4.13 Flammable Liquids and Storage

Safety, Health, and Environmental Manual


The following are general guidelines for flammable liquids and flammable liquid storage rooms.

Flammable liquids should be stored in a way that reduces fire hazards. The following guidelines are a simplified version of flammable liquid storage requirements:

  • Flammable liquids may be stored in approved plastic containers that are designed specifically to store up to one gallon (3.8 L) of flammable liquids or in safety cans (see glossary) that can hold up to five gallons (20 L).

  • When filling containers, always place the container on the ground before refueling. Touch container with gas dispenser nozzle before removing lid. Keep gas dispenser nozzle in contact with container inlet when filling.

  • The amount of flammable liquids in a work area should be limited to the minimum quantity possible.

  • It is permitted to store fewer than 10 gallons (38 L) of flammable liquids outside a flammable liquid storage cabinet in a work area.

  • More than 10 gallons (38 L) of flammable liquids should be stored in a flammable liquid storage cabinet (see glossary).

  • Flammable liquids should not be stored in regular storage cabinets.

  • Class I liquids—liquids with a flash point less than 100°F (38°C)—should not be stored in basements.

  • Flammable liquids should be stored away from exit routes so that occupants are not trapped in the event of a fire.

  • Flammable liquids should not be stored in the same room with reactive materials except in a flammable liquid storage cabinet.

Indoor storage rooms for flammable liquids should be constructed to meet regulations and reduce fire hazards. Use the following guidelines:

  • Storage rooms should have raised sills or ramps at least four inches high (10 cm).

  • Rooms should have self-closing fire doors.

  • Rooms should be liquid tight where the walls join the floors.

  • Wood used for shelving must be at least one inch thick (2.5 cm).

  • Rooms must contain fewer than 240 gallons (900 L) of stored liquid per room; of these 240 gallons (900 L), fewer than 60 gallons (230 L) should be class IA liquids.

  • Explosion-proof wiring and electrical fixtures should be used.

  • A ventilation fan must be connected to turn on when the light switch located outside the room is turned on.

  • Six air changes per hour of ventilation should be provided.

  • The switch for a mechanical exhaust system should be outside the door.