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Is Your Piping Systems Properly Marked? (Jan/Feb-12)
Accident Prevention, Does Your Company Have An Effective Program? (Nov/Dec-11)
Defining FR – Flame Resistant Fabrics (Jul/Aug-11)
OSHA's Flammable & Combustible Liquids (May/Jun-11)
Safety & Health Program Check-up (Jan/Feb-11)
OSHA Is My Friend (Nov/Dec-10)
OSHA Standard for Control of Hazardous Energy Sources? (Sep/Oct-10)
Lockout/Tagout Program (Jul/Aug-10)
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What You Should Know about OSHA and Plastic Working Machinery (Mar/Apr-10)
Fasten Those Forklift Seat Belts (Jan/Feb-10)
My Back Hurts (Nov/Dec-09)
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Is Your Company on OSHA's Hit List?
OSHA Notifies Workplaces with High Injury and Illness Rates (Mar/Apr-08)
Safety Means . . . Never Having to Say You're Sorry (Jan/Feb-08)
Flammables and Combustible Liquids (Nov/Dec-07)
Designing-In Safety NOT Retrofitting Safety (Sep/Oct-07)
Back Safety and Lifting (Jul/Aug-07)
Machine Guarding (May/Jun-07)
Your Hearing Keep it for a Lifetime (Mar/Apr-07)
Light Up the Holidays the Safe Way (Nov/Dec-06)
Would You Risk Your Employee's Life? (Sep/Oct-06)
How to Control Workers' Compensation Costs (Jul/Aug-06)
Compliance with 70E Electrical Standards (May/Jun-06)
OSHA Is on the Move (Mar/Apr-06)
Workplace Violence (Jan/Feb-06)
The Aging Workforce (Nov/Dec-05)
The Safety Paradox (Sep/Oct-05)
Machine Guarding (Jul/Aug-05)
Effective Risk Management (May/Jun-05)
Safety Is Everyone's Business (Mar/Apr-05)
New Year's Resolution Safety (Jan/Feb-05)
Safe Driving (Nov/Dec-04)
Terror In The Skies Revisited (Sep/Oct-04)
How They Got Hurt (Jul/Aug-04)
In-Plant Air Monitoring & Analysis (May/Jun-04)
Safety on the Job and Complying with the Americans With Disabilities Act (Mar/Apr-04)
Link to Article Archive (Jan/Feb-04)
A Supervisor's Duty (Nov/Dec-03)
Machine Safety – Are Your Machines Safe to Operate? (Sep/Oct-03)
Summer is Here (Jul/Aug-03)
Working Safely On Powered Industrial Trucks (Forklifts) (May/Jun-03)
Does Your Safety and Health Workplace Program Contain All of These Elements? (Mar/Apr-03)
Methylene Chloride (Jan/Feb-03)
Safety Signs & Labels - Does Your Facility Comply? (Nov/Dec-02)
Indoor Air Quality (Sep/Oct-02)
When OSHA Arrives (Jul/Aug-02)
Facts About the Occupation Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) (May/Jun-02)
Workplace Fire Safety (Mar/Apr-02)
OSHA 300 Form (Jan/Feb-02)
Preparing for Disaster (Nov/Dec-01)
How Much is a Life Worth? (Sep/Oct-01)
Material Handling Programs (Jul/Aug-01)
It's Up To You To Protect Your Skin (May/Jun-01)
When You’ve Been Handed the Responsibility for Safety (Mar/Apr-01)
A Fresh Look at Machine Safeguarding (Jan/Feb-01)
Safe Work Habits (Nov/Dec-00)
The Importance of Material Safety Data Sheets (Sep/Oct-00)
Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (Jul/Aug-00)
Lockout/Tagout Program (May/Jun-00)
OSHA Violations, Citations and Penalties for 1998 (Mar/Apr-00)
Erogonomics and Machinery Safeguarding (Jan/Feb-00)
General Machine Principles (Nov/Dec-99)
SAFETY SOLUTIONS
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SAFETY SOLUTIONS: OSHA's Flammable & Combustible Liquids

Each year fires destroy many places of business and homes because flammable and combustible liquids were not properly stored.

