What should be stored in a flammable storage cabinet?

Flammable storage cabinets such as COSHH cabinets are designed for the safe storage of flammable and combustible substances including gases, liquids and solids which are considered to be dangerous. Many workplaces such as factories, laboratories and cleaning companies will work with flammable materials regularly, so it is important that they have a secure storage space to keep these harmful chemicals out of harm’s way. 

Below is a breakdown of what should be stored in a flammable storage cabinet in more detail:

Flammable gases

If mixed with heat/an ignition source or oxidant (such as oxygen), flammable gases (such as methane and propane) can burn and lead to fires or even explosions. 

Combustible and flammable liquids

Combustible liquids such as diesel have a flashpoint of over 38°C and can produce ignitable vapours in higher temperatures. Flammable liquids such as acetone have flashpoints under 38°C and can produce ignitable vapours in normal temperatures. As these materials may ignite, they must be safely stored away to reduce hazard risks in the workplace and the flashpoint of liquids should always be checked before entering a building.

Combustible and flammable solids

You should always check the safety risks associated with any solids you are bringing into your workplace. An example of a flammable solid is picrate salt which can be found in locations such as dye laboratories and may react to heat and friction – not only is it very sensitive, but it is often used for making explosives which indicates just how dangerous it can be if not stored under the appropriate conditions. Another common flammable solid which may combust is photographic negatives, as many of these are made from cellulose nitrate, which is a highly flammable compound.

Oxidising chemicals 

Oxidising chemicals need to be stored in a flammable storage cabinet separate to other chemicals because they can fuel fires, allowing them to spread faster. 

Chemicals which are explosive 

It is imperative that explosive chemicals are kept away from heat, shock and sunlight.  They must be handled extremely carefully as some can be activated by slightly knocking a contained explosive chemical. 

It is also important to note that according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the maximum quantity of highly flammable/combustible materials or those with flashpoints below the maximum temperature of the workplace area stored in a flammable storage cabinet should not exceed 50 litres. Furthermore, it is also advised that you do not store more than 250 litres of flammable liquids with higher flashpoints of up to 55°C in a flammable storage cabinet.

The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) outline the potential risks of a workplace.  A DSEAR risk assessment may need to be carried out to identify the measures that will need to be taken to ensure that the workplace conditions are as safe as possible for staff to work in.

Why use a flammable storage cabinet? 

Having a flammable storage cabinet in your workplace is essential if it handles flammable or combustible materials. These are the main reasons why you should use a flammable storage cabinet:

  • To safely store dangerous liquids, gases and solids 
  • They can contain any spillages or leaks
  • Help to protect employees 
  • Fire resistance, meaning employees will have some time to escape to safety – if these materials were not stored properly, it is likely that the flammable liquids, gases or solids would ignite and increase the rate at which the fire spreads.
  • They prevent unauthorised persons from coming into contact with dangerous substances.

Features of a flammable storage cabinet

Here are some of the typical features of a flammable storage cabinet:

  • Clear labelling with signage warning of the flammable/combustible contents 
  • Made from metal and provides thirty minutes of fire resistance
  • Lipped shelving or corrosion resistant trays to catch any spills

Where to place flammable storage cabinets

Flammable storage cabinets must be placed in a safe designated area which:

  • Does not obstruct emergency exits
  • Is away from processing areas 
  • Has plenty of space 
  • Is in a well-ventilated area
  • Avoid placing near doors
  • Far from other dangerous substances
  • Away from heat and ignition sources

It is also important for the location of any flammable storage cabinets to be marked on room hazard plans and records should also be made in the building fire risk assessment.

Looking for a flammable storage cabinet? 

If you need a flammable storage cabinet to keep your workplace a safe environment when handling flammable or combustible materials, Manutan has got you covered! Take a look at our range of high-quality COSHH cabinets today!

Not sure which flammable storage cabinet is right for you or have questions about our products? Contact our friendly team today who will be more than happy to assist you with your enquiry!

Kyle Bones