Question: I ordered a flammable storage cabinet for class 1 & 2 flammables that came on a pallet. Can I keep the cabinet on the pallet?
Answer: You should never place a flammable storage cabinet on a wooden pallet nor should the cabinet be near any wooden materials.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that there must be a “clear zone” around “buildings and unit operating areas…free of weeds, trash, or other unnecessary combustible materials” [29 CFR 1910.106(e)(9)(iv)].
Because pallets are made of wood, they’re combustible and aren’t “necessary” to the function of the cabinet.
Flammable storage cabinets are not designed to be kept on wooden shipping pallets. Pallets are not flat, level surfaces and they often get damaged in transit.
There might be some cases, however, where you need or want a raised unit (e.g. easy wash downs or increased sump capacity). For these situations, you can choose a High-Rise Flammable Safety Cabinet or a flammable safety cabinet sump.
But you should either place cabinets directly on the floor or on a sturdy, noncombustible platform with a back frame to prevent the cabinet from falling.
What other questions do you have about storing flammable liquids? Leave us a comment below!
alwongsays:04/06/2017 at 3:03 pm
what about the location of flammable storage cabinets — I have found one in a corridor, and (to my mind) this is completely wrong, particularly since it is not far from an exit door. Is there OSHA (or NFPA) guidance on this? Thanks very much.
Karensays:04/11/2017 at 9:16 am
Thanks for your comment. Because this cabinet 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 safeguard 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 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: 184.108.40.206.1 and NFPA 1: 220.127.116.11].
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 it doubt, your local fire marshal is a great resource for situations like this when you may not be quite sure if a regulation or standard applies.
Fernandosays:01/05/2018 at 8:12 am
We have multiple safety cabinets on site. A visitor commented that you are not allowed to store anything on top of a safety cabinet. Will this be right?
Karensays:02/02/2018 at 4:22 pm
At the federal level, OSHA does not have a regulation that specifically prohibits storing materials on the tops of safety cabinets. The closest requirement is 29 CFR 1910.106(e)(9)(iv) which requires a “clear zone” on the ground that is free of trash and combustible materials. There is also nothing specific in the NFPA 30 code that prohibits this practice.
However, keeping the tops of safety cabinets free of materials – especially cardboard boxes and other combustible items – is a highly recognized best management practice that most companies follow. In fact, some flammable storage cabinet manufacturers even make a sloped cover that can be placed on top of the cabinets to prevent items from being stored on top of the cabinet and to make it easier to keep the top of the cabinets dust-free.
In some states and municipalities, it may also be required by the authority having jurisdiction. This is typically a local fire marshal or code enforcement official.
Hope this information help!
Edwardsays:11/11/2018 at 12:47 pm
Can flammable lockers be placed back to back?
Isabella Andersensays:04/02/2019 at 10:39 am
Hi there, great question! Nothing in OSHA regulations or in the NFPA 30 Code prevents flammable cabinets from being placed back-to-back. Just remember that no more than three cabinets can be placed in a grouping, and there are limits to the total volumes that can be stored in a single area, based on the category of flammable liquids being stored.
Kat Bsays:07/29/2019 at 6:13 pm
Can a flammable storage cabinet and a corrosive storage cabinet be placed together in a small room?
We are a Public Health Lab in California.
We have a room once called a chemical store room with some type of vent that runs permanently.
Would this vent be a problem ?
No information on the air changes in the room?
I understand 6 in 1 hour is minimum.
It has a door and is about 6×7 ft.
I understand the temperature in the room is important as well.
We will ground and strap but will not vent.
Do we remove the venting cap or leave them on if we are not venting?
Isabella Andersensays:09/23/2019 at 11:06 am
Hi there, In general, flammable storage cabinets and corrosive storage cabinets can be placed in the same room. In fact, some cabinet manufacturers have designed cabinets that can be stacked on top of each other to consolidate space.
As with all chemicals that are being stored – in cabinets or in general storage areas – consider the properties of each of the liquids that you are storing and ensure that incompatible materials are properly segregated. Flammable and corrosive cabinets are usually designed with vents near the top and bottom of each cabinet. Both OSHA and the NFPA discourage venting, but some local jurisdictions require venting. If venting is not required, both vent caps should remain in place and tightly closed.
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