How to choose an indoor flammable liquids cabinet

Jul 15, 2019 Posted by Walter Ingles

Flammable liquids are some of the most common substances used and stored at workplaces in Australia. Petrol, paints, glue — it sounds like the contents of every garden shed in the country. But at busy job sites that generate sparks, heat, friction, flames and static electricity these familiar substances can flashback, auto-ignite, or explode — creating rapidly burning fires and thick toxic smoke. Even small quantities of flammable liquids are best stored in a flammable liquids cabinet, and this blog will help you choose one.

KEY RECOMMENDATION: Only purchase a flammable liquids cabinet that has been manufactured according to AS1940:2017 –The storage and handling of flammable and combustible liquids. Cabinets that follow the requirements of Australian Standards are safe, reliable and fit-for-purpose.


1. Cabinet construction

Your first consideration when choosing a flammable liquids cabinet is the construction materials, shelving and componentry. An indoor cabinet that meets the guidelines of AS1940:2017 is made from double-walled sheet steel and has a space of at least 40mm between the walls. If this space is filled, the insulation must be non-combustible.

All componentry like gaskets or hinges must be of high standard, and not melt or fail at temperatures below 850°C.

Cabinet doors are to be close-fitting and gaps must be sealed off so that flames, or radiant heat can not enter (or escape) the cabinet. It’s also essential that the doors can close automatically and will be held shut at two (or more) points. 

TIP: Here at STOREMASTA we have developed a never-fail system that ensures the doors on our flammable liquids cabinets always close in sequence. It’s fully patented and we guarantee that the doors always close properly. Every single time. 

Flammable liquids cabinets must have perforated shelving that allows the free movement of air. And the shelves must be sturdy enough to carry the maximum load (remembering that the maximum capacity for any indoor flammable liquids cabinet is 850 litres). 

Large capacity cabinets

Any flammable liquids cabinet that holds more than 250 litres of chemical is considered a large capacity cabinet and has additional construction specifications. First, the exterior of the cabinet must be at least 1mm thick. Second, the cabinet must not stand taller than 2 metres from floor level.


2. Spill containment 

Your next consideration is ensuring the flammable liquids cabinet has a spill containment sump to catch leaks and seepage from broken or damaged containers. The spill sump must be located at the base of the cabinet and be at least 150mm deep. It must also be liquid-tight. The spill sump must be left clear and never used as shelving or a storage area.

Large capacity cabinets

For cabinets over 250 litres, the spill containment sump must be able to hold at least 25% of the total capacity of the cabinet, or the full volume of the largest chemical container that will be stored in the cabinet. 

TIP: Ask about our flammable liquids cabinets that have a plug on the spill sump. This plug allows you to safely clear spilled chemicals from the sump of the cabinet.

3. Marking and signage

Another essential consideration is the marking and signage placed on a flammable liquids cabinet. The following signs and markings must be clearly visible when the doors of the cabinet are closed:

  1. Class 3 Flammable Liquids (Dangerous Goods pictogram at least 250mm nominal length).
  2. ‘NO SMOKING, NO IGNITION SOURCES WITHIN 3m’ (Warning placard with letters at least 50mm high).
  3. Maximum capacity.
  4. Name and address of the manufacturer.
  5. Name of distributor (for imported cabinets).


4. Additional considerations

Though not specific requirements of Australian Standards, here at STOREMASTA we also want to highlight three additional considerations when choosing a flammable liquids cabinet.

Cabinet surface finish

Australian workplaces can be harsh environments and a safety cabinet at a job site in the manufacturing, construction, mining or marine industries can quickly deteriorate if not protected with a quality powdercoat finish.

It’s no secret that STOREMASTA cabinets last for years and years looking like new. We take great care to cover all the steel surfaces and components in a high-tech finish that is completely corrosion free. Always ask about the finish on your flammable liquids cabinet before making a purchase, 

Heavy duty cabinets

If your flammables are being stored in a challenging environment also consider the STOREMASTA heavy duty series. Which is a series of hard-wearing cabinets within our flammable liquids range. These cabinets are 25% thicker than standard — this includes the walls, doors, shelving, and supporting legs. 

100% Australian made

The quality of our safety cabinets and storage products is unmatched. We believe the key reason for our consistently high standards is that all of our products are designed and manufactured right here in Australia. And by our own team of in-house engineers and technicians. This also enables us to maintain complete quality control along the entire supply chain.

Next steps

This blog has outlined a number of critical factors when selecting a safety cabinet for your flammable liquids. If you are looking for a safer and more efficient way to store these Dangerous Goods, we invite you to download out new eBook Essential Considerations When Storing Flammable Liquids Indoors. It will give you a better understanding of how to assess your compliance obligations as well as the essential requirements when installing and maintaining a flammable liquids cabinet indoors.

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.

Like what you’re reading?

Subscribe to stay up tp date with the latest from STOREMASTA®

Recommended Resources

Dangerous Goods Segregation Guide

How to segregate incompatible classes of dangerous goods

Segregate the 9 different classes of dangerous goods in a way which will reduce risk to people, property, and the environment.

Learn more

Reviewing the substitution controls in your Class 3 Flammable liquids storage and handling areas 
From the blog

Reviewing the substitution controls in your Class 3 Flammable liquids storage and handling areas 

If you’ve implemented any type of substitution control in your Class 3 Flammable Liquids storage and handling areas we ...

Learn more

What Is Meant by Safety and Health in the Workplace? 
From the blog

What Is Meant by Safety and Health in the Workplace? 

This week we’ve published a Guest Post by Alert Force — The Health and Safety Training People. Alert Force is a ...

Learn more

Engineering and isolation controls to support your flammable liquids store 
From the blog

Engineering and isolation controls to support your flammable liquids store 

One of our primary aims here at STOREMASTA is helping our clients and customers better understand the chemical hazards ...

Learn more

Choosing spill bunding for your flammable and combustible liquids 
From the blog

Choosing spill bunding for your flammable and combustible liquids 

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of a chemical spill? A major oil spill affecting the ...

Learn more