Question: Is there any OSHA or NFPA guidance on where flammable storage cabinets can be located? I have seen one in a corridor near an exit door, which doesn’t seem right.
Answer: This is a great question, and one that we find many facility managers and EHS professionals have trouble with.
Because this cabinet you saw is located near an exit door, let’s first look at OSHA’s general requirements for exit routes, emergency action plans and fire prevention plans [20 CFR 1910.37-39].
Fire exit routes cannot be obstructed [29 CFR 1910.37(a)(3)] and they cannot become more narrow at any point. Depending upon where the cabinet is placed in the corridor, if someone is walking near the wall of that corridor and has to step around the cabinet to continue walking, that would make the exit route narrower where the cabinet is located and the cabinet would need to be removed. This is true of any item that someone may want to place in an exit route, not just a flammable storage cabinet.
Exit routes are also required to be free of hazards. It could also reasonably be argued that putting a flammable cabinet in a corridor constitutes a hazard to anyone exiting. This can be subjective since the point of a flammable storage cabinet is to protect its contents, but it could still be argued that the flammables in the cabinet present a hazard and therefore would not be permitted in an exit route [29 CFR 1910.37(a)(2)].
Next, let’s look specifically at OSHA’s flammable liquids regulations. Flammable storage cabinets cannot “limit the use of exits, stairways or other areas normally used for the safe egress of people” [29 CFR 1910.106(d)(5)(i)]. This citation echoes the formerly mentioned requirements for fire exit routes not to be unobstructed.
Moving on to consensus standards, NFPA 1 Fire Code and NFPA 101 Life Safety Code both use identical verbiage that addresses this topic: “no furnishings, decorations, or other objects shall obstruct exits or their access thereto, egress therefrom, or visibility thereof” [NFPA 101: 188.8.131.52.1 and NFPA 1: 184.108.40.206].
If any of these conditions apply to the flammable storage cabinet in your exit corridor, it needs to be relocated to another area that is not along an exit route. When in doubt, your local fire marshal is a great resource for situations like this when you may not be sure if a regulation or standard applies.
Do you have questions about the location of your facility’s flammable cabinets? Leave a comment below!
Heath Mardissays:01/29/2018 at 8:31 am
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
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
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
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.
Maryamsays:05/09/2018 at 6:00 am
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
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 220.127.116.11]
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 18.104.22.168]. 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.
Bobby Pledgersays:06/11/2018 at 10:55 am
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
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
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
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
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?
Karensays:06/19/2018 at 9:14 am
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.
Kevin jonessays:07/16/2018 at 11:35 am
Hello, it was brought to my attention that our flammable cabinet is located to close to our designated smoking area. Could you help answer the question, how far from a smoking area can we have our approved cabinet? We are currently 16′ away, is this enough. We do store a five gallons of gasoline in an approved Osha can in this cabinet. It is vented and located 4′ from the nearest electrical outlet. Thank you, Kevin
Karensays:07/31/2018 at 8:41 am
Thank you for your question.
NFPA 1 and NPFA 30 specify that you need to take precautions to prevent ignition sources (and smoking and open flames are listed) from igniting flammable vapors. (NFPA 1 22.214.171.124 and NFPA 30 6.5.1) Electrical outlets are an additional ignition source. Neither standard, however, lists a specific isolation distance. Your local authority having jurisdiction (typically a fire marshal) can help to evaluate whether 16’ is a sufficient distance, factoring in the location of the cabinet and other facility design considerations.
The fire marshal should also be helpful in determining whether or not your flammable storage cabinet actually needs to be vented. Neither OSHA nor the NFPA require cabinets to be vented, and both have issued guidance on this subject. When venting is required by a local ordinance, there are specific provisions requiring it to be vented to a safe location. (NFPA 30 126.96.36.199)
I hope that helps! Please follow up if you need more information.
Danielsays:08/15/2018 at 2:16 pm
Are you allowed to have flammable cabinets outside.
Karensays:08/22/2018 at 12:52 pm
Thank you for your question. Yes, flammable storage cabinets can be stored outdoors. In fact, weatherproof flammable storage cabinets are available for this purpose. See some here.
