When dealing with flammable and combustible liquids, it is important not to overlook any aspect associated with their safe handling.
Static discharge during filling or decanting, combustion due to excessive heat build up, a potential ignition source such as a spark from a tool or electrical component or pressure build-up in a container can all result in disaster should the correct procedures not be followed.
The Health and Safety Executive recommends that the maximum quantities of flammables stored in cabinets or bins are:
- Extremely flammable, highly flammable and those with a flashpoint below the maximum ambient temperature of 30 degrees Celsius: 50ltr
- Other flammable liquids with a higher flashpoint of up to 55 degrees Celsius: 250ltr
Generally, there can be some flexibility with the limits of quantities stored, if the design of the holding building or the work pattern is making things difficult, for example if you operate in a large, open-plan area. However, where an employer identifies the need to store quantities that exceed the maximum recommendation, the must fully demonstrate the need for such a requirement and compile a full risk assessment.
This should include:
- The properties of the materials being stored or handled. For mixed storage, the worst case situation should be applied
- The size of the working area and the number of people operating within it
- The amount of flammable liquids being handled in the working area and the quantities of liquids that could potentially be released or spilled
- Ignition sources and potential fire spread as a result of an ignition
- Exhaust ventilation provision to the working area and/or storage cabinets and bins
- The fire performance of the storage cabinet or bin
- The arrangements for the closing of the cabinet or bin door/lid in the event of a fire
- Means of escape from the working area
In the event of an incident, the main objective is to ensure that workers can safely escape. In this context, the purpose of housing the Dangerous Substances in the appropriate storage is to provide a physical protection to delay the involvement of stored liquids in a fire allowing enough time for workers to evacuate.
It is the responsibility of the employer or duty holder to ensure the storage solutions meet the minimum legal requirements. At empteezy, we are well placed to offer expert advice to ensure you meet these requirements and ensure your flammable or hazardous liquids are securely stored. Our range of flammable and combustible liquid storage containers are available on our homepage or in our latest catalogue which is available to download now.
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