When you are using chemicals in the workplace or the lab, it is very important that you store Class 3 Flammable Liquids and Class 8 Corrosive Substances in a way that minimises their risk upon the workplace. Flammable liquids and corrosive substances are incompatible and if they are mixed or brought into contact with each other, there is a possibility that they will react and produce a combination of dangerous by-products which will increase the risk that they pose upon people, property and the environment.
Segregation according to the Australian Standards
The Australian Standards provide industry with precise guidelines on how to safely store dangerous goods in full conformance to the Australian Work Health and Safety Regulations.
The Australian standard that sets out the minimum requirements for the storage and handling of mixed classes of dangerous goods is; AS3833-2007 - The storage and handling of mixed classes of dangerous goods. This standard contains a dangerous goods segregation chart that outlines how the different classes of dangerous Goods must be stored to minimise the risk that they pose upon the workplace. This dangerous goods segregation chart interprets that:
“When Class 3 Flammable Liquids and Class 8 Corrosive substances are stored in the same store, they must be segregated by at least 3 metres”
To keep the people, property and environment of your organisation safe and compliant with the Australian Work Health and Safety Regulations, it is important to carry out a dangerous goods risk assessment on your current dangerous goods store and identify all the substances that are classified as Class 3 Flammable Liquids and all those that are classified as class 8 corrosive substances. The dangerous goods classification can be identified by checking the products Safety Data Sheet (SDS). Once you have identified all of these substances, you must ensure that your Class 8 and Class 3 substances are stored compliantly with the required 3 metres segregation. If you find these are not separated by the required distance, they must be rearranged to comply with this regulation.
Applying segregation with chemical storage cabinets
If you don’t have the space available inside your dangerous goods store to segregate Class 3 Flammable liquids and Class 8 Corrosive substances by at least three metres, you can overcome this problem by investing in separate chemical storage cabinets. Chemical storage cabinets will allow you to safely store each class of dangerous goods, without the need of segregating the dangerous goods by three meters. Hazardous chemical storage cabinets are designed to provide adequate segregation when storing different classes of dangerous goods. Indoor hazardous chemical safety cabinets also allow you to store dangerous goods in an efficient and organised manner. These two practical features make chemical storage cabinets the prefered options for storing incompatible classes of dangerous goods in a safe and compliant manner.
Corrosive substance storage cabinets
If you decide to segregate flammable liquids and corrosive substances with chemical storage cabinets, corrosive substances must be stored in a chemical storage cabinet that complies with the design specifications outlined in AS3780-2008 - The storage and handling of corrosive substances. Corrosive storage cabinets must be constructed from a corrosive resistant material, or lined with a corrosive resistant coating. Other design requirements for corrosive storage cabinets include:
- Self-closing, close-fitting doors that hold shut by catches at two or more points
- Doors that cannot be opened inwards and which can be opened from inside the cabinet
- Perforated shelves to allow for free air-movement
- The base of the cabinet must form a liquid tight sump that is at least 150 mm deep and capable of catching any spills that may occur inside the cabinet.
If the corrosive substances that you are storing are very acidic, such as sulfuric acid, they must be stored in a corrosive storage cabinet that is constructed from a non-corrosive material such as high-density polyethylene. Weaker corrosive substances can be stored inside a metal corrosive storage cabinet that has been lined with a corrosive resistant coating. All corrosive storage cabinets must also be labeled with a Class 8 dangerous goods diamond to ensure that everyone in your workplace is aware of the corrosive substances that are stored inside the cabinet. An example of a Class 8 diamond is shown below:
Class 8 - Corrosive Substance
Flammable storage cabinets
If you decide to use a chemical storage cabinet to store and segregate Class 3 flammable liquids from Class 8 corrosive substances, the cabinet must comply with design specifications outlined in AS1940-2017 - The storage and handling of flammable and combustible liquids. The flammable cabinet must be constructed from a non-combustible material and have a double walled sheet steel construction to insulate the flammable liquids inside the cabinet from heat in the event of a fire. The insulation stops the flammable liquids inside the cabinet from igniting, which gives your workers time to safely escape any fire that may occur in your workplace. Other design requirements for flammable storage cabinets include:
- Any gaps between the doors and the walls must be sealed to prevent the spread of flames and heat radiation.
- Any materials that are critical to the structural integrity of the cabinets construction must not melt at temperatures below 850 degree celsius.
- If the doors of the cabinet are fitted with a device that keeps them open while in use, the device must automatically release at temperatures exceeding 80 degrees celsius.
- The doors of the cabinet must be self-closing, closing fitting and held shut by at least two catches
- The cabinet shall be designed so that any spills that may occur inside the cabinet are directed into the sump of the cabinet.
- Any shelving inside the cabinet must be perforated to allow for free air-movement
- The base of the cabinet must form a liquid-tight sump with a depth of at least 150mm. The sump should be designed in such a way that packages of flammable liquids are prevented from being stored inside it.
To ensure that everyone in your workplace is aware of the potential hazards associated with the flammable liquids stored in your workplace, it’s important that you display safety signage. The dangerous goods signage requirements for flammable storage cabinets are shown below:
Class 3 - Flammable Liquids
No Smoking No Ignition Sources Within 3 Metres
As flammable liquids and corrosive substances are incompatible, its very important that you segregate them in a safe and compliant manner to avoid the possibility of violent reactions that may harm the people in your organisation. For more information on how to segregate flammable liquids and corrosive substances from other classes of dangerous goods, download our free dangerous goods segregation guide by clicking on the image below 👇.