Kerri Charlessays:08/17/2018 at 9:46 am
Good morning , We purchased a cabinet for our household bc we do a lot of home repair and car work so had five gallon gas can, lots of oil based stains, and oils I was concerned about bc the paints and stains were in our basement (kids bedroom is there). My husband put the cabinet in the garage but we have a space heater there for the dogs and it is plugged in about a foot away. I think this is quite dangerous but he tells me this is purpose of cabinet. Can you settle this “discussion” ? I have recommended we move it to other side of garage about 6’ from plugs and heat source, but still not sure if that is far enough from the heater. Thanks
Karensays:08/22/2018 at 12:47 pm
Rules and requirements for homes are different than the regulations that are enforced in industry, but they can still provide some guidance for this situation.
The purpose of a flammable storage cabinet is to help shield the contents from fire and heat. As part of the certification test, flammable storage cabinets are subjected to fire for ten minutes. The internal temperature at the center of the cabinet cannot exceed 325F or the cabinet fails the test. So, to an extent the cabinet would shield its contents from the heat created by a space heater.
The catch is that everything in the cabinet needs to be tightly sealed. Although the cabinet can withstand 325F temperatures, any fugitive vapors from liquids that are stored in the cabinet can still ignite at much lower temperatures than 325 degrees. So putting a space heater that close to the cabinet might not be the best idea. In industry, three feet would be the absolute minimum. In many cases, it would be further than that.
Thank you for your question.
Herman Eickertsays:08/22/2018 at 3:02 pm
Are there any regulations that prevent you from attaching objects to the outside of flammable cabinets with magnets or command hooks. The objects would be load tickets in a pouch or Kanban cards hanging on the command hooks.
Karensays:08/29/2018 at 12:41 pm
No federal regulation specifically forbids the use of magnets or command hooks on the outsides of a flammable storage cabinet. However, there are requirements for the cabinet to be properly labeled. So anything that is put on the outside of the cabinet cannot obstruct that labeling and should not cause confusion about the contents of the cabinet. There are also requirements that prohibit the storage of combustible materials (such as paper tags, cards and cardboard boxes) inside or on top of cabinets. Granted, the tags or cards would not technically be in or on top of the cabinet, but your local fire marshal or authority having jurisdiction may not permit this if they feel that it is generally unsafe to have combustible materials in the general area where flammable liquids are kept.
Thank you for your question!
Lesliesays:09/28/2018 at 5:00 pm
My question involves whether it is OK to store a flammables cabinet (at a university) in a large open space, much wider than a hallway, if it does not block egress? This is wider than a typical hallway, but it is open (unlocked) as there are no doors to close it off and has rooms on both sides of the space. Would the flammables cabinet be allowed to be placed here? It is above grade too.
Thanks for your help.
Karensays:10/03/2018 at 2:19 pm
Thank you for your question. Even if it does not block a route of egress, OSHA says that “danger to employees must be minimized” in exit routes [29 CFR 1910.37(a)]. As part of this requirement, the exit route cannot contain hazards unless they are shielded by “suitable partitions or physical barriers” [29 CFR 1910.37(a)(2)]. For anyone using the hallway to reach an exit, storing flammable liquids in a hallway without partitions or barriers could constitute a hazard.
Please contact us again if you have further questions.
Ben Clarkesays:10/16/2018 at 5:26 pm
Is there a regulation against putting a flammable cabinet in a work pit. I work in the rail industry and there is a 5 ft pit that the train travels over. Maintenance personnel are able to work underneath the train to perform routine checks. There is a flammable cabinet in the pit but does not block the exit. Only lubricants are stored in the cabinet. Is there an issue with this practice.
Karensays:11/15/2018 at 12:22 pm
Hi Ben, thanks for your comment.
OSHA’s flammable liquids regulation does not specifically prohibit cabinets in work pits, but they do require the pit to have adequate ventilation to prevent the buildup of unsafe levels of flammable vapors [1910.106(e)(3)(v)]. Your safety officer, local fire marshal or authority having jurisdiction should be able to conduct some simple air monitoring to determine if the area is properly ventilated to prevent this.
mistysays:11/28/2018 at 1:05 pm
Our flammable storage cabinet is placed right against the I-beam that the our fire extinguisher is on.
In case of a fire/explosion in the cabinet, shouldn’t the fire extingisher be farther away so it can still be easily reached without risk of harm?
