Storage of Flammable Liquids – at a Glance

July 29, 2013

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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!


Freephone: 0800 028 2531


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