• Customer Questions: Where Can You Put A Flammable Cabinet
  • Karen

    Karen D. Hamel, CSP, WACH, is a regulatory compliance professional, trainer and technical writer for New Pig. She has more than 22 years of experience helping EHS professionals find solutions to meet EPA, OSHA and DOT regulations and has had more than 100 articles published on a variety of EHS topics. Karen is a Certified Safety Professional (CSP), Walkway Auditor Certificate Holder (WACH), Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) trainer and hazmat technician. She also serves on the Blair County, Pa., LEPC and has completed a variety of environmental, safety, emergency response, DOT and NIMS courses, including Planning Section Chief. She has conducted seminars at national conferences and webinars for ASSE and other national organizations. She can be reached at 1-800-HOT-HOGS (468-4647) or by email karenea@newpig.com.

  • Heath Mardissays:
    01/29/2018 at 8:31 am Reply

    My question is…
    Is it okay to place a flammable cabinet under a shelf or any other structure for that matter? Or is there any minimum clearance required above a flammable cabinet?

    • Brittanysays:
      02/02/2018 at 4:24 pm Reply

      Hi Heath, thanks for your comment!

      Yes, flammable storage cabinets can be placed under shelves and countertops, such as these undercounter flammable safety cabinets. In fact, many are specifically designed to be placed in those locations. There are no general requirements for clearance around a cabinet unless incompatible or unstable liquids are being stored.

      Hope this information helps!

  • Heidisays:
    03/06/2018 at 12:58 pm Reply

    My question….how far from an electrical outlet shall a flammable cabinet be placed? We have 2 that are actually covering in use outlets. That seems like a huge risk to me. They won’t move unless I can cite a regulation stating this is unacceptable.

    • Karensays:
      03/08/2018 at 11:01 am Reply

      Hello Heidi, thanks so much for your question.

      You are correct in thinking that placing flammable storage cabinets near electrical outlets presents a safety risk and that regulations should prohibit this practice. In addition to codes and standards that apply to specific processes and operations, a regulation that generally applies to any facility that uses, handles, processes, stores or otherwise handles flammable liquids is OSHA’s flammable liquids regulation (29 CFR 1910.106). Specifically, 29 CFR 1910.106(e)(6)(i) states:

      Adequate precautions shall be taken to prevent the ignition of flammable vapors. Sources of ignition include but are not limited to open flames; lightning; smoking; cutting and welding; hot surfaces; frictional heat; static, electrical, and mechanical sparks; spontaneous ignition, including heat-producing chemical reactions; and radiant heat.

      More specific electrical requirements are spelled out in 29 CFR 1910.106(e)(7) for certain environments as well as classes of flammable liquids and vapors. Appropriate distances from electrical equipment – including outlets – can be anywhere from 5 to 25 feet, depending upon the types of liquids being stored and mechanical ventilation that is present in the area.

      National Electrical Code (NEC) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Codes may also apply to this situation. Some of these standards have been incorporated into the federal OSHA regulations by reference. Others are consensus standards that include best management practices that are used by a variety of different industries to help improve safety in their facilities.

      Hope this information helps!

      If you have any other questions, please let us know.

      Thanks,
      Karen

  • Maryamsays:
    05/09/2018 at 6:00 am Reply

    I’m working in health care facility .. Our organization used flammable cabinets to store flammable liquids in Soiled utility room. My question is shall we relocate the yellow cabinets to either store or clean utility room?
    Is there any standard to follow about the proper location of flammable cabinets in health care filed?

    • Karensays:
      05/15/2018 at 3:05 pm Reply

      Hi Maryam,

      Thank you for your question.

      The NFPA has published a comprehensive standard for Healthcare Facilities: NFPA 99. This standard covers electrical, gas vacuum and environmental systems, equipment, emergency management, laboratories and several other topics that are common in healthcare facilities. In this standard, NFPA specifically requires flammable liquids to be stored in accordance with NFPA 30 Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code and NFPA 45 Standard on Fire Protection for Laboratories Using Chemicals Standards [NFPA 99 Healthcare Facilities 11.7.2.1]
      Both NFPA 30 and NFPA 45 are general industry standards. Each of these limits the quantities of flammable liquids that may be stored in any particular area and constrains the placement of cabinets. For example, cabinets should not be stored in exit routes.

