The new guidance relates only to flammable liquids that are stored in containers up to 1,000 litres capacity. There are many workplaces with these kinds of volumes on site – perhaps in warehouses, workshops or garages – that may be unaware of the dangers if flammable liquids are not correctly stored. Each year, many accidents and even fatalities occur due to flammable liquids or their vapours escaping from containers and coming into contact with an ignition source; it’s important therefore that you know how to prevent this from happening.
6 Tips for Safe Storage and Use of Flammable Liquids
1. Complete a risk assessment to determine what could go wrong, taking into account your workplace’s usual work activities and any non-routine work, such as maintenance, where new hazards may appear.
2. If there is potential for a fire or explosion and the risk needs to be reduced, consider the appropriate control measures available. In this instance, you should always be looking to substitute the flammable substance for something less flammable (i.e. with a higher flashpoint) and also remove the ignition source where possible (for example, any welding taking place nearby).
3. All employees working in these environments should have appropriate training which gives them information about how, and why, a fire or explosion could happen and under which conditions. It should cover all activities involving the substance, including moving it, decanting it or clearing up spillages, as well as the general work process it is used in.
4. Your risk assessment should cover the mitigation measures available, which means how you will contain an escape of the flammable liquid if it were to occur, and also minimise its effects.
5. Do ensure that the containers used are suitable for the storage of the flammable liquid – often this means keeping it in the same container in which it arrived. Check that lids are a tight fit and check for dents or scratches which could indicate that the container has been damaged.
6. Have emergency procedures in place which detail how you will evacuate and/or rescue people in the vicinity.
Under the right conditions, it doesn’t take much for a flammable liquid fire to start – make sure that you know how to prevent one from happening on your premises, and also what to do if it does.
Contact us if you require assistance.