Safe Storage of Flammable Materials in Manufacturing: Best Practices

A man working with chemicals in a manufacturing plant.

Safely Storing Flammable Materials

Ensuring safe storage practices for flammable materials is essential for preventing accidents, minimizing risks, and maintaining a safe and secure workplace environment.

Understanding Flammable Materials

Flammable materials include gases, liquids, and solids that can ignite easily and burn rapidly. Here are some guidelines for safe storage:

Approved Flammable Storage Cabinets

Flammable liquids must be stored in approved flammable storage cabinets or refrigerators/freezers designed for this purpose, as per fire code requirements. These cabinets have specific construction features like double-walled steel, raised leak-proof sills, vents, and self-closing doors to contain vapors and prevent ignition. Storage areas must be well-ventilated and at least 3 meters away from spark points (open flames, electrical equipment) and 5 meters from reactive chemicals (mechanical, thermal, or electrical sources).

Segregation and Compatibility

Never store incompatible materials together, such as flammables and oxidizers. Acids and bases should also be segregated. Store chemicals based on hazard class and compatibility, not alphabetically.

Labeling and Inventory

Maintain an up-to-date inventory of stored materials, quantities, and locations. Whenever possible, keep materials in their original containers. Ensure all containers are properly labeled with supplier labels. Post signs to prevent others from bringing ignition sources near the storage area. Restrict access to authorized personnel only.

Spill Containment

Use chemically-resistant secondary containment trays or pallets to contain potential spills. Have appropriate spill control and fire protection equipment readily available.

Inspection and Maintenance

Regularly inspect storage areas and containers for leaks, damage, or corrosion. Immediately remove and properly dispose of any damaged containers. Maintain good housekeeping to minimize clutter and fire risks.

By following proper storage practices and local regulations, manufacturing facilities can safely handle and store flammable materials while mitigating fire and explosion hazards.

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