      More specifically, in the NFPA 99 requirements, flammable and combustible liquids cannot be stored near bunsen burners, ovens, hot pipes and valves or other heat sources.

      They may also not be located in corridors [NFPA 99 Healthcare Facilities 11.7.2.5]. here is no specific mention of placement in utility rooms, but it is a good idea to look at the scope of each of these there standards to see if any of the conditions listed apply to these areas.

      All three of these standards are available to review on NFPA.org. They can also be purchased from NFPA if you’d like to have a physical copy to reference. Your local fire marshal or code inspectors are two additional resources who would be able to point out any specific local or municipal requirements that might apply above and beyond these standards.

      Please reply if you need further help.

      Karen

  • Bobby Pledgersays:
    06/11/2018 at 10:55 am Reply

    Will we be in violation of an OSHA code if we set-up a Flammable Cabinet next to an I-beam and ground it to the I-beam, where there is an electrical cabinet next to or on the opposite side of the I-beam?

    • Karensays:
      06/19/2018 at 9:43 am Reply

      Hi Bobby,

      Thank you for your question. Locating a flammable storage cabinet near an electrical cabinet is not a good idea. OSHA requires electrical panels that serve between 120 and 250 volts to have a minimum clearance of 30 inches around the panel board [29 CFR 1910.305(d)]. In addition, OSHA’s flammable liquids regulation states that Category 1 or 2 liquids and Category 3 liquids with flashpoints below 100F can’t be handled in places where vapors may reach a source of ignition [29 CFR 1910.106(f)(6)].

      Please follow up if you have any further questions.

  • Lucysays:
    06/12/2018 at 2:34 pm Reply

    Hi Karen, I am in aviation and we have several flammable storage cabinets that store chemicals for aircraft maintenance.

    I have two concerns:

    1. There are several cardboard boxes located on top of the storage lockers.
    2. One of our storage lockers is located under the stairs.

    • Karensays:
      06/19/2018 at 9:27 am Reply

      Hi Lucy,

      These are valid concerns. The closest regulatory citation in regard to the flammable storage cabinet in a stairway is 29 CFR 1910.106(d)(5)(i), which states that cabinets can’t “limit the use of exits, stairways or other areas normally used for the safe egress of people”. So if the stairs lead to an exit or could be used to access an exit route, the cabinet cannot be located there.

      OSHA’s flammable liquids standard also requires that combustible materials (such as cardboard boxes) be stored away from flammable liquids.They should not be stored on top of nor inside cabinets.

      Thank you for commenting. Please feel free to follow up if you have further questions.

  • Dansays:
    06/13/2018 at 4:16 pm Reply

    My question…. Which locations would you NOT need a flammable storage cabinet? For example: A fire pump room that is separated from the facility and fully enclosed, which has a wet sprinkler system installed. Preventative maintenance on the diesel pump requires the use of several types of oil and flammable aerosols. Would this type of location need a flammable storage cabinet?

    Thanks

    • Karensays:
      06/19/2018 at 9:14 am Reply

      Hi Dan,

      Thank you for your question. The purpose of a flammable storage cabinet is to create a heat buffer for the flammable liquids and aerosol cans that are stored inside. In the event of a fire, the cabinet will help shield the products stored from heat for a longer time than if they were not in the cabinet, giving anyone responding to the fire a little more time to put it out before the cabinet’s contents become fuel. Because your pump room has a wet sprinkler system, any fire occurring in the pump room should be extinguished rather quickly.

      OSHA does permit small amounts of flammable liquids to be stored outside of flammable storage cabinets, so depending on how much oil and how many aerosol cans are involved in this process, you might not technically need one. However, you mention that the oils and aerosols are being used for preventive maintenance. As a best industry practice and for good housekeeping, when the oils and flammable aerosols are not being used, you might want to consider removing them from this room entirely and storing them appropriately in another area.

      Please let us know if you need any further help.

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