Leading university chemistry department specifies walk in flammable storage solution Company fined following extensive fire at chemical site

Chemical company LMA Services Ltd has been sentenced for safety breaches after a fire which quickly took hold of buildings and storage areas at the site.

Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard that on 30 June 2016, the fire started during a chemical dispensing operation in a Warehouse on Halifax Way, Pocklington Industrial Estate, Pocklington. Heptane, a highly flammable liquid, was being decanted from a bulk storage container into 4-litre metal cans. The operator dropped the can he was filling, exited the warehouse quickly and raised the alarm. He did not suffer any serious injury. The fire spread quickly and destroyed the warehouse, the adjacent warehouse and an external storage area between the two.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the process involved placing a bulk container of heptane onto racking at a height of about 1.5m. A table was then positioned beneath the bulk container onto which a small electrical weighing scale was positioned. Metal cans were placed onto the scale and an employee filled the cans by weight by manually operating a tap on the bulk container in the warehouse building.

A flammable vapour created during the process came into contact with an ignition source causing the vapour to ignite. HSE’s investigation found that the most likely source of ignition was a spark from the electrical weighing scales.

LMA Services Ltd of Halifax Way, Pocklington Industrial Estate, Pocklington pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6 (3) of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002. The company has been fined £14,000 and ordered to pay £2,377 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Dave Stewart commented: “The risks associated with the decanting operation were not fully understood by the company. There were potential ignition sources present within the area where a flammable vapour was likely to occur.

“This case highlights the importance of assessing risks associated with flammable atmospheres. Employers should ensure that adequate measures are taken to reduce the formation of flammable atmospheres so far as is reasonably practicable, and to ensure that only suitable electrical equipment is used in areas where a flammable atmosphere may be present.”

For advice and guidance on safe flammable liquid storage, or to book a free site survey, contact Chemstore UK today on 0208 704 1807.

 

Case Study: Storing Acetone

When professional nail product distributor, Pure Nails, was looking for a storage solution for safely storing Acetone within their factory before it was forwarded for onward distribution, they turned to Chemstore UK.

As Acetone is highly flammable it needed to be housed in a 90minute fire rated structure but it also needed to be easily accessible so orders could be fulfilled quickly and efficiently.

Following a site visit from Account Manager, Stephen Mansell, Chemstore UK proposed a bespoke Firevault unit which measured 14m long and, rather than housing standard pallet racking, incorporated front and back access for easy loading and unloading of boxes.

Stephen Mansell explains: “The Acetone remains within its manufactured sealed containers during the time that Pure Nails handles it so it is unlikely to be the source of a fire, but due to Acetone’s highly flammable nature, it was essential to keep it protected from potential fires started elsewhere within the premises.  The bespoke Firevault was the perfect solution because it ensured when storing Acetone the product could be protected from fire without hindering the company’s operations.”

Nathan Palmer, Head of Operations, Pure Nails comments: “From their first site visit through to the design and approval of the Firevault to it arriving and being installed in great condition onsite, we were very impressed with both the product and service provided by Chemstore UK.

“Getting the unit into the factory was really impressive. I would definitely recommend using them.”

 

 

 

 

 

It can Really Happen (Video)

The use of hazardous and combustible materials is part of the daily routine in most laboratories and industries. The improper storage of such materials puts people, the environment and propertyStorage units in danger. The video shows the serious consequences that can result from the incorrect storage of flammable liquids. Due to a mistake from a laboratory employee a fire breaks out, the incorrect storage of the flammable materials accelerate the spread of fire and leads to a serious fire and explosion. The employees are heavily injured, the laboratory manager is arrested and the building is completely destroyed — the company is shut down!

The video then shows how such an incident can be avoided by the purchase of a type 90 safety storage cabinet and the correct storage of flammable liquids. In case of fire the cabinets prevent the substances stored within from assisting the spread of the fire. A special fire-retardant construction makes this possible. asecos offers a wide range of safety storage cabinets in numerous types and for different needs. The cabinets comply with the highest quality standards and have been tested in accordance with the European norm 14470 and GS (approved safety).

Storage of Flammable Liquids at a Glance

The storage of flammable liquids presents companies with a high risk and potentially catastrophic consequence if neglected.

The first step in addressing this risk is to assess if the flammable liquids on site can be substituted for a less flammable/hazardous substance or simply be reduced in volume.

It is accepted that a limited quantity of flammables may need to be stored within the process or work area for practical or production purposes.

The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002, requires that employers carry out a risk assessment to protect people from risks to their safety from fires, explosions and similar events in the workplace and also justify the need to store any specific flammable liquid.

As a general rule, the amount of product stored internally should kept at a minimum and not exceed a half day’s or one shift’s worth within the work area or work room.

When not in use flammable liquids stored internally, should be kept in sealed and suitable containers and placed within bunded cabinets with fire-resisting construction. The level of fire resistance of the cabinet and the location selected should be the result of careful assessment.

The remaining essential flammable liquids stored on site would typically be placed externally, within a secure, bunded store with fire resisting construction which is in turn located in a safe location.

