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4 Steps to Choose the Right Flammable Safety Cabinet

Every liquid can wreak its own special brand of havoc, but only flammables have the power to turn your plant into a scene from a 1970s disaster movie. That’s why flammables hold a special place in the regulatory universe. Just check The Uniform Fire Code, OSHA or the International Fire Code and you’ll see what we’re talking about.

But no matter what regulations you study, they all come down to the same point: the safest way to store your flammable liquids is in an approved container inside of a flammable safety storage cabinet that complies with all those regs we just mentioned. OSHA 29 CFR 1910.106(d)(3)(i&ii) outlines specifics on cabinet design requirements, but we’ve summed up the top six here:

  • A minimum of 18-gauge steel construction in the bottom, top, door and sides of the cabinet
  • Double wall construction with 1.5″ (38mm) of insulating air space that will limit the internal temperature to 325 F (163C) when subjected to a 10 minute fire test
  • A 3-point latch on the door
  • Warning labels that state “Warning Flammable Keep Fire Away”
  • Joints that are riveted, welded or made tight by some equally effective means
  • At least a 2″ (50mm) raised sill to retain spilled liquids within the cabinet

So now that you know the minimum requirements, how do you choose the right cabinet for your flammables? By going through these four steps:

1. Determine Where the Cabinet Will Be Used

Outdoor storage buildings work well for bulk storage of flammable liquids, but a storage cabinet can help you keep smaller amounts at a location closer to where you’re using them. You’ll find countertop, wall mount, under counter and other cabinets with sizes ranging from 4 gallons to 120 gallons of storage.

2. Make Sure the Cabinets Meet OSHA and NFPA 30 Construction and Design Requirements

Having an independent third-party certification such as Factory Mutual Global (FM) or Underwriters Laboratory (UL) also ensures that the cabinet has passed rigorous testing.

3. Determine the Class or Category Your Liquids Fall Into

Look on the SDS to find the flash point and boiling point for each liquid so you can segregate them and only store compatible materials in the same cabinet. OSHA allows for the storage of 60 gallons of Class I & II (Category 1, 2, 3) or 120 gallons of Class III (Category 4) Liquids to be stored in a single flammable liquids storage cabinet.

4. Check Local Requirements

Find out if your state and county require you to have a cabinet with self-closing doors or if manual doors will do. You will also need to contact your local authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) about the placement of your flammable storage cabinets and how many they will allow in a specific location.

Choosing a cabinet to house your flammables in is a big deal. By working through the above steps, you’ll be able to make an informed decision and keep your workers safe and production on schedule.