Flammable Liquid Storage Cabinets

Wherever chemicals are stored or used, flammable liquid storage cabinets are a familiar sight. Whether it is a laboratory, industrial factory or warehouse, construction site, or repair garage, you are bound to come across a few. Flammable liquid storage cabinets are a common sight in many locations including labs, warehouses, factories, construction sites, and garages. They are usually easy to find as they are typically covered in an enamel-finish yellow paint with big red letters reading “FLAMMABLE KEEP FIRE AWAY”.

Beyond convenience and familiarity, there are many code reasons why cabinets are used:

  1. Separation of incompatible materials
  2. Increases to control area maximum allowable quantities
  3. NFPA 45 laboratory storage requirements
  4. OSHA storage requirements

To be considered adequate by the building and fire codes, storage cabinets for flammable and combustible liquids are required to meet the provisions of NFPA 30, Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code, or the International Fire Code, depending on the locally adopted fire code. Both codes provide allowances for listed cabinets and unlisted manufactured steel or wooden cabinets.

The more commonly used steel cabinets are manufactured to the following parameters:

  1. No. 18 gauge double-walled steel with 1.5” airspace between walls.
  2. Riveted or welded tight-fitting joints.
  3. Well-fitted doors that are self-closing and latching, with 3-point latch.
  4. A 2” liquid-tight sump at the bottom for nominal spill control.

The following are frequently asked questions regarding flammable liquid storage cabinets:

  1. Are flammable liquid cabinets required to be ventilated? Not typically. Unless required by local jurisdictions, the base codes and standards do not require that cabinets be ventilated.
  2. Are cabinets required to be grounded? Although many manufacturers provide a grounding screw on their cabinets for convenience, they are not required to be grounded when used for closed storage.
  3. How much can be stored in a cabinet? Up to 120 gallons of flammable and combustible liquids are permitted to be stored within a flammable cabinet per NFPA and ICC codes.
  4. Is a cabinet sufficient to meet spill control requirements? Most cabinets only provide a 2” sump capacity which is not always sufficient for a spill of larger containers such as drums.

If you have questions about Flammable and Liquid Storage Cabinets or the requirements when dealing with flammable and combustible liquids, please feel free to contact us.