I have found many articles stating that a fire extingisher should be at least within 30ft of this type of storage but not how far from this type of storage it should be.
Isabella Andersensays:01/15/2019 at 10:17 am
If the chemicals being stored inside your flammable storage cabinet are being stored properly (no incompatibles, lids sealed, no combustible materials in the cabinet, etc.) the chances of a fire or explosion happening inside a flammable storage cabinet are small. However, if you have determined that there is a risk of a fire happening inside the cabinet, then having a fire extinguisher that close would most likely not be best practice because it would put someone in harm’s way to retrieve and use it.
The best practice of having fire extinguishers within 30 feet of fire hazards is valid, but it is also recognized that the extinguisher should be placed in an area that still allows the person using it to have an unobstructed means of escaping the area if the fire advances beyond the incipient stage.
onyxsays:12/06/2018 at 9:49 am
I have recently relocated a flammables cabinet into a room that does not have a sprinkler system.
I also could not find a need to have them in the 1910 is there something i may have overlooked.
Isabella Andersensays:01/15/2019 at 10:15 am
Thanks for your question!
Nothing in the federal OSHA flammable liquids regulation (29 CFR 1910.106) or the associated NFPA 30 standard require sprinkler systems in rooms with flammable storage cabinets. However, state and local fire codes may be more stringent. You can verify any special building code or fire compliance requirements with your local authority having jurisdiction (typically the fire marshal).
MMsays:12/13/2018 at 10:18 am
Is it a requirement that flammable storage cabinets be placed in a room with a safety shower?
Isabella Andersensays:01/15/2019 at 10:13 am
At the federal level, OSHA does not require flammable storage cabinets to be place in a room with a safety shower (sprinkler system). However, some state and local building or fire codes may require this. Your local fire marshal or building code inspector would be able to verify any additional requirements that apply to your specific situation.
Thanks for your question,
Dale Hobaughsays:01/03/2019 at 5:45 am
Is there a standard on what can be located near a Flammable Cupboard? Example, Does it have to be located a certain distance from a heater ? A hard hat heater. The hard hat heaters run off gas and have a flame. Just wondering if there is a distance involved in how far the cabinet has to be from a ignition source.
Isabella Andersensays:01/15/2019 at 9:57 am
Thanks for the questions. OSHA’s flammable liquids rule states that you need to keep flammables away from sources of ignition [29 CFR 1910.106(e)(6)(i)], but it does not specify how far. Depending upon the ventilation in the area and the flashpoint of the liquids that are being stored, a safe distance can range anywhere from five to 100 feet.
Melissa Carutherssays:01/07/2019 at 3:19 pm
I need to add a flammables cabinet to an outlet that now uses canisters of butane fuel. I don’t have any wall/floor space to work with, but I do have several large empty undercounter cabinets (with doors) that would easily accommodate a small flammables cabinet. Is is allowable to put a flammables cabinet in undercounter with a closed door so that it is only visible when the cabinet door is opened? And how far away from an ignition source does the cabinet have to be?
Isabella Andersensays:01/15/2019 at 9:56 am
Flammable storage cabinets can be placed under counters. In fact, several under-counter flammable safety cabinets are specifically designed to be placed in these areas. However, you would want to remove the current cabinet doors so that the flammables cabinet could be clearly seen and identified after it is in place.
OSHA requires flammable liquids to be stored away from outlets (and ignition sources) but does not specify a distance [29 CFR 1910.106(e)(6)(i)]. Ventilation in the area, flashpoints and other considerations must be taken to determine the appropriate distance from outlets and other sources of ignition.
Hope this helps!
Debra Grahamsays:01/09/2019 at 12:36 pm
Is there any requirement about Chemical Storage Cabinets sitting beside electrical panels?
Isabella Andersensays:01/15/2019 at 9:52 am
Thanks for the question! If the cabinet is being used to store flammable liquids, OSHA requires the cabinet to be stored away from sources of ignition, including electrical panels [29 CFR 1910.106(e)(6)(i)].
Michaelsays:03/05/2019 at 10:07 am
The company I work for has a flam locker whose top has become a ‘catch-all’.
I was asked to cite a specific reg.or rule regarding this as unacceptable.
This practice was unacceptable at my other employers and was wondering if there is a reg./rule or just a site specific company rule?
Thanks in advance for your answer!