A safe location can be determined by looking at the separation of the flammables store from an occupied building, boundary of the property, process unit, flammable liquid storage tank or fixed ignition source.

In the most common scenario, when 1000L–100,000L of flammable liquids are stored, a separation of at least 4m should be attained to ensure a safe location is established.

If a safe area cannot be created on site or is simply unfeasible, the use of a fire rated safety store, typically 1hr rated, can be utilised to successfully minimise the associated risks.

All flammable liquids should be segregated (in both storage and spillage retention areas) from other hazardous substances that may enhance the risk of fire or compromise the integrity of the container or safety store for example segregation from oxidisers or corrosive materials is essential.

Chemstore is happy to offer flammables storage site assessments and to provide obligation free expert advice. Contact us now to book your free assessment!

 

Incorrect Storage of Flammable Materials

Take a moment to view the deadly consequences of incorrect storage of flammable materials. 

A Brief Guide to Flammable Solvent Storage

Any dedicated external flammables store must be fire-rated and a minimum distance of 2 meters away from any source of ignition or public right of way. They are considerably more expensive to build than a safety cabinet. asecos cabinets are for internal use only; they reduce the need to transport flammable liquids across site and are an excellent solution where local storage is required.

Most commonly used at the moment are cheaper single skinned BS476 cabinets. They allow the following volumes to be stored in any room:

  • For highly flammable solvents with a flashpoint less than 21oc, the maximum level that can be stored is 50 litres.
  • For flammable solvents with a flashpoint from 21 to 60 oc, the maximum level that can be stored is 250 litres.
  • In both cases the room size is irrelevant.

These figures do not apply when BS EN 14470-1 type cabinets are used. They are the equivalent of an external store for internal local use. Subject to a risk assessment there is no restriction to the volumes that can be stored in an EN14470 cabinet.

The main reason for the difference in the volumes allowed for the two types is that BS EN 14470 cabinets have far better fire performance than single skins, and have to be independently tested to prove this. Refer to the asecos catalogue for a full list of features.

We’ll work with you to select the best Flammable Solvent Storage Solution that meets your requirements.

Flammable Solvent Storage

We will…..

  • Establish which solvents the customer needs to store and identify the total volume and dimensions of containers being used. We will determine if any are highly toxic or environmentally dangerous, and if so seek specialist advice. You can also refer to the Material Safety Data Sheet for advice.
  • Take measurements of any available spaces where cabinets might be used. This might be under fume cupboards for example; there can be hidden restrictions such as support framework or benches that must be taken into consideration. Remember to account for doors in the fully open position.
  • Having gathered all necessary data, specific cabinets can now be offered. Remember that tall cabinets are cheaper in terms of value per litre stored. Consider 30 minute versus 90 minute fire resistant options and what would be more suitable. Establish what level of interior furniture will be required. Note that products with internal partitions are available when segregation is an issue. Identify if local extraction is available. If not, we have a range UFA air re-circulators, they are a small with an in-built filtration system, refer to the asecos catalogue.
  • Finally check that the floor can take the weight of the cabinet, figures of each are published in the asecos catalogue and establish delivery required either to the point of use or behind first door (goods-in).

Please note:

Examples of Highly Flammable Solvents = Acetone, Methanol

Examples of Flammable Solvents = Diesel, Turpentine

Storage of Flammable Liquids – at a Glance

Safety Images

 

The storage of flammable liquids presents companies with a high risk and potentially catastrophic consequence if neglected. The first step in addressing this risk is to assess if the flammable liquids on site can be substituted for a less flammable/hazardous substance or simply be reduced in volume. It is accepted that a limited quantity of flammables may need to be stored within the process or work area for practical or production purposes.

 

The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002, requires that employers carry out a risk assessment to protect people from risks to their safety from fires, explosions and similar events in the workplace and also justify the need to store any specific flammable liquid. As a general rule, the amount of product stored internally should kept at a minimum and not exceed a half day’s or one shift’s worth within the work area or work room. When not in use flammable liquids stored internally, should be kept in sealed and suitable containers and placed within bunded cabinets with fire-resisting construction.

The level of fire resistance of the cabinet and the location selected should be the result of careful assessment. The remaining essential flammable liquids stored on site would typically be placed externally, within a secure, bunded store with fire resisting construction which is in turn located in a safe location. A safe location can be determined by looking at the separation of the flammables store from an occupied building, boundary of the property, process unit, flammable liquid storage tank or fixed ignition source. In the most common scenario, when 1000L–100,000L of flammable liquids are stored, a separation of at least 4m should be attained to ensure a safe location is established. If a safe area cannot be created on site or is simply unfeasible, the use of a fire rated safety store, typically 1hr rated, can be utilised to successfully minimise the associated risks. All flammable liquids should be segregated (in both storage and spillage retention areas) from other hazardous substances that may enhance the risk of fire or compromise the integrity of the container or safety store for example segregation from oxidisers or corrosive materials is essential.

Chemstore is happy to offer flammables storage site assessments and to provide obligation free expert advice. Contact us now to book your free assessment!

Email: mike.brodie@chemstore.co.uk

Freephone: 0800 028 2531

Web: www.chemstore.co.uk