A Guide to Color-Coding Your Safety Cabinets

Why Are Safety Cabinets Available In Different Colors?

Safety cabinets are an essential piece of equipment for the safe storage of flammable liquids and hazardous materials. Their safety capabilities come from their design. From insulated double walls, latching doors, and optional vents, every component of a safety cabinet is meant to keep you safe. 

Even the color of your safety cabinet is a safety feature. Safety cabinets are intentionally supplied in different colors with each color indicating the type of material stored inside. By readily identifying the intended use of the safety cabinet, the risk of storing incompatible materials together is greatly reduced. What’s more, in the event of an emergency, first responders can easily identify the contents of a safety cabinet, allowing them to make informed split-second decisions in crisis situations such as a fire.

Shop Different Types of Safety Cabinets

Safety Cabinets

Are Color-Coded Safety Cabinets Required By Safety Standards?

While color-coded safety cabinets are not required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), they are considered a best safety practice. When you consider the risk of storing flammable liquids and organic peroxides together, it makes good safety sense to segregate incompatible, reactive, or dangerous-when-stored-together liquids and materials. 

Justrite makes this critical process simple by supplying safety cabinets in recommended colors for each class of material. But since there is no safety standard requirement for color-coded safety cabinets, each company can establish its own system. Therefore, it is important to establish a color legend that is readily visible, label the cabinets, and train employees accordingly.

Standard Safety Cabinets


What Are The Classifications Of Safety Cabinets?

Color-coding is an accepted industry standard allowing quick identification of materials contained within, intended use, process status, etc. Accordingly, Justrite developed classifications based on what we consider to be industry standards for liquids and materials. The most common are flammable liquids, combustible liquids, corrosive chemicals, hazardous materials, pesticides, and flammable waste. By separating and storing your dangerous liquids into safe and compatible categories, you improve safety in the workplace.

Flammable Liquids Safety Cabinets

Yellow is a very common safety color, and it is used to designate one of the most commonly used safety cabinets: flammable liquids safety cabinets. These yellow cabinets can safely store OSHA Category 1, 2, 3, or 4 flammable liquids. This includes gasoline, diethyl ether, acetone, or many others. They are engineered and designed to protect their contents in the event of a fire. 

Justrite’s flammable liquids cabinets are also equipped with a sump to contain spills. The fireproofing features of the flammable liquids cabinet are extended to other classifications of safety cabinets, although they vary from cabinet to cabinet.

Flammable Cabinets for Safe Storage of Fuel and Liquids


Combustible Liquids Safety Cabinets

Red is the safety color most often used to signify fire. This makes it an appropriate color for combustible liquids safety cabinets. Justrite’s red safety cabinets safely store combustible liquids such as paints, aerosols, inks, diesel fuel, motor oil, and acetic acid.

Corrosive Chemicals Safety Cabinets

Light blue chemical cabinets are most often used to store corrosive chemicals. Our corrosive chemical storage cabinets are well equipped to meet corrosive storage cabinet requirements. An epoxy baked-on powder-coat finish inside and out provides extra resistance against the corrosive properties of their contents. They are further protected by polyethylene shelf trays and a polyethylene liner in the sump. Corrosive chemical storage cabinets are used to securely contain acids, bases, and solvents such as glycolic acid, imidazole, sodium hydroxide, amines, and sulfuric acid.

Our ChemCor® series of acid cabinets includes a thermoplastic coating on all interior surfaces that provides even more protection against corrosion and increased resistance to aggressive chemicals.

Corrosive Chemicals Safety Cabinets


Hazardous Materials Safety Cabinets

Royal blue safety cabinets generally are used to store a wide variety of hazardous materials. They are provided with eight distinct hazardous material classification labels: pyrophoric, oxidizer, self-reactive, toxic, water-reactive, corrosive, flammable solid, and organic peroxide. This allows users to correctly label the cabinet according to its contents. All cabinets are powder-coated and come with polyethylene shelf trays and a polyethylene liner in the sump. Select cabinets are available with the ChemCor® lining to provide even greater protection from harsh corrosives.

Pesticide and Insecticide Safety Cabinets

Pesticides and insecticides are stored in green safety cabinets. These cabinets can also be utilized to store herbicides, fertilizers, fungicides, and other turf chemicals.

Common examples in this classification include:

  • glyphosate isopropylamine salt
  • hexazinone
  • acephate, chlorothalonil
  • daminozide

Polyethylene trays on adjustable steel shelves provide additional protection.

Pesticide and Insecticide Safety Cabinets


Laboratory Safety Cabinets

Laboratories often use safety cabinets with subdued colors such as white, gray, or neutral for the storage of lab agents. These cabinets are available for flammable liquid storage with all the features and benefits of our yellow cabinets. If the materials to be stored are not flammable, polyethylene safety cabinets are a good option.

Storage space in laboratories is often hard to come by. Helping to alleviate this issue is the under-fume hood series of flammable liquid storage cabinets. Designed to fit conveniently under a fume hood or on lab benches and counters, these cabinets offer all of the protection of their full-size counterparts. Available in 15- to 31-gallon capacities, with single or double doors that can be specified in both manual and self-closing options, there is a compact laboratory cabinet that provides all the safety you expect in addition to full OSHA and NFPA regulatory compliance.

Flammable Waste Cabinets

Flammable waste cabinets are used to store flammable material waste safely until it can be disposed of properly. These cabinets are white and come with a large red warning label: “Flammable Waste.”

Since the material is flammable, our white flammable waste cabinets are built to the same standards as our flammable liquid cabinets.

There are many white safety cabinets available at Justrite that you can choose from so that you can safely store containers with flammable liquids and material waste.

Flammable Waste Cabinets


What If A Liquid Has Multiple Hazard Classification Properties?

It is not unusual for chemicals to have more than one hazard classification. For example, some chemicals are both corrosive and flammable, i.e., alkylamines, polyalkylamines, and chlorosilanes. In the case of a flammable/corrosive liquid, the flammable property has the highest degree of hazard. Therefore, it should be stored in a flammable liquid cabinet (rather than a corrosive chemical cabinet). Always consult manufacturer safety data sheets (SDS) for information on the hazard properties of a material.

Choosing a Safety Cabinet Color

Safety cabinets vary in shape, size, color, capacity, and features. They do, however, share the common trait of providing protection to personnel and to the facility in which they are installed. By choosing to color-code safety cabinets, you are adhering to best safety practices. Color-coding simplifies material storage, reduces the potential for storing incompatible material together, stores like materials together, and improves safety for first responders.

Safety Cabinets Color Guide

This guide is intended to serve only as a reference to the reader. It is not a substitute for comprehensive knowledge of the safety procedures and regulations surrounding your specific materials, safety cabinet, industry, and location. We assume no liability for the use or misuse of this information. For comprehensive and location-specific information, we strongly recommend that you contact authorities having jurisdiction.