Managing Flammable Liquid Safety Cans
Flammable liquid safety cans are used in a variety of industries, including, but not limited to, construction, manufacturing, transportation and agriculture. When used correctly and as directed by OSHA, these safety cans allow businesses to safely and conveniently move, dispense or store flammable liquids.
Simply put, flammable liquid safety cans are designed to control exposures associated with combustible vapors. However, when used improperly, safety can create major fire and explosion hazards, endangering your business and the safety of your employees and the public. What’s more, storing a flammable liquid in unapproved containers could lead to potential workplace accidents should the container melt or its pressure relief components fail.
To manage these risks and avoid compliance-related fines, it’s important to understand how OSHA defines a flammable liquid and what is considered an approved flammable liquid safety can.
What Is a Flammable Liquid?
OSHA has specific requirements (OSHA Standard 1910.106 – Flammable Liquids) as to what constitutes as a flammable liquid and the way these liquids need to be stored. Per OSHA, flammable liquids are those that have a flashpoint—the temperature at which a particular substance gives off sufficient vapor to ignite in the air—below 199.4 F.
Again, OSHA’s standard governs the handling, storage and use of flammable liquids. It details four categories of flammable liquids:
- F and a boiling point below 95 F
- F and a boiling point above 95 F
- F and 140 F
- F and 199.4 F
Once you have determined the category of the flammable liquid, you can then decide what flammable liquid safety can system is appropriate for mitigating fire hazards.
Manage Fire Exposures Using Flammable Liquid Safety Cans
Flammable liquid safety cans are crucial when it comes to protecting your business and employees from dangers associated with combustible materials. Per OSHA, flammable liquid safety cans:
- Have a capacity of no more than 5 gallons
- Feature a spring-closing lid and spout cover
- Can safely relieve internal pressure
- Are approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory such as Factory Mutual (FM) or Underwriter Laboratory (UL)
This definition allows a wide variety of containers to be considered safety cans. In general, OSHA requires all businesses or commercial enterprises to use Type I or Type II safety cans:
- Type I cans have a single opening for filling and dispensing.
- Type II cans have separate openings for filling and dispensing. With Type II cans, a small diameter hose for dispensing allows users to pour into narrow openings without spilling.
When using approved containers at your workplace, ensure it meets OSHA’s standards and has key safety features. Above all, safety cans should have self-closing and leakproof lids, proper ventilation and pressure relief components, and guard against outside heat sources (e.g., sparks).
It should be noted that OSHA places limits on the maximum size of containers and portable tanks for flammable liquids. The chart below depicts storage capacity considerations for each category of flammable liquid.
Continuing Flammable Liquid Safety Cans
To prevent workplace fires, hazardous liquids require special precautions in terms of their storage and use. Following OSHA’s regulations and using approved flammable liquid safety cans whenever handling flammable liquids is one of the best ways to protect your business.
For additional risk management strategies, contact GDI Insurance Agency, Inc. today.
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