform you on hazmat suits.Get a Free Freight Quote
SCBA (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus)
Self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) is a helmet for protection against low oxygen, dust, and gasses. Not to mix up SCBA with scuba, SCBA helmets are for above and underwater use, definitely NOT for hazmat. However, scuba gear is mainly for below sea level use. These are mostly worn at waste managing plants, aboard ships or plains, and in tunnels. In the event of a fire, you may see a fireman wear SCBA helmets.
APR (Air Purifying Respirator)
There are many acronyms for APR, but we are not talking about your credit card. However, an air purifying respirator (APR) is necessary to filter any harmful elements from the lungs. While wearing an APR you can safely enter an infectious or dangerous site.
How Do You Ship Hazardous Materials?
Our Quick Quote form online includes a box to select the “Hazmat” service option. The extra cost to ship hazmat will be in the price. Keep in mind that not all carriers can handle Hazmat freight. Licensed carriers in the U.S. are required to indicate hazmat by a diamond shaped sign. The color of the diamond will indicate the type of hazard the product represents.
Ship With FreightCenter
Have any questions? Let FreightCenter help! We are experts when it comes to shipping products both nationally and internationally. Our freight agents can ease you into the process to ensure it’s a smooth ride for both you and your shipment. Use FreightCenter’s freight shipping quote tool to begin. For other locations, call our international shipping experts at 844-212–7447. Saving money doesn’t have to cost more in the long haul: Let FreightCenter be your “one stop ship.”Get a Free Freight Quote