Four Important Considerations when Selecting a Safety Storage Cabinet

Safety storage cabinets provide peace of mind by protecting hazardous and flammable chemicals from fire. They also control access to authorized users. Important considerations when selecting a chemical storage cabinet include:

1. Characteristics of the Chemicals

Before choosing a chemical storage cabinet, create an inventory of all chemicals. This inventory should include expected volumes for present and future use.

Each chemical comes with a Safety Data Sheet (SDS), which describes its properties. It also includes hazards associated with the chemical and recommended storage practices. Note which chemicals are incompatible and allocate them to separate safety cabinets. It is a best practice to color code your safety cabinets. Employees and emergency response personnel can then identify the types of chemicals inside.

Some chemicals are corrosive. Polyethylene trays resist corrosion and keep chemical storage cabinets in good condition for longer.

2. Chemical Storage Cabinet Regulations and Safety

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) set standards for the storage and classification of flammable materials. The International Fire Code (IFC) also provides specific requirements for self-closing doors. Even where self-closing doors are not enforced, this is a safety feature that is often applied. Doors may close automatically when left open or have a mechanism that closes the doors in the case of a fire.

All safety storage cabinets must be self-latching with a mandatory 3-point latch. This ensures positive closure of the safety cabinet, protecting the contents in the case of a fire.

In most environments, an FM-approved safety cabinet meets the regulatory and safety needs. However, the Navy and other shipping environments require safety cabinets that meet the European standard, EN14470-1. Justrite EN safety cabinets are available for these high-risk applications.

Applicable standards for safety cabinets

  • 29 CFR OSHA 1910.106 - Flammable Liquids
  • NFPA 30 - Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code
  • NFPA 400 - Hazardous Materials Code
  • NFPA 1 - Fire Code
  • IFC - International Fire Code
  • EN14470-1 - Fire safety storage cabinets

3. Capacity Factors

OSHA limits quantities of flammable liquids kept outside of safety cabinets or storage rooms. But, insurance companies and local authorities can place even higher restrictions.

Constructing cabinets from steel and fire-resistant materials increases the Maximum Allowable Quantity for storage. Justrite makes safety storage cabinets from high quality steel and issues a 10-year limited warranty.

OSHA and NFPA use different criteria to classify flammable materials. Always check with local authorities for the standards applicable to you.

4. Chemical Storage Security and Other Safety Considerations

All safety cabinets should be lockable. Justrite chemical storage cabinets also offer the ability to add a padlock. Drilling into a cabinet to add a padlock compromises the integrity of the cabinet.

Clear warning labels must appear on safety storage cabinets, saying “Flammable - Keep Fire Away.” Justrite Haz-Alert™ Flammable labels provide the warning in English, French and Spanish. Labels must be visible in different lighting conditions and at the base of the cabinet. This alerts people crawling through smoke to the contents of the cabinets.

Storage cabinet shelving should meet safe loading criteria. They must slope towards the back of the cabinet. Leaks and spills flow downwards off the shelf and into leak proof cabinet sumps.

Purchase a Justrite Safety Storage Cabinet Today

Justrite offers a comprehensive range of safety cabinets for handling and managing flammable liquids, solvents and chemicals. Find the best safety storage cabinet for your specific needs.