You should not try to make your own storage cabinet for holding flammable materials. Instead, you need to use a cabinet that meets the requirements laid down by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in construction, materials and design. This often means that various types of flammable and hazardous materials can’t be stored together, though this depends on the approval rating of the cabinet and the types of materials involved.
What Do You Want to Store?
The type of storage cabinet you create depends to a large extent on the type of materials you want to store. If you’re planning on storing flammable liquids, you’ll need a storage cabinet that can withstand spills and has ports to vent gases.
In all instances, the storage cabinet needs a handle and a lock to prevent children accessing it by accident. The cabinet also needs to be a bright color, usually yellow, for easy identification with a warning on the front to show that the contents are flammable and hazardous.
Once you’ve determined what you wish to store, you can safely proceed. It might mean that you’ll need more than one storage cabinet for different types of flammable materials. If an explosion is a possibility, a storage cabinet which can withstand an explosion can save your house or your garage from fire. You should always keep fire extinguishers and a fire blanket close to the storage cabinet in case of an emergency. Be aware, however, that a fire of flammable materials can often contain toxic smoke.
If possible, you also need a wash station close to the storage cabinets (for businesses this is mandatory). There might well be specific guidelines in your area as to the correct requirements when storing flammable materials.
Keeping different types of flammable materials in separate storage containers is vitally important when you’re creating a storage cabinet for them. Acids and base chemicals, for instance, should never be kept together because if the fumes from the two combine, it will cause a flammable explosion.
The best way to make sure nothing like this happens is to have a list on the side of the cabinet showing exactly what is being stored inside. Know what can and cannot go together.
Having a list outside the storage cabinet is great but each of the containers within the storage cabinet also needs to be marked with its contents. Different chemicals might need different storage trays within the storage cabinet. The contents of the storage cabinet also need to be inspected regularly in case any corrosion occurs. This could result in very dangerous leakage of materials.
Knowing what flammable liquids and chemicals can be stored together is extremely important knowledge when you’re creating a storage cabinet for flammables. Not skimping on the procedure is also vital. Buy as many cabinets as you need and don’t try and get by with just a few; it could prove to be a false economy.
Be aware of local and OSHA regulations regarding storage and stick to them as they exist for a very good reason.