When storing flammable substances on your site it is important to ensure you have them secured and in a safe location. This includes having the proper safety precautions in place.
The dangerous substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) require risks from the indoor storage of dangerous substances to be controlled by elimination or by reducing the quantities of such substances in the workplace to a minimum.
Ensure you meet all the safety requirements. There are ways to do this properly. Here is our 8-point guide to help you:
When not in use, flammable liquids should be stored in suitable cabinets, of fire-resistant construction and which are designed to retain spills (110% of the largest vessel normally stored in it, or 25% of the total volume).
These cabinets should be located in designated areas, where possible away from the immediate processing area. They should not hinder means of escape from the working area.
Flammable liquids should be stored separately from other dangerous substances, which may increase the risk of fire, or compromise the integrity of the container or cabinet. For example oxidising or corrosive materials should not be stored with flammable liquids. Even if these other materials are flammable in their own right, it is still inappropriate to store these in the same cabinets or bins with other flammable liquids. [Further guidance on Energetic and spontaneously combustible substances is contained in HS(G)131 published by HSE]
A flammable storage cabinet with 60 or 120 minutes fire protection means that if there is a fire on your premises, your flammable chemicals will be insulated from the fire for the specified duration of time.
Storage with proper ventilation and cooling systems reduces the risk of flammable liquids easily reaching flash point and releasing toxic vapours.
It is important to know the quantities being stored. The HSE guidance emphasises the importance of the location of your flammable storage unit and the volume of substances you will be storing in order to comply with DSEAR. The guidance document has a table of volumes of HFLs stored vs. the minimum distance that your flammables store must be located away from an occupied building, source of ignition, boundary, etc. For example, if you are storing between 1,000 and 100,000 litres of flammable liquids, the minimum separation distance is 4 metres.
The storage cabinet should have bunds, or spill trays, to capture any leaked chemicals or substances and help protect against environmental pollution.
Where there are flammable vapours present, and any electrical equipment is installed in the store, it will need to be ATEX rated. This is specified under 2 European Directives, the ATEX 137 Workplace Directive and the ATEX 95 Equipment Directive.