Isabella Andersensays:07/02/2019 at 11:51 am
Hi Michael! Thanks for your question. The regulation that I have seen cited for this is 29 CFR 1910.106(e )(9)(iv). It is a housekeeping requirement that requires “clear zones” that are free of weeds, debris and combustible materials. It is also a best practice that is widely accepted by most safety professionals.
Luis Martorellsays:03/27/2019 at 2:30 pm
Is there a regulation on the number of lockers or number of gallons that can be stored within close proximity to each other? I remember once reading that you can have 3 lockers close together but the fourth must be a distance away.
Isabella Andersensays:05/28/2019 at 1:13 pm
Hi there, thanks for your question.
No more than three safety cabinets may be present in a single storage area. But, the local authority having jurisdiction (usually a fire marshal) could decrease that number based on specific criteria such as the liquids being stored, ingress and egress, fire suppression / water sprinkler systems, etc. They will also determine how far apart they need to be placed from another set of cabinets.
Remember, also, that maximum amount of flammable liquids that you can store in one flammable cabinet is based on the chemical’s Flash Point and Boiling Point. No more than 60 gallons of a Category 1, 2 or 3 flammable liquid or 120 gallons of a Category 4 flammable liquid may be stored in a single Flammable Safety Cabinet. See OSHA 29 CFR 1910.106(a)(19)(i-iv) chart above for determining a chemical’s flammable category.
Donald Staffordsays:05/24/2019 at 4:12 pm
Can an electric lift be stored in close proximity to a flammable cabinet?
Isabella Andersensays:07/02/2019 at 12:03 pm
Hi there! It is best to store electrical equipment away from flammable cabinets. Electrical sources are considered a “source of ignition.” Facilities must evaluate all sources of ignition that could cause flammable vapors to ignite [29 CFR 1910.106(h)(7)(i)(a)].
The regulation does not, however, specify how far to keep the source from a cabinet. A site-specific risk assessment would need to be performed to determine if there are flammable vapors present near the cabinet and at what distance they no longer present a hazard.
Nicole Eastersays:06/06/2019 at 9:54 am
If the flammable storage area outside is adjacent to the exit, is there an acceptable distance from the exit door that I can move the cabinet, but still be in the storage cage? Basically, what is the safe distance from the exit that the cabinet can be stored?
Isabella Andersensays:07/10/2019 at 2:35 pm
Thank you for the question!
OSHA and NFPA both prohibit the storage of anything hazardous in or near exit routes and doors. However, neither specifies a distance. This is because there are many different types of hazards, and each needs to be evaluated individually to determine how far away it needs to be for it to cause no harm. Think of it like a dog on a leash. The hazard is the dog biting you. If it’s leash is five feet long, you’re at risk of being bitten if you are anywhere in that five foot radius.
So, in the case of a flammable storage cabinet, you’d want to consider what hazards are presented by the materials being stored in the cabinet, and how far those hazards need to be kept from anyone exiting the building to prevent harm. Additionally, there may be local fire codes or ordinances that have more specific distances. Your local fire marshal is a good resource for helping to determine safe distances.
Charlotte Sanderssays:06/14/2019 at 11:56 am
Thanks for this helpful information. Is there any safety consideration that would be opposed to mounting a flammables cabinet on a wall (as opposed to storing it directly on a floor or a countertop)? I see several cabinets online that are described as “wall mountable.” We have only a very small amount of flammables (only a couple of wash bottles), and limited floor space.
Isabella Andersensays:07/10/2019 at 2:03 pm
If you are going to mount a flammable safety cabinet on the wall, be sure to purchase one that is specifically designed to be wall-mounted so that it has the appropriate bracing, brackets, etc. included to mount it. You should not drill into the cabinet itself when mounting it because this could reduce the effectiveness of the cabinet and will void any UL or FM approvals that the cabinet has. If you are in an area that is prone to earthquakes, consider whether additional bracing or securing may be needed. Most manufacturers sell hardware kits that contain the needed supplies to secure their cabinets during seismic activity.
Cabinets that are designed to be placed on the floor should not be wall-mounted. Their bases are designed to evenly distribute the weight of the containers stored inside over the entire floor surface that under the cabinet, and suspending them on a wall could cause them to bow.
Allensays:06/17/2019 at 4:34 pm
My facility has a cabinet located next to a riser for the fire suppression system. Is this an issue?
