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XVII. Flammables and Combustible Liquids

  • General
  • Classification of Flammable and Combustible Liquids.
  • Maximum Capacity of Containers for Flammable and Combustible Liquids.
  • Pouring and Transfer of Liquids.
  • Storage Cabinets; Construction and Capacity.
  • Inside Storage Rooms.
  • Storage Outside Building.
  • Fire Control.
  • Exemptions.
  • Procedure for the use of Hazardous Materials.
  • Hazardous Chemical use guidelines.
  • Requirement for use and storage of hazardous materials.
  • Comply with the OSHA hazard communication standard.
  • Training.

The storage, issue, use and disposal of flammable and combustible liquids shall be governed by the rules and regulations promulgated under the Environmental Safety and Health Act, the National Fire Code of the NFPA.

Classification of Flammable and Combustible Liquids

Flammable liquid refers to any liquids having a flashpoint below 100 degrees Fahrenheit.  Such flammables are designated as Class I liquids.  Combustible liquid have flashpoint at or above 100 degree.

Maximum Capacity of Containers for Flammable and Combustible Liquids

Containers for flammable and combustible liquids shall be of the type, not exceeding the maximum capacities as set forth in the OSHA Standards.  Size limitation for containers must be followed in order to prevent ignition of liquid by sparks from static discharge during pouring operations. Refer to Table I for container size specification.

Table 1 - Maximum Capacity of Containers For Flammable and combustible Liquids

Flammable Liquids
Container Type Class IA Class IB Class IC
Glass or Approved plastic 1 pint 1 quart 1 gallon
Metal 1 gal 1 gal
Safety Cans 2 gals 2 gals
Combustibles Liquids
Container Type Class II Class III
Glass or approved Plastic 1 gal 1 gal
Metal 1 gal 5 gal
Safety can 2 gal 5 gal

Glass containers of not more than 1 (one) gallon capacity may be used if the purity (such as ACS analytical reagent grade or higher) would be affected by storage in metal containers, if the liquid would cause excessive corrosion to the metal container.

Pouring and Transfer of Liquids

To avoid sparks during the discharge caused by static electricity during pouring operations of Class I and II liquids, the storage containers being filled must be bonded and grounded.  Bonding is the provision of an electrical path between the storage container and the containers being filled.  Grounding is providing an electrical path from the storage container to an earthen ground.

Storage Cabinets; Construction and Capacity

Storage cabinets for flammable and combustibles liquids may be either wood or metal construction, designed and constructed to limit the internal temperature to not more than 325 degrees F when subjected to time temperatures curves as set forth in the Standard Methods of Fire Test of Building Construction Materials, NFPA 251-1969.  Construction shall be in accordance with OSHA standard 1910.106(d)(3).

Storage cabinets for flammable and combustible liquids shall be limited to the following maximum capacity:

Storage Cabinets Used In Maximum Capacity
Laboratories 45 gallons
Printing Operation 30 gallons

There will be no more than one 45 gallon storage capacity cabinet or two 30 gallon capacity storage cabinet in any one room or storage space. Storage cabinets will be labeled in conspicuous lettering "FLAMMABLE KEEP FIRE OPEN FLAME AWAY". "NO SMOKING" signs shall be prominently posted in the room and on the entrance doors. 

Table 2 - Maximum Quantities of Flammables and Combustibles Liquids Permitted Outside of Storage Cabinets Per Indicated Type of Space. (liquids in containers per Table I)

Container Type Class I and II Class III
Laboratory (Instructional or Research)
Glass, approved plastics, metal 5 gal 10 gal
Safety cans 5 gal 10 gal
Printing Operation
Glass, approved plastic or plastic 3 gal 5 gal
Safety cans 5 gal 10 gal
Glass, approved plastics 5 gal 10 gal
Safety cans 10 gal 20 gal

If quantities of flammable or combustible liquids are required in excess of maximum quantities shown in Table 2, then storage cabinets must be provided to accommodate these excess quantities.

Inside Storage Rooms

Inside storage rooms, constructed in strict accordance with the detailed requirements of OSHA and NFPA, may be used for storage of larger quantities of flammables and combustibles liquids.

Storage Outside Building

Storage of flammable and combustibles liquids outside of building shall be in accordance with the specific requirements of OSHA and NFPA as to capacity, location, construction, spill containment, security, and fire control.

Fire Control

At least one portable fire extinguisher having a rating of not less than 10BC shall be located in each space where flammable or combustible liquids are stored or used.


29 CFR 1910.106(e)(b), the OSHA regulation for storage of flammable and combustible liquids, states that supply for one day or up to 120 gallons of Class 1B, 1C, II, or III flammable liquids and 25 gallons of Class IA liquids can be safely located in containers outside cabinets or an inside storage room building or in any one fire area of a building.  Also, 660 gallons of IB, 1C, II, or III may be stored in a single portable tank.  Areas using Class I liquids must be ventilated at a rate not less than 1 cfm per square foot of solid floor area by natural or mechanical ventilation with discharge or exhaust to a safe location outside the building.  Provision must be made for introduction of make-up air, so ventilation will not be interrupted.

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