Seating and storage solutions

Storage advice for solvents and flammable liquids

There are few things as terrifying and as dangerous as fire. The risk to life and property is immense. The fire statistics for 2011 speak for themselves. Between April and September, 149 people died in fires in the UK. Another 2,120 people were injured.

If you store solvents or any flammable liquids, you must adhere to the CoSHH legislation and take every precaution to prevent the risk of fire. Suitable solvent and flammable liquid storage containers and bins must be used. The amount of flammable liquids you can store is also strictly regulated.

Using a safety storage cabinet for solvents and flammable liquids is the first step in preventing fire. However, you must also consider how you use and manage them.

Placement of solvent and flammable liquids storage containers

Keep your flammable liquid cabinets and bins in a well-ventilated, dry area away from direct heat and sunlight. Never obstruct the cabinets and bins. The emergency services should be able to get to them quickly and safely. Remember to keep them locked at all times. Keys should be secured, ideally in a fireproof safe.

Your business continuity or disaster plan should include details of your flammable materials storage and where the keys can be located in case of emergency.

Some solvents and flammable liquids react with each other. Use the safety data sheets to check for details. Use separate cabinets and bins if necessary.

Do not store other dangerous substances, such as acids, with solvents and flammable liquids. Use separate and different-coloured cabinets and bins.

Store away from naked flames

All flammable liquids should be stored well away from naked flame. Smoking must also be strictly prohibited.

If you need advice on the storage of flammable liquids or solvents, contact your local fire safety officer. But first of all, make sure your storage bins are compliant and fit for purpose.

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