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Flammable Liquid Storage

Hi I'm Jill, Chief Safety Officer with Vivid Learning Systems. I'm a former OSHA inspector and I'm here to help you identify and correct workplace hazards.

For this series we are at the beautiful Monterey Bay Aquarium to show you that no matter where you work, safety is for everyone.

Do you ever look at chemicals in your work environment like this and wonder if you're storing them correctly or if they need to go in one of these flammable liquid storage cabinets? Well the why is the simple part. It's for fire protection. The what takes a little more knowledge, let's try to go through those steps to determine what you can store outside of a flammable liquid storage cabinet and what needs to go inside of a cabinet like this.

First we need to know what defines a flammable liquid. Here is the definition a flammable liquid: Is any liquid having a flash point at or below one hundred ninety-nine point four degrees Fahrenheit. Then flammable liquids are divided into four categories category one; our liquids with flash points below seventy three point four degrees Fahrenheit and boiling points at or below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Some examples are acetaldehyde and ethyl ether. Category two are liquids with flash points below seventy three point four degrees Fahrenheit and boiling points at or above 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Some examples of those are acetone benzene and toluene. Category three our flip liquids with flash points at or above seventy three point four degrees Fahrenheit and at or below a hundred and forty degrees Fahrenheit. And last category for those are liquids having flashpoints above 140 degrees Fahrenheit and at or below 199.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

Consult your SDS or Safety Data Sheet to find out what the flash points are for each chemical you have or you can also look at the labeling on some of your chemicals which now have their GHS or global harmonization system labeling on them.

Now that we know what a flammable liquid is, how much can we store outside of a specially designed room or cabinet? Well here are the limits: It's up to 25 gallons of category 1 liquids in containers 120 gallons of category 2, 3, or 4 liquids in containers and 660 gallons of category 2, 3, or 4 liquids in a single portable tank.

The next important thing to know is how much can we actually store inside of a flammable liquid storage cabinet like this. No more than 60 gallons of category 1, 2, or 3 flammable liquids and no more than 120 gallons of category 4 flammable liquids. Additionally you cannot have more than 3 flammable liquid storage cabinets in a single fire area.

There are special design requirements for both metal and wood flammable liquid storage cabinets and they all need to be labeled with a label that reads flammable and keep away. You also want to remember not to have these cabinets stored in any passageway or aisle wave that's leading to an exit or any place that people normally pass as a way of an access to and last one.

When I was an investigator with OSHA when I was doing my audits I would work with the employer and we would actually go through the chemicals that were in a cabinet and those that were stored outside of it and comparing all the flash points to determine whether they were in compliance or not with how much can be stored outside and how much can be stored inside of a flammable liquid storage cabinet. So I invite you to do the same on your safety audits you would do a check doing on it and see if you're exceeding limits or if you're meeting them or if you need to move some things around in your facility for safety.

I hope you've gained a safety skill today. If you know someone who needs this go ahead and pass it on.

Safety is everyone's business.