Deep dive on to the maximum ratings of bipolar transistors presented in this app note from Toshiba. Link here PDF!
For transistors, the maximum allowable current, voltage, power dissipation and other parameters are specified as maximum ratings.
The absolute maximum ratings are the highest values that must not be exceeded during operation even instantaneously. When two or more ratings are specified, two ratings can not be applied to the transistor at the same time.
Exposure to a condition exceeding a maximum rating may cause permanent degradation of its electrical characteristics. Care should be exercised as to supply voltage bounces, variations in the characteristics of circuit components, possible exposure to stress higher than the maximum ratings during circuit adjustment, changes in ambient temperature, and input signal fluctuations.