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Are You Storing Your Flammable Chemicals Safely?

Flammable liquid signFire is an ever-present danger in the workplace: U.S. fire departments reported approximately 42,800 fires in industrial and manufacturing properties between 2006 and 2010. To help prevent onsite fires, companies should follow OSHA’s requirements for storing flammable and combustible materials. Review this essential information to ensure that you’re storing flammable chemicals safely.

OSHA requirements

OSHA requires that workers who handle flammable or combustible materials follow the warning labels on such products — for example, the products must be used and stored away from fuel, heat, and ignition sources. OSHA has very specific requirements related to storage. As part of its Flammable and Combustible Liquids training material, OSHA provides a chart showing how much flammable or combustible material can be stored.

Personnel at your worksite who are responsible for safety should make sure to read the latest OSHA requirements related to wiring, ventilation, and storage.

[sidebar width=”wider”]Products for Safely Storing Your Flammables
AbsorbentsOnline has dozens of flammable-material storage products available. Here are a few examples:

Proper storage

When you’re determining what kind of storage you’ll use for flammable chemicals, two factors to consider are the quantity and type of chemical to be stored and how close to the point of use the chemical will be stored. Safety cans and containers store smaller amounts of chemicals because they’re intended to be portable. Safety cabinets let you store larger amounts of flammables in multiple safety containers and are intended to be located away from where the chemical is used. Safety cabinets and safety cans/containers used in a workplace must meet OSHA requirements.

The two primary types of professional-grade, flame-resistant storage cabinets are steel and high-density polyethylene. Steel cabinets are well-suited for storing most flammable materials. However, some chemicals will burn through steel and therefore require a high-density polyethylene cabinet.

Prevention and communication

Identify potential triggers for a fire, such as sparks from heavy machinery, space heaters, or lighters. Have clear requirements and allocate specific storage areas for flammable materials, with a defined distance for how far away machinery use is permitted. Also make sure you educate employees about fire risks and what to do in the event of a fire. By taking the right safety steps and using the correct storage equipment for your onsite flammables, you can dramatically reduce fire hazards.

[cta]Travis ZdrazilHave questions about which safety storage cabinet is right for your needs? Contact Travis Zdrazil at travis@absorbentsonline.com or (800) 869-9633.[/cta]