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Hazardous Material

Hazardous Material

Hazardous Material is any substance or compound that has the capability of producing adverse effects on the health and safety of humans or the environment.

According to the Model Code of Practice: Managing risks of hazardous chemicals in the workplace a hazard is a set of intrinsic properties of the substance, mixture, article or process that may cause adverse effects to organisms or the environment.

There are two broad types of hazards associated with hazardous chemicals which may present an immediate or long-term injury or illness to people. These are:

  • Health hazards—These are properties of a chemical that cause adverse health effects. Exposure usually occurs through inhalation, skin contact or ingestion. Adverse health effects can be acute (short term) or chronic (long term). Typical acute health effects include headaches, nausea or vomiting and skin corrosion, while chronic health effects include asthma, dermatitis, nerve damage or cancer. Examples of chemicals with health hazards include toxic chemicals (poisons), carcinogens (cancer-causing chemicals); and
  • Physical hazards—These are properties of a chemical that can result in immediate injury to people or damage to property. They arise through inappropriate handling or use and can often result in injury to people and/or damage to property as a result of the intrinsic physical hazard. Examples of physical hazards include flammable, corrosive, explosive, chemically-reactive and oxidising chemicals.

Many chemicals have properties that make them both health and physical hazards.


    In preparing this definition, we have drawn from various sources including Legislation, Codes, Standards and industry information, research and knowledge.  Like the english language, these definitions may subtly change from time to time. As such these definitions are provided solely on the basis that users will be responsible for making their own assessment of the definition and and are advised to verify all relevant representations, statements and information.