Flammable Liquid Storage Requirements

Written by della r. buckland
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Any liquid that has a flash point of 37.8 degrees Celsius or less is considered flammable. Some flammable liquids include gasoline, acetone and turpentine. Because of the danger flammable liquids pose and the destruction they can cause, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) have devised guidelines for storing flammable liquids.

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Cans and Containers

According to OSHA, any container that holds flammable liquid is not to be any larger than five gallons in capacity or size. Further, the can or container must be designed with a tight-fitting lid and spout, which is designed to relieve pressure when exposed to excessive heat and/or flame.

Steel and Wooden Storage Cabinets

These cabinets are designed to contain flammable liquids for both storage and protection. If the cabinet is built of steel, OSHA states that it should be built with 18-gauge steel and have 1.5 inches of air space between the outside shell and the inside storage. Further, construction of the steel cabinet must be welded in its constructions. Wooden cabinets must be constructed of 1-inch, exterior-grade plywood and have its joints reinforced and secured with flathead screws for wooden constructions and in opposite directions.

Both steel and wooden storage cabinets must have a 2-inch door sill with a pan to hold in the liquid, and the door must be fastened with a three-point secured lock. (If the cabinet has two doors, they must securely overlap.) Finally, the cabinet must clearly be labelled "Flammable - Keep Fire Away".

Location and Area

OSHA does not give specific requirements or recommendations as to the location of flammable liquid whether in cabinets or containers. However, NFPA offers suggestions for where to place flammable liquids: a building separated from the main building and having at least one hour of fire resistance (of either concrete or flame-resistant wood) before reaching the main building and having a maximum of three cabinets. If no outside location is available, cabinets should be stored the farthest away from any heat source or sparks.

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