Best Practices for Storing Flammable Liquids and Substances

Dec 28, 2023 5:00 PM ET

The golden rule in any laboratory is: Safety First! In that vein, therefore, if your lab uses combustible or flammable substances, then – in line with the safety principle – the right place is in a secure cabinet. Whether it’s a used flammable cabinet, or whether it’s brand new, the following liquids belong safely in a secure flammable cabinet: Benzine, Methanol, Ether, Acetone, Petroleum. It’s important to note that the list might also include other similar chemicals and materials. 

Remove all Doubts First

If in doubt, it’s always advisable to consult the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines on flammable and combustible liquids. Of particular interest, for laboratory administrators and lab safety staff, is OSHA Standard 1910, related to Flammable liquids, and 1926.152(d), which addresses Fire control for flammable liquid storage.  

These guidelines will help you determine how best to protect your laboratory, its staff, and your equipment, in the event of a fire.  Use them in concert with information we’ll share below, about new or used lab furniture you might find at laboratory sales, online, or in-stores.

Shopping for Used Lab Furniture: Best Practices

When looking for used cabinets to store combustible or flammable materials for a laboratory, it’s essential to prioritize safety and compliance. Here are three best practices to follow:

– Understand and Adhere to Regulations

Familiarize yourself with local, state, and national regulations regarding the storage of flammable materials in laboratories. Different regions may have specific requirements for cabinet design, construction, and labeling.

Ensure that the used flammable cabinet you are considering meets or exceeds the relevant safety standards, such as OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) or NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) guidelines.

– Inspect and Assess the Condition

Thoroughly inspect the used flammable cabinet for any signs of damage, corrosion, or wear. Pay close attention to the integrity of the cabinet’s structure, including the walls, doors, hinges, and locking mechanisms.

Check for proper ventilation features, such as vents with flame arrestors, to facilitate the safe release of vapors. Ensure that all components, such as shelves and trays, are present and in good condition. Verify that the cabinet has the appropriate labeling and markings indicating its suitability for storing flammable materials. Refer to OSHA guidelines to ensure that the inspection process aligns with established safety protocols, promoting a secure laboratory environment.

– Request Documentation and History

When assessing items at laboratory sales events, ask the seller for documentation related to the used flammable cabinet, such as the original purchase receipt, maintenance records, and any inspection certificates. This information can provide insights into the cabinet’s history and its maintenance record.

Inquire about the types of materials stored in the cabinet previously. If used with incompatible substances, it might have experienced corrosion or damage that could compromise its safety. If possible, obtain information on the cabinet’s age, as newer cabinets may have updated safety features and designs.

Sourcing Decisions Matter

Remember, safety is of utmost importance when dealing with flammable materials. If there is any doubt about the condition or compliance of a used flammable cabinet, it may be safer to invest in a new one to ensure the protection of laboratory personnel and assets. At LEI Sales, we have a large inventory of new and used furniture for sale. If you can’t find what you need, contact us and we’ll be happy to help!

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