Flammable liquids are used in hundreds of thousands of processes and they're used safely every day. The answer to flammable liquid safety is to follow company safety procedures and work rules and, of course, the information provided for the manufacturer. Each employee holds the key to safety when working with flammable liquids.

Knowledge is the first step, but putting that information to work for you makes the difference in safety.

Proper flammable material storage is essential for fire prevention. Flammable storage locations can range from purpose- built building or storerooms to NFPA rated flammable storage cabinets. All flammable storage cabinets must be vented to the outside when they are installed. OSHA regulations for this hazard can be found in 29 CFR 1910.101 to 1910.126. and can be read online at www.osha.gov.

Here are some answers to basic questions:

Q: Why store flammable and combustible liquids inside a flammable liquid storage cabinet?

A: To protect flammable liquids against flash fire, to prevent the containers from building excessive internal pressure, and to contain spilled flammable liquids that can further spread fire.

Q: Is my existing flammable liquid storage cabinet acceptable?

A: Cabinets must be Underwriter Laboratories (U.L.) (1275) listed or Factory Mutual (F.M.) approved, which is indicated by a permanent manufacture’s label on the cabinet. Alternatively, cabinets must be constructed in accordance with the following:

  1. Unlisted metal cabinets shall be of steel having a thickness of not less than 0.044" (18 gauge). The cabinet, including the door, shall be double walled with 1-1/2" airspace between the walls. Joints shall be riveted or welded and shall be tight fitting. Doors shall be well fitted, self-closing and equipped with a latching device, OR,
  2. Unlisted wooden cabinets, including doors, shall be constructed of not less than 1” exterior grade plywood. Joints shall be rabbited and shall be fastened in two directions with wood screws. Door hinges shall be of steel or brass. Cabinet shall be painted with an intumescent-type paint. Doors shall be well fitted, self-closing and equipped with a three point latch.
Regardless of wood or metal cabinet, each cabinet shall have the following:
  1. The bottom of the cabinet shall be liquid-tight to a height of at least 2".
  2. The door shall be well fitted, self-closing and equipped with a three point latch.
  3. It should bear a conspicuous label on contrasting background which reads, “FLAMMABLE – KEEP FIRE AWAY” on the front.
Q: What is the maximum quantity of flammable and combustible liquids that I can store inside a single storage cabinet?

A: Cabinets are available in different sizes ranging from 4-gallon (15-liter) to 120 gallon (454-liter) capacity. However, per regulations, no more than 60 gallons of Class I-A flammable liquids may be stored inside a single cabinet. Class I-A flammable liquid is liquid having a closed cup flash point below 73°F and boiling point below 100OF.

Q: Should the flammable liquid storage cabinet be vented?

A: When used for storage of closed containers, a flammable liquid storage cabinet is not required to be vented for fire protection purposes. Vent openings must be sealed with the bungs supplied with the cabinet or with bungs specified by the cabinet manufacturer. If venting is required for other reasons such as personnel exposure or dispensing operations within the cabinet, then venting using the opening provided by the manufacturer shall be provided with metallic vent pipe directly to outdoors or to the fume hood exhaust duct in a manner that is acceptable to the local Fire Department.

Proper venting practices: remove steel bungs from the factory furnished vent ports; connect metal vent pipe directly to the lower vent port since hydrocarbon vapors are usually heavier than air; inspect the upper vent port to ensure the flame arrestor is installed. The upper vent port with the flame arrestor will provide make up air for efficient purging. Do not cut or drill into the exterior of a cabinet for vent connection.

Q: Should the flammable liquid storage cabinet be grounded?

A: No, unless you are dispensing from one of the containers when it is sitting inside the cabinet.

Q: Who makes flammable liquid storage cabinets and where can I purchase one?

A: Cabinets can be purchased from lab equipment supply companies or safety equipment supply companies.

A special thank you to OSHA and to the University of California Berkeley for permission to use some of their information from their fact sheet.

For more information, click on the author link at the top of the page.

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