Chemical safety 101: flammable liquids
Did you know? Flammable liquids are required to be stored in approved glass, plastic or metal containers.
Here’s why: “Flammable liquids (such as fuels, solvents and cleaning products) can ignite with explosive force, causing extensive property damage and/or injury, disability or death to anyone nearby,” warns the Texas Department of Insurance.
If you’ll be handling flammable liquids at work, the department says to follow these tips:
- Don’t completely fill a container; instead, fill it to 80% capacity. “If the container is labeled as one gallon, only put a maximum of one gallon of liquid into it, even if the true capacity of the container may be 1.3 gallons. Leaving a vapor space in the can will allow the liquid to expand when the temperature changes. An explosion could result if the container is completely full.”
- When transporting a flammable liquid, place the container in the bed of a pickup truck or the trunk of a car – never in the passenger compartment.
- Store flammable liquid cans in a fireproof cabinet or storage locker when not in use.
- Never smoke within 50 feet of a flammable liquid. “Vapors, which are invisible, can travel away from the container and ignite.”
If a fire does break out, grab the nearest fire extinguisher, aim the nozzle directly at the base of the fire and begin spraying.