We have all read about explosions and fires from time to time where flammable and hazardous liquids have been the cause.
To minimise the risk of flammable liquids, materials and gases on work premises across the UK, strict regulations called The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) were introduced to provide clear guidelines for the storing and containing of flammable gas and liquids. Within the regulations, the amount of such hazardous substances must be controlled to a maximum amount on a site to minimise the risk and danger of accidents and incidents. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the UK’s independent organisation for health, safety and illness in the UK’s workplaces and makes recommendations for organisations handling and working with flammable substances to help decrease risks.
The DSEAR regulations stipulate that the employer responsible should justify the reasons why a flammable and hazardous liquid is required on-site in the first place, and also provide a rationale and evidence why the minimum amount required for the required work practices is stored on-site at any one time.
The amounts that can be stored on-site will also be in accordance to the recommended amounts deemed to be within industrial guidelines for safe practice. The amount that can be stored will also depend upon the level of the measured flash point for the flammable liquid. The flash point of a flammable liquid will determine the safety hazard and therefore risk of a liquid’s flammability. Measuring the flash point will also determine the hazard group in which the liquid will be classified which in turn will determine the precautions to take when manufacturing, storing, distributing and utilizing the liquid. A flash point is the temperature to which a liquid must be heated before it will produce a flammable mixture of vapour in air that will ignite when an ignition source is applied: see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_point for further information on flash points.
Within EU legislation, flammable liquids have a flash point between 21°C and 55°C and highly flammable liquids have a flash point below 21°C.
For flammable liquids that need to be stored on-site, there are additional regulations and specifications for the storage to mitigate risk factors. Suitable storage facilities for flammable liquids need to be implemented and be locked and secured. Suitable containers and storage solutions including storage cages, cabinets or bins should be made from fire-resistant materials and should also be kept well out of the way of work areas, production areas and fire exits. The containers and storage areas should also be free of gaps and holes with tight-fitting lids and joints, and the fastenings and supports within a storage container should be made from a material with a melting point higher than 750°C. We stock a range of secure flammable liquids cupboards for flammable liquids, chemicals and pesticides. It is also stipulated that flammable and hazardous liquids which could compromise the safety of the flammable liquids, such as corrosives, should be stored separately.