Isabella Andersensays:07/10/2019 at 2:01 pm
Fire suppression systems are designed to keep fires from spreading. While the cabinet should not block the riser or any part of the fire suppression system from working, there is no regulation or standard that I can find that specifies a distance that a flammable storage cabinet must be from a riser. Let us know if you have any other questions.
Alexsays:07/16/2019 at 11:34 am
Question… we have a small flammable cabinet that hold paint stripper. would it be a violation to store that cabinet in an enclosed room, which we use to store tools? do we need some type of air vent?
Isabella Andersensays:07/24/2019 at 3:34 pm
Hi there, thanks for your question! There is no requirement to vent the cabinet itself. When a flammable storage cabinet will be place in an enclosed room, you’ll want to make sure that anything that you store in the cabinet is kept in a closed container to minimize the chance of flammable vapors accumulating to unsafe levels. The area around the cabinet also needs to be kept free of combustible materials.
Andrewsays:08/07/2019 at 3:50 pm
What about housekeeping? are you allowed to store things on top of the cabinets? is there guidelines on how far away other cabinets can be from the Yellow flammable cabinets?
Isabella Andersensays:09/23/2019 at 11:02 am
Hi there, although it is a very tempting storage space, cardboard boxes should not be placed on top of flammable cabinets because they are combustible. In fact, most fire marshals frown upon any item being placed on top of a flammable safety cabinet. Requirements for placing other items near a flammable cabinet can vary depending upon the classes of flammable liquids being stored, but as a rule of thumb, other cabinets should be at least 30 feet from a flammable storage locker.
John Ciaramitarosays:10/07/2019 at 3:22 pm
I am working a project that involves redesigning an area of my plant. I was wondering if it is possible to store flammable cabinets under material racks with boxes and pallets of materials on them. Does this count as storing cardboard on top of flammable cabinets?
Isabella Andersensays:10/16/2019 at 11:43 am
Part of the rationale for not storing cardboard boxes on top of a flammable storage cabinet is that in the event of the fire, the boxes are combustible and would add fuel to the fire. Putting a rack above a cabinet may technically prevent items from being stored directly on the top of it, but there may be other conditions or local ordinance that would cause your fire marshal or Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) to disallow it. In some warehouses, it may be permissible to store boxes in bin locations above flammable liquids, but in those instances, the racking systems often need to be equipped with in-rack sprinkler or other fire suppression media. Depending on the total volume of flammable liquids that you’ll be storing, the requirements in NFPA 30, Chapter 12 may also apply.
mikesays:01/13/2020 at 2:47 pm
I have several technicians that drive trucks into industrial maintenance facilities. It has been brought to our attention that we should not be storing aerosol cans(cleaning products) in the tool boxes but rather they need to be in a proper storage location. We are looking into investing in aerosol can storage flammable cabinets to mount into the bed of the trucks. We are having trouble finding any regulation or guidance as to if this is to be considered appropriate. We have received some push back on being able to pull the trigger on this and I was hoping you had something I could present the boss man with from OSHA saying that is ok to do this.
Isabella Andersensays:01/30/2020 at 10:38 am
Hi there, thanks for your question!
It would be unusual to need to mount a flammables cabinet in your trucks to store aerosol cans. A couple of different things need to be considered in this situation: First, OSHA considers most aerosol cans to be a Category 1 flammable. As a Category 1 material, up to 25 gallons may be stored outside a flammable storage cabinet or flammable storage room [29 CR 1910.106(e)(2)(ii)I1)]. Of course, there may be specific circumstances that necessitate a more conservative approach, such as entering Class 1, Division 1 area or being in an extremely hot area; but in a “general” industrial setting, a couple of aerosol cans in a work area doesn’t immediately trigger the need for a cabinet because the risk is relatively low and you would need to have a few cases of aerosol cans in your toolbox to hit the 25 gallon threshold.
Second, if you do choose to mount a cabinet into the bed of your trucks, the cabinet would need to be mounted in a way that does not damage, puncture or alter the cabinet in any way, so it’s not as simple as screwing or bolting one to the truck. Consider also that because you cannot alter the cabinet in any way, there may not be a good way to secure the cans that you put inside the cabinet – so you could end up with an unintended mess from an uncapped can bouncing around as it travels.
