Having a safe work environment is important for any business. Some dangers of the workplace are easier to assess. Others can go unnoticed until an accident happens. One of the less obvious dangers is the storing and handling of flammable liquids.
According to OSHA, liquids are considered flammable when they have a flash point of 199.4 °F or above. The flashpoint is the temperature at which a liquid gives off vapor making it easily ignitable.
Identifying a safe storage area for flammable liquids is key. You want to make sure that the liquids are kept away from ignition sources. This would be anywhere with exposure to sparks, open flames, hot surfaces, and/or tobacco smoking. The storage area should be cool and dry with good ventilation. It should be located away from any exit doors or evacuation routes. Keep the storage area equipped with a fire extinguisher and clean-up equipment.
All containers should be correctly labeled and undamaged. Do not accept any container holding flammable liquid if it shows any sign of damage. Create a schedule to regularly check containers for leaks. Only trained and authorized employees should be handling the hazardous materials.
Different industries use different materials so it is important to know the dangers of your industry. You can learn about the the storage of flammable liquids in your industry by researching the building, fire, and electrical codes according to the law. Be knowledgeable of the Material Safety Data Sheets for all the substances used.
Make sure that your employees know how to handle an accident with flammable liquids in the workplace. In the event of an emergency, have your employees leave the area if they are not trained to handle the issue or if it is beyond control. Notify everyone in the workplace, evacuate the area if necessary and call the fire department. Any exposure to harmful chemicals should be treated as soon as possible.