Improper storage of flammable liquids can lead to fires, explosions and injuries. Safety cans, cabinets and other items help minimize these hazards.

Deciding how to store flammable or combustible liquids often presents a unique dilemma. Flammable liquid storage and handling is a highly-regulated subject, yet there is little guidance offered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), or the Uniform Fire Code on the subject of using, or not using, polyethylene spill containment devices for flammables and combustibles.

When polyethylene or fluorinated polyethylene is compatible with a flammable or combustible liquid, what other factors must be carefully analyzed?

  • Is there adequate ventilation to avoid the build-up of ignitable ambient vapors?
  • What is the fire- or heat-resistance of the containment device?
  • Can control of static accumulation/discharge be made through bonding and grounding?
  • What is the proximity of the containment device to heat or ignition sources?
  • Are there OSHA or state regulations as well as local fire code requirements regarding collection and storage of flammables that apply?
  • What are the requirements of the property insurer regarding storage of flammable liquids?

Given the risks involved with handling and storage of flammable or combustible liquids, the safest approach is to consult the local OSHA office, the fire marshal, or "authority having jurisdiction" over fire codes in your locality; as well as your property insurance carrier before purchasing and using a containment unit.

A small investment of time spent from the outset consulting with these knowledgeable parties could avoid major regulatory headaches and the possibility of fire or an explosion within your facility.