How to use flammable liquids cabinets to meet the requirements of WHS Regulations 

Oct 30, 2019 Posted by Walter Ingles

Indoor Flammable Liquids cabinets that have been manufactured to comply with the Australian Safety Standards offer a superior level of protection from liquid chemicals, vapours and fumes. In this blog we’ll be discussing 6 ways that flammable safety cabinets specifically address the requirements of Australian WHS Regulations. Use this blog to support your next chemical risk assessment. 

REMEMBER: WHS Regulations may vary slightly in each Australian state or territory, but your overall responsibility to manage and store Dangerous Goods responsibly and safely is the same right across Australia. 


1. Managing risks to health or safety

Section 351 of the WHS Regulations requires business owners and operators to manage all risks to health and safety that are associated with using, handling and storing a hazardous chemical. When managing this risk, you must address all the physical and health hazards of the chemical — as well as its potential to create a physical reaction with another mixture, material or substance. 

Flammable liquids cabinets that are manufactured to Australian Standard AS1940:2017 –- The storage and handling of flammable and combustible liquids are specifically designed to contain flammable vapours — minimising fume exposure, chemical reaction, explosion and fire risk.  


2. Protecting hazardous chemicals from damage

Indoor flammable liquids cabinets have a double walled sheet steel construction have heavy duty shelves. Their sturdy walls create a protective barrier against flying objects and debris, dropped tools and machines, as well as vehicular impact.  

The cabinets have heavy duty shelves that are manufactured with enough strength to fully support the maximum load allowed inside the cabinet. At the same time the cabinet walls keep the containers in place. These features allow you to meet the requirements of section 358 of the WHS Regulations – to protect the chemicals from impact damage 


3. Keeping hazardous chemicals stable

The WHS Regulations Section 356 require you to keep hazardous chemicals from becoming unstable, decomposing, or increasing the hazard associated with other chemicals. Indoor flammable liquids cabinets offer an excellent chemical segregation and isolation solution because the cabinets are designed to: 

  • Fully contain flammable vapours and harmful fumes that could react with an incompatible substance (eg, oxidisers). 
  • Withstand higher temperatures, reducing the risk of the chemicals causing a fire or explosion. 
  • Display warning signs and placards indicating the contents of the cabinet. 

Because chemical vapours are contained within the cabinet, incompatible substances like oxidisers, organic peroxides, toxic and corrosive substances can be stored nearby (inside suitable safety cabinets) — minimise reactivity hazards and making more efficient use of storage space. 


4. Containing and managing spills

Business owners and operators have a responsibility under Section 357 of Australian WHS Regulations to have equipment, facilities and systems in place to contain any chemical leak or spill (including the resulting effluent). Additionally, the spill containment system must not create reactivity hazards by allowing incompatible classes of hazard chemicals to contact one another. 

This makes flammable liquids cabinets the ideal solution — provided they are loaded and used in accordance with AS1940:2017 –- The storage and handling of flammable and combustible liquids. Flammable liquids cabinets are suited to any type of flammable or combustible liquid and offer the following spill protection: 

  • Liquid tight spill containment sump. 
  • Strategically engineered so all chemical leaks and spills are directed into the lower compound. 
  • Fully contain flammable vapours and hazards fumes emitted from the spilled chemicals. 

REMEMBER: Flammable liquids cabinets are designed to store flammable and combustible liquids only, never put other chemical hazard classes (eg, oxidisers, organic peroxides, toxic and corrosive chemicals into the cabinet). 


5. Safety signs

Class 3 Flammable Liquids cabinets arrive with preinstalled safety signs warning of the contents stored inside the cabinet, as well as alerts to the inherent fire hazards. Preinstalled safety signs include: 

  • Approved Dangerous Goods label and pictogram for Class 3 Flammable Liquids. 
  • Warning placard indicating fire risk — ‘NO SMOKING, NO IGNITION SOURCES WITHIN 3m. 
  • Label indicating the maximum storage capacity of the cabinet. 

 It is a requirement of Section 354 of Australian WHS Regulations to display safety signs that warn of any hazards associated with chemicals. The warning signs must be located next to the hazard and be clearly visible to anyone approaching the hazard. 


6. Register of Hazardous Chemicals

Attaching a sturdy document box to your flammable liquid’s cabinet can also help you meet the requirements of Section 346 of Australian WHS Regulations — compile a Register of Hazardous Chemicals. 

The Register of Hazardous Chemicals is a list of chemical names with an accompanying copy of the most recent Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for each chemical. A purpose-built document box attached to your flammable liquids cabinet is ideal because its immediately accessible to anyone in the area  — including contractors, delivery drivers, customers or site visitors. 


Next steps 

Now you have a better understanding of how Flammable Liquids safety cabinets directly address many elements of Australian work health and safety legislation, why not download our free eBook Essential Considerations When Storing Flammable Liquids Indoors. Use it to carry out a compliance assessment of your flammable liquid’s storage areas. Download and read it today. 

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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