Have you ever bought sunscreen, then forgotten to take it to the beach? Or perhaps you’ve driven a vehicle without using the seatbelt? Just like these everyday examples, your flammable liquid storage cabinet is not effective if you don’t install it properly. One of the most important factors of the installation process is determining where you should place your new flammable cabinet. If you want to make sure that your cabinet’s located in the best possible position, you’re in the right place. Read our blog to discover the 4 places you should never put your flammable liquid storage cabinet.
1. Next To A 240 Volt Powerpoint
Class 3 Flammable liquids can ignite at normal room temperature. They’re also capable of exploding at the right concentration levels.
The volatility of flammable liquids mean they don’t need a naked flame to ignite — even a heat source or an electrical spark will cause the chemical to ignite.
Simple electrical equipment, such as powerpoints and electronic equipment, should be kept at least 3m away from your flammable liquids cabinet.
Your flammable liquids cabinet should never be installed within 3 metres of an ignition source. You should also make sure that an ignition source is never brought within 3 metres of your cabinet.
In relation to flammable liquids and ignition sources, the Australian Standard AS 1940:2017 states:
4.9.7 Exclusion of ignition sources
There shall be no ignition sources within the cabinet.
Where flammable liquids are stored, ignition sources shall be excluded from the area outside the cabinet to a distance of 3 m measured laterally, and from floor level to a height of 1 m above any opening in the cabinet, including the door, or a distance determined in accordance with AS/NZS 60079.10.1.
Ignition sources are not always as obvious as a naked flame or electrical spark. Here are just a few sources of ignition that you may not have thought of:
- Powerpoints: Have you ever pulled a plug out of the powerpoint and seen a little flash of light? This is electrical discharge. In some circumstances, electrical charge can ignite flammable vapours. Never install your cabinet next to a power outlet for this reason.
- Electronics: Electronic equipment and personal gadgets can generate static electricity and sparks. Flammable vapours have been ignited by thermostats, cordless remotes, faulty fluorescent lights and more. Don’t allow electronics or electrical equipment inside or near the cabinets.
- Heat: Workers and external contractors could bring ignition sources into the proximity of a flammable liquid storage cabinet. For example, they may carry out repairs or maintenance work that requires welding, cutting, soldering or brazing. You should train workers and supervisors to prohibit maintenance work in the area of your flammable cabinet.
Repairs and maintenance work, such as welding or cutting, should never be performed in a workspace that has a flammable liquids cabinet.
2. Close To An Emergency Exit
It’s fair to say that handling and storing flammable liquids requires care and attention. As Class 3 Dangerous Goods, they are a volatile and hazardous substance which must be stored in a controlled and compliant way which minimises the risk and hazard that they pose.
The risk control measures of your flammable cabinet reduce the likelihood and impact of hazards such as chemical spills, vapour emissions, fire and explosion. However, it’s still crucial that you create an environment that can quickly facilitate an emergency evacuation, if required.
Your business is required to ensure that your flammable cabinet is not installed in a location that may impede escape during an emergency.
In the event of an emergency — such as a fire caused by the ignition of flammable vapours — you must be able to evacuate all personnel from the premises. Your workplace should also be configured to allow for the movement of fire crews and other emergency services that may be required.
The Australian Standard explains in Section 4.9.6 Cabinet location:
(a) Cabinets shall be located so that they do not impede escape in an emergency.
It’s vital for the safety of your organisation, as well as the wider community, that you select a location for your flammable liquids storage cabinet that will in no way interfere with your emergency evacuation plan.
Therefore, when determining a location for your flammable liquids cabinet, make sure that it’s not close to — or restricting the use of — your organisation’s emergency exits. This includes keeping cabinets well away from all stairwells, corridors and public walkways of your building.
It is also advisable that flammable cabinets be located on the ground floor of your workplace, so there is direct access to street level.
3. Under A Mezzanine Floor
Even if you’re storing your chemicals in an indoor flammable cabinet, you still need to protect the flammable liquids from impact.
We recommend that you never locate your safety cabinets under a mezzanine floor as objects can easily fall and impact your cabinet. You should also keep your flammable cabinet away from machinery, manufacturing or construction work — if it’s being carried out overhead.
Make sure you flammable liquids cabinet is protected from potential impact damage such as dropped tools or falling objects.
Tools dropped from height can hit the cabinet with a high degree of force and cause tears, punctures or other structural damage to the flammable liquids cabinet. Other falling items could also knock over the cabinet and cause a fire, explosion or chemical spill.
Choosing a safe and protected indoor location for your flammable cabinet will help your organisation minimise the risk to your people and property.
Select a safe, flat indoor location for your flammable cabinet installation. Getting the right location can minimise the serious risks and hazards associated with storing flammable liquids in the workplace
4. Within 10 Metres Of Another Aggregate Quantity
There are restrictions on the amount of flammable liquids you can store indoors using flammable liquids storage cabinets. The standard explains that:
4.9.6 Cabinet location
(e) The aggregate capacity of cabinets shall not be greater than—
(i) 850 L per 250 m2 on a ground floor area; or
(ii) 250 L per 250 m2 on other floors.
(f) Each aggregate quantity given in Item (e) shall be separated by at least 10 m.
To summarise this section of the standard, we can see that aggregate quantities of flammable liquids are:
- 850 litres per 250 square metres – Ground Floor
- 250 litres per 250 square metres – Other Floors
And once the aggregate quantity has been reached, another flammable cabinet may not be placed within 10 metres.
The Australian Standard AS 1940:29017 explains your requirements when storing aggregate quantities of Class 3 Flammable Liquids.
These aggregate quantity requirements are designed to keep the volume of flammable liquids at a safer and more manageable level for workplaces. Ground floors are permitted to have larger quantities of flammable liquids storage, it allows for an easier evacuation of staff as well as the movement of fire crews — in the event of an emergency such as a chemical spill or fire.
Choosing A Location For Your Flammable Liquids Cabinet
As we’ve explained in this blog, there’s at least 4 places that you should never put a flammable liquids cabinet. From avoiding ignition sources and impact damage to installing your cabinet away from aggregate quantities and emergency exits, there’s many ways that you can ensure your workplace minimises the risk of storing Class 3 Flammable Liquids. All of these suggestions refer back to the requirements of AS 1940:2017, which is the Australian Standard for The storage and handling of flammable and combustible liquids. Would you like to learn more about safely installing, using and maintaining these high-tech safety cabinets? Then why not access our eBook Essential Considerations When Storing Flammable Liquids Indoors? Our free guide will take you through your compliance obligations — and provide valuable advice on the safe and efficient storage of Class 3 Flammable Liquids. Get your copy now by simply clicking on the image below.