Understanding Safety Can Design, Parts, Purpose

What is a Safety Can?

Safety can is a term that is used to describe cans and containers that were designed to safely store and dispense flammable liquids. They might contain gasoline, diesel, kerosene, oil, or any number of other flammable or combustible liquids. Still, they have all been designed for a single purpose: to serve as a safe and compliant small quantity container for safe point of use dispensing in the workplace.  

Every inch of their design is devoted to keeping you safe. For this reason, the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and fire codes require businesses to use these cans to be compliant with their regulations. Using the right can for your job is the best way to ensure everyone’s safety. Not using safety cans in a commercial setting may result in fines or other legal actions, personal injury, property damage, and at its worst, death. That is why we’re here to explain how the design of safety cans keeps personnel safe when handling flammable and combustible liquids

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Safety Cans

Components Found on All Justrite Safety Cans

All Justrite safety cans share some attributes that are standard in their design.

These features include spring-loaded caps, positive pressure release valves, flame arresters, a raised base, a handle, and reinforcing ribs.

Justrite Safety Cans


Spring-loaded or Self-Closing Cap (All Safety Cans)

OSHA requires that every safety can is built with a spring-loaded, self-closing lid. This creates a leak-proof seal with the rim of the spout and prevents spills if the safety can is dropped or kicked over. The self-close lid guards the contents against heat sources and seals in ignitable or toxic vapors.

ositive Pressure Release Valve (All Safety Cans)

To avoid building up to explosive force, OSHA requires every safety can be designed with a positive pressure release valve. These release vapor pressure between 3-5 psi so that the can is never at risk of excessive pressure build-up. 

Flame Arrestor / Flame Arrester (All Safety Cans)

All safety cans are required to have an internal flame arrester within the spout.

In the instance that a heat source ignites vapors outside of the can, the stainless steel flame arrester in Justrite cans protects the vapor space inside the can from igniting to help prevent an explosion.

Justrite sells replacement flame arresters and accessories for different types of safety cans.

Flame Arrestor / Flame Arrester


Raised Bottom (All Safety Cans)

Each can is built with a raised bottom so that the safety can is not sitting with its entire base touching the ground. It is sitting on a half-inch rim around the exterior; this helps avoid the risk of punctures or dents when the can is placed on uneven surfaces. This also serves as a grip when pouring.

Reinforcing Ribs (Metallic Safety Cans)

The sidewalls of safety cans are braced with reinforcing ribbing.

These ribs help maintain the can’s structural integrity when it is being handled.

The safety can's ribbed design also helps protect its structure when the can is being jostled around in rough environments.

Reinforcing Ribs (Metallic Safety Cans)


Handle (All Safety Cans)

Handles are an essential component of every safety can for dextrous handling. Our full-fisted rounded grips are designed for comfortable use so that you can maneuver and pour your safety can confidently. The free-swinging handles on Type I cans pull back to open the lid, and the rigid carry handle on Type II cans include an easy trigger mechanism for controlled pouring.

Powder-Coat Finish (Metallic Safety Cans)

All of our galvanized steel cans are coated in a durable powder paint coating to help resist external dangers to the can and damage caused by humidity and corrosion. Additionally, the color can be used to signify the contents within. OSHA requires that all gasoline and other flammables with a flashpoint below 80 degrees Fahrenheit be stored in safety cans that are red, and there are color-coded cans for diesel, kerosene, and oil as well. Diesel is yellow, kerosene is blue, and oil is green. While these three are not OSHA mandated, it is a recommended best practice to avoid potential mix-ups and the dangers that would come with it.

Warning/Liquid Identification Label (Metallic Safety Cans)

All Justrite safety cans come equipped with a yellow band wrapping around the side of the can. The yellow banding carries a trilingual warning in English/Spanish/French and leaves space for the user to designate the contents of the can by writing on it. It is a simple yet effective way to avoid mistakes. 

The Parts That Define a Type I Can

Single Spout (All Safety Cans)

The spout is the feature that defines a Type I can. Type I cans are equipped with a single spout that is for both pouring and filling. These are often used for filling containers that have large receiving openings or are used with a funnel for more precise filling and pouring. Their cap has a gasket to ensure a tight seal when not in use.

The Parts That Define a Type II Can

As is the case with the Type I cans, Type II cans are defined by their filling and pouring capabilities. Type II cans have two openings on the top of the can, one for each purpose.

Two Openings (Metallic Type II Safety Cans)

Type II cans have two openings on the same spout, one dedicated to filling and one dedicated to pouring. The filling opening is secured with a spring-loaded cap and is where the pressure release valve is located. The front-facing opening is dedicated to pouring and is equipped with a flexible 9-inch metal hose for easy and accurate pouring. 

The flexible metal nozzle is a safety feature too. It not only helps the user accurately direct their pour but also acts as a bond between containers to control static discharge. For the safe control of static, containers need to be grounded or bonded when dispensing liquids with a flashpoint of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or when heated to or above their flashpoint. Use of ground wires may be necessary.

Type II Safety Cans


Trigger Controlled Pouring with the Safe-Squeeze® Trigger (Metallic Type II Safety Cans)

Justrite's type II AccuFlow™ safety cans come with a unique patented manifold and with the Safe-Squeeze® trigger. Its ergonomic design provides fingertip control to accurately regulate the flammable liquids flow rate. The trigger is located right next to the handle so that you can hold the can and control the pour with the same hand.


Components That Make a Safety Can DOT Approved

In order to meet the performance criteria and certification testing on our Safety Cans by the US DOT, Justrite has designed the following features:

Roll Bars

Roll bars are designed to withstand the higher drop test requirements of the US DOT specifications. They are designed so that the cans can be stacked on top of one another. An added benefit of the roll bars on these safety cans can be used as handles to carry the can with the buddy system.

Hold-Down Bracket

The hold-down bracket ensures that the lid on the safety can stays closed and ensures the can does not leak from being dropped during transit. The clamp is fitted with a fusible link that would release the lid in a fire, allowing the container to vent safely.

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