Flammable Liquid Storage Cabinet

As the quantity and the number of flammable liquids increase in an operation, it becomes necessary to provide safe storage. The purpose of a flammable liquid storage cabinet is to protect the contents of the cabinet in a fire emergency and to keep the contents from contributing fuel to the fire. Cabinet construction can help to contain spilled liquid and help prevent fire entering into the cabinet until help can arrive to extinguish the fire.

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A flammable liquid storage cabinet may hold up to 120gallons of Class 1A, Class 1B and Class 1C flammable liquids, but no more than 30 gallons of Class 1A flammables. For storage in a work area, 120 gallons of flammables may be stored outside a cabinet, but a best practice is to limit the amount of flammable liquid stored in the open to one day’s or one shift’s supply. UL listed or FM approved safety cans and dispensing devices should be used where possible in the work areas. Small quantities of the flammable liquids help to reduce the fire exposure. These safety cans and dispensing devices should be removed to a safe storage area or flammable liquid cabinet during non working hours.

 

Three UL listed or FM approved cabinets may be present in any one fire area, but only if all flammable liquids are stored in safety cans or cabinets and the area is protected by a property designed fire sprinkler system. For larger quantities of flammable liquid storage, a flammable liquid storage room is recommended and is more cost effective than buying additional cabinets.

 

Flammable liquid storage cabinets can vary by size and type. The most common cabinet is one that has shelf storage. For drum storage, there are cabinets that can hold a 55 gallon drum and pump for dispensing the liquid. Not only can original product be stored in these cabinets, but flammable waste solvents and liquids can be safely stored until disposal or recycling.

 

A drum cabinet can be an effective control for storage of flammable liquids in the immediate work area. While flammable liquid storage cabinets can be constructed of wood or metals, metal is recommended. No matter what construction material is used, the cabinet must meet the minimum standards set forth in the most current National Fire Protection Association Code (NFPA-30 Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code). If the cabinet is metal it should be designed as follows: The cabinet walls, top and floor should be made of at least 18-gauge steel.

 

The walls should be doubled with 1 and 1/2 inch of air space in-between the sheets. The joints should be riveted or welded to be made liquid tight. The door should be provided with a three point latch arrangement. The door sill should be raised at least two inches above the bottom of the cabinet to retain spilled liquid within the cabinet. The cabinet should of marked with the conspicuous lettering, “Flammable-Keep Fire Away”. Because of the dangerous nature of the flammable liquids being stored and the critical construction involved, an Underwriters Laboratory (UL) or Factory Mutual (FM) approved cabinet manufactured specifically for this type of storage is recommended.

 

The cabinet does not need to be vented for fire protection reasons. Venting can be provided because of chemical characteristics of the flammable liquids in storage. Venting in these situation should not compromise the cabinet’s specified performance requirements.
The cabinet can also be used to stored aerosol cans.

 

Propane and butane which are flammable gases, are now used as aerosol propellants. In a fire, the aerosol cans become fireballs and can spread a fire. The flammable liquid storage cabinet helps to contain this rocket effect of the aerosol cans.

For fire protection and injury control, flammable liquids should be stored and handled safely in the workplace.