Thanks and I hope this helps,
Connie Cartersays:01/27/2020 at 5:24 pm
Can a flammable cabinet be stored in a cleaning room with an autoclave in it as well?
Isabella Andersensays:01/31/2020 at 9:50 am
Hi there! Nothing in OSHA or NFPA standards specifically prohibits a flammables storage cabinet from being placed in a room with an autoclave. In fact, many laboratories do have both in the same room. However, there may be specific conditions or circumstances, such as grounding or ventilation, that need to be considered. Check with your facility’s safety officer or your local authority having jurisdiction (such as the local fire marshal) to verify that having both items in the room together is safe.
Alexussays:02/07/2020 at 12:00 pm
When was the Flammable cabinet invented or created?
Isabella Andersensays:02/24/2020 at 11:51 am
Hi there, The earliest reference that we can find for the design, construction and capacity of flammable storage cabinets is in a 1966 version of NFPA 30 “Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code.” Flammable storage cabinets have been around for at least that long. Hope this helps!
Thomassays:02/12/2020 at 12:26 pm
Can the flammable storage cabinets be kept in a room with only 1 method for egress? Example would be a 40′ sea container that only has the semi-trailer style doors.
Isabella Andersensays:03/13/2020 at 2:22 pm
Although it is somewhat unusual for flammable storage cabinets to be in use on/in a cargo shipping container, there is no specific OSHA regulation that says it cannot be located in one. However, there could be other circumstances and regulations to consider. For example, if this container will be shipped by road, sea, rail or air, DOT (road and rail), IATA (air) and/or IMDG (vessel) regulations may apply. If the container is stationary, check with the local fire marshal to help determine if the trailer doors provide sufficient egress for this situation.
Thanks for your question,
scott ellissays:04/14/2020 at 2:26 pm
if I have an electric heater in a storage room where I have paint supplies – gas water pumps – spray cans. do I need a flammable storage box for the above items? my gas cans are stored in flammable storage box in the same room … the storage room is on a tow boat..
Isabella Andersensays:04/28/2020 at 2:32 pm
While I recognize that there is not a lot of room on a tow boat, it would be a good idea to keep the electric heater as far as possible from your flammable storage cabinet. Ideally, it should be at least 30 feet from the cabinet.
OSHA does allow small amounts of flammable liquids (up to 25 gallons) to be stored outside of cabinets. If there is space in the cabinet where your gas cans are stored, you can certainly store the paint supplies, pumps and spray cans in the same cabinet – as long as everything is compatible. This will help shield them from heat sources, like the electric heater. Keeping all of your containers tightly closed when they are inside the cabinet will also help to minimize fire potential.
Briansays:05/26/2021 at 11:16 am
Can a Flammable cabinet be kept inside of an office? We have a small building outside of our main building where we have a trucking company using one office. They want to have some supplies like motor oil and grease that they can keep on site for their drivers to have access to. They have purchased a flammable cabinet and I was going to have them store it on the backside of the building under a covered area, it would be more secure on the inside if their are no standards that prevent this?
Dan Ankneysays:05/28/2021 at 1:19 pm
The first thing that you would want to do is review the flashpoint for these substances. Typically motor oils and greases are not considered an OSHA flammable liquid. This information can be found in 1910.106(a)(19). liquids with a flashpoint above 199.4° F are not considered flammable under OSHA. After reviewing the OSHA1910.106 flammable liquids regulations, the following is stated regarding this topic:
“Office occupancies. Storage shall be prohibited except that which is required for maintenance and operation of building and operation of equipment. Such storage shall be kept in closed metal containers stored in a storage cabinet or in safety cans or in an inside storage room not having a door that opens into that portion of the building used by the public.”
If liquids are stored in an office area for maintenance purposes, there are other regulations that apply. These would have to do with ingress and egress to exits 1910.106(d)(5)(i), fire extinguishers 1910.106(d)(7)(i), and ventilation 1910.106(f)(2)(iii).
Information regarding exit routes, emergency action plans and fire prevention plans in 1910.37-39.
Where you are located may have adopted NFPA, IFC, or a more stringent regulation that you are required to follow. To determine if you are in compliance with all applicable regulations, you would need to contact your Local Authority Having Jurisdiction. This is generally the local Fire Marshal.
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