FAQ: where can you put a Class 3 Flammable Liquids cabinet? 

Jul 8, 2020 Posted by Walter Ingles

In this blog we’ll be helping you select a suitable location for your Class 3 Flammable Liquids cabinet — so you meet the requirements of AS1940:2017 –- The storage and handling of flammable and combustible liquids. Safety cabinets that are manufactured to Australian Standards are an efficient and reliable hazard control measure, provided they are installed, loaded, used and maintained in an approved location.  


1. Indoor location

Always put your flammable liquids cabinet indoors. There are three important reasons for this: 

  • Roof - the top of the cabinet is flat and not designed for keeping out the rain or dealing with water run-off.  
  • Walls - flammable liquids cabinets are made from double-walled sheet steel — and if water or other moisture should penetrate the cabinet (and get inside the walls), the cabinet will quickly begin to rust or corrode.  
  • Ventilation - these cabinets are designed for mechanical venting systems and have close fitting doors. This is to fully contain the flammable vapours and liquids from any leaks or spills that occur inside the cabinet. Placed outside — and in regulated heat — the interior of the cabinet could reach the auto-ignition and explosive range. 

2. On solid, level ground

It’s very important to install your flammable liquids cabinet on solid, level ground. Each cabinet interior has tapered shelving to immediately direct any leaking containers or accidental spills into the lower compound. This lower compound acts as a light-tight spill bund. 

At the same time, the doors on your cabinet close automatically (and in sequence). If the cabinet is installed on an angle and is not perfectly level — the doors may jam and the cabinet will no longer comply with Australian Safety Standards. 


3. Safely illuminated area

All hazardous chemicals and Dangerous Goods must be stored in a well-lit location so that workers (or other personnel) entering the area can quickly read warning signs and clearly identify the chemicals inside the cabinet. 

Proper lighting is required to comply with Section 3.6 (Lighting) of Australian Standard AS1940:2017 and it must be sufficient to ensure that the cabinet markings are clearly visible whenever the cabinet doors are closed. 

IMPORTANT: Lighting and switches must be suited for use with flammable liquids without creating an ignition hazard. 


4. Secure and controlled area

All areas where Class 3 Flammable Liquids are stored (including safety cabinets) must be secured against unauthorised access and tampering. You may require a combination of: 

  • Fencing, barriers, roller doors and lockable gates. 
  • Having site visitors register at the front entry, and then accompanied by a supervisor or authorised worker when moving around the job site. 
  • Monitoring chemical storages areas with CCTV and motion detectors. 


5. On the ground floor

Flammable liquids cabinets should be kept on the ground floor of a building — unless there is direct access to the road. Cabinets should be located away from entry and exit points and must never be positioned in a way that could impede an evacuation or emergency escape. For this reason, keep cabinets out of public walkways and corridors. 


SPOTLIGHT: Cabinets great than 250 litres 

Cabinets with a capacity greater than 250 litres must NEVER be: 

  • Placed against a wall that is common with another room (unless the wall is constructed of concrete or masonry). 
  • Inside a public building (hospital, accommodation complex, commercial building, school etc).  
  • Standing taller than 2 metres above floor level. 


6. Within aggregate quantities

If you place your flammable liquids cabinets in groups, you must be sure to stay within allowable aggregate quantities — each separated by at least 10 metres. Aggregate quantities are: 

  • Ground floor: 850 litres per 250 m2 
  • Other levels: 250 litres per 250 m2

7. Protected from impact

Ensure your flammable liquids cabinet is protected at all times from impact damage. You don’t want your cabinet knocked over, punctured, or otherwise damaged by: 

  • Outside delivery vehicles. 
  • Site vehicles or forklifts. 
  • Dropped tools or falling machinery from overhead construction and maintenance work areas. 
  • Flying debris or projectiles from nearby machinery installations. 


8. Isolated from all ignition source

A Class 3 Flammable Liquids cabinet must never be installed within 3 metres of an ignition source. This means specifically installing the cabinet away from: 

  • Open flames (gas heaters, hot water systems with pilot lights, Bunsen burners, matches, lighters, candles, cigarettes). 
  • Electrical appliances (light switches, power boardspower points, main boards, network servers, IT equipment, hand tools, cables, lights, connectors). 
  • Hot work (grinding, welding, soldering, drilling, flame cutting). 
  • Hot surfaces (furnaces, hot plates, machinery, boilers). 


REMEMBER: Putting the cabinet in a suitable location is only one step toward compliance, you must also ensure that ignition sources are NOT BROUGHT within 3 metres of the cabinet in the form of welding, maintenance and repair work, or using personal electronics. 


Next steps 

For more information about selecting a Class 3 Flammable Liquids cabinet and installing it in a compliant location, please download our free eBook Essential Considerations When Storing Flammable Liquids Indoors. It walks you through the requirements of Australian Standard AS1940:2017 in an easy-to-read format, using real-world examples. Download and read it today by clicking on the image below:  

Essential Considerations when Storing Flammable Liquids Indoors download Free eBook

Walter Ingles

Walter Ingles Compliance Specialist

Walter is STOREMASTA’s Dangerous Goods Storage Specialist. He helps organisations reduce risk and improve efficiencies in the storage and management of dangerous goods and hazardous chemicals.

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