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Storing highly flammable substances - 8 important checks

When storing flammable substances on your site, it is essential to ensure they are 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 hazardous 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:

1. Use only specifically designed, suitable storage cabinets for flammable liquids.

When not in use, flammable liquids should be stored in suitable cabinets of fire-resistant construction designed to retain spills (110% of the largest vessel typically stored in it, or 25% of the total volume).

2. Fire-rated storage cabinets should be in designated areas.

Where possible, these cabinets should be in designated areas away from the immediate processing area. They should not hinder means of escape from the working area.

3. Dangerous and flammable substances should be stored separately.

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, oxidizing or corrosive materials should not be stored with flammable liquids. Keeping these other materials in the same cabinets or bins with other flammable liquids is still inappropriate, even if these different materials are flammable. [Further guidance on Energetic and spontaneously combustible substances is contained in HS(G)131 published by HSE]

4. Fire rated storage cabinets should give 60 or 120 minutes of fire protection

A flammable storage cabinet with 60- or 120-minute fire protection means that if there is a fire on your premises, your volatile chemicals will be insulated from the fire for the specified duration.

5. Proper ventilation and cooling reduces risk.

Storage with proper ventilation and cooling systems reduces the risk of flammable liquids quickly reaching flash points and releasing toxic vapours.

6. To comply with DSEAR location and quantity must be taken into consideration.

It is essential to know the quantities being stored. The HSE guidance emphasizes the importance of the location of your flammable storage unit and the volume of substances you will be keeping to comply with DSEAR. The guidance document has a table of volumes of HFLs held vs. the minimum distance your flammables store must be away from an occupied building, ignition source, boundary, etc. For example, if you are storing between 1,000 and 100,000 litres of flammable liquids, the minimum separation distance is 4 meters.

7. Spill trays are important to capture dangerous leaks.

The storage cabinet should have bunds, or spill trays, to capture any leaked chemicals or substances and help protect against environmental pollution.

8. ATEX rated equipment is important in flammable environments

Where flammable vapours are present and any electrical equipment is installed in the store, it must be ATEX-rated. This is specified under 2 European Directives, the ATEX 137 Workplace Directive and the ATEX 95 Equipment Directive.

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Fire-rated Storage Containers

DENIOS fire-rated storage offers safe REI 90 fire protection from the inside and outside thanks to their double frame design. Containers can be designed and equipped for every requirement, regardless of where you are based in the world. Up to 120 minutes fire resistance is possible internationally - tested and certified as a complete system.

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Fire-rated Storage Cabinets

If flammable liquids are to be stored directly in the workplace, they must be stored in a dedicated flammable storage cabinet that is fire rated. DENIOS offers a comprehensive range of solutions for flammable liquid storage to meet all hazardous material requirements.

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Lithium-ion Cabinets

DENIOS Lithium-ion cabinets are tested according to EN-14470-1 and give 90 minutes fire protection from outside to inside and 90 minutes fire resistance from inside to outside. Our product range offers safety cabinets for storing and charging your lithium batteries.

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