Best Practices and Tips from Safety Experts
1. Don’t Add Fuel to the Fire – Keep Unnecessary Flammable Materials Put Away
When storing chemical containers in a flammable safety cabinet, it might seem more organized to keep them in their original cardboard packaging. But, this approach creates unintended safety risks. A spark near the safety cabinet may ignite the cardboard. When the cardboard burns, it creates heat. This may cause any vapors in the air to ignite or explode.
Also, avoid storing items on top of, or near, the cabinet. This includes used oily rags, waste paper, or other flammable materials.
2. Organize Chemicals Inside a Flammable Safety Cabinet
Justrite’s flammable cabinets have shelves designed to carry the weight of chemical containers and for easy access by users. Our patented SpillSlope® shelves sit on a slight slope. Spills are directed to the back of the cabinet to the leakproof sump in the bottom.
Justrite provides SDS document storage boxes that install directly on cabinet doors or side walls.
Never store chemicals in the sump of a cabinet. This takes up space designed to contain a spill. Storing chemicals in the sump area can cause some chemicals to remain exposed and ignite in the presence of a spark.
For maximum organization of your space, Justrite supplies optional all-steel shelf dividers. Simply slide them into position on the shelves to segregate chemicals within a cabinet.
Helpful Tip: In the incident at the middle school, the fire department called the chemical’s manufacturer for advice on handling it after a reaction. But, that information should be included in the chemical’s Safety Data Sheet (SDS).
All chemical come with Safety Data Sheets (SDS), as specified by OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard. These provide vital information about the chemical, including hazards classes, first-aid measures, fire-fighting measures, handling and storage guidance, and more. Justrite supplies optional document storage boxesto keep SDS’s easily accessible for all chemicals. Install these durable and convenient boxes directly onto cabinet doors or side walls. They also protect contents from dirt and moisture.
3. Understand Safety Cabinet Ventilation
Justrite safety experts agree with NFPA 30, which advises against venting safety cabinets unless otherwise required. Justrite flammable safety cabinets come with 2-inch NPT vent bungs installed but sealed off as a standard practice.
Ventilation removes flammable vapors from a safety cabinet, reducing the chance of ignition. Removing flammable vapors from a safety cabinet and releasing them somewhere else only moves the hazard from one place to another. If the new location is close to ignition sources, that may cause an even greater risk.
4. Modifications Create More Risks
Flammable safety cabinets form a fire-resistant barrier between the outside and inside of the cabinet. Justrite safety cabinets have an air gap between the interior and exterior wall. This provides heat resistance and keeps the internal temperature below 325 F (162 C) for at least 10-minutes under fire conditions, as defined by NFPA 251.
Modifications like drilling a hole into the flammable safety cabinet wall may pose a major fire risk. This compromises its heat resistance and reduces ignition time of its contents. Thus, employees may not have enough time to evacuate the area before the chemicals ignite or explode. Modifications void third party or independent certifications.
Contact Justrite for Expert Guidance Storing Flammable Chemicals
At Justrite, we understand safety is more than the equipment used, it’s a process and a state of mind. And when lives are at stake, the real cost of an unsafe workplace is beyond measure. That’s why we design, develop and deliver the highest quality flammable liquid storage and handling products on the planet. Find out more about flammable safety cabinets here or contact us for more expert advice.
The Sun Chronicle. KP Middle School in Norfolk evacuated due to hazmat incident