Safety Policies

SY08 Storage, Dispensing and use of Flammable Liquids on University Property

Policy Status: 

Active

Policy Steward: 

Assistant Vice-President for Police and Public Safety / Director of Environmental Health and Safety

Contents:

PURPOSE:

This policy prescribes general procedures concerning the storage, dispensing and use of flammable and combustible liquids. This policy is not all inclusive; therefore, prudent judgement must be employed for those specific applications not otherwise identified in this policy. Additional information may be obtained from Environmental Health and Safety at 814-865-6391.

APPLICATION:

This policy applies to the storage, dispensing and use of flammable and combustible liquids at all locations of The Pennsylvania State University (except the Hershey Medical Center and the College of Medicine).

REFERENCES:

NFPA 30, Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code - National Fire Protection Association.

The International Fire Code as Adopted by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

The International Building Code as Adopted by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor.

29 CFR 1910 OSHA General Industry Regulations- 1910.106 Flammable and Combustible Liquids.

NFPA 45, Fire Protection for Laboratories Using Chemicals - National Fire Protection Association.

DEFINITIONS:

A. Approved -
Approved or listed by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.
B. Business Occupancy -
Includes, among others, the use of a building or structure, or a portion thereof, for office, professional or service-type transactions, including storage of records and accounts. Business occupancies shall include educational occupancies for students above the 12th grade.
C. Control Area -
Spaces within a building where quantities of hazardous materials not exceeding the maximum allowable quantities per control area are stored, dispensed, used or handled.
D. Flash Point -
The temperature at which a liquid gives off vapor sufficient to form an ignitable mixture with the air near the surface of the liquid or within the vessel used as determined by appropriate test procedure.
E. Fire Area -
An area of a building separated from the remainder of the building by construction having a fire resistance of at least 1 hour and having all communicating openings properly protected by an assembly having a fire resistance rating of at least 1 hour.
F. Liquids -
When not otherwise identified, includes both flammable and combustible liquids.

  1. Combustible Liquids

    Any liquid having a flash point at or above 100°F. Combustible liquids shall be divided into classes of liquids as follows:

    1. Class II shall include those having flash points at or above 100°F and below 140°F.
    2. Class IIIA shall include those having flash points at or above 140°F and below 200°F.
    3. Class IIIB shall include those having flash points at or above 200°F.
  2. Flammable Liquids

    Any liquid having a flash point below 100°F. Flammable Liquids shall be divided into classes of liquids as follows:

    1. Class IA shall include those having flash points below 73°F and having a boiling point below 100°F.
    2. Class IB shall include those having flash points below 73°F and having a boiling point at or above 100°F.
    3. Class IC shall include those having flash points at or above 73°F and below 100°F.

FLAMMABLE AND COMBUSTIBLE LIQUID CLASSIFICATION

FLAMMABLE AND COMBUSTIBLE LIQUID CLASSIFICATION
Class IA, IB, and IC are classified as Flammable liquids
Class II, IIIA, and IIIB are classified as Combustible liquids
CLASS FLASHPOINT BOILING POINT
IA Below 73 Below 100
IB Below 73 At or above 100
IC At or above 73, below 100 NA
II At or above 100, below 140 NA
IIIA At or above 140, below 200 NA
IIIB At or above 200 NA

NOTE: The volatility of liquids is increased when artificially heated to temperatures equal to or higher than their flash points. When so heated, Class II and Class III liquids shall be subject to the applicable requirements for Class I or II liquids.

G. Safety Can -
An approved container of not more than five gallons capacity, having a spring-closing lid and spout cover and so designed that it will safely relieve internal pressure when subjected to fire exposure.

STORAGE OF FLAMMABLE AND COMBUSTIBLE LIQUIDS:

A. Containers.

  1. Only approved containers shall be used.
  2. Containers for flammable and combustible liquids shall conform to Table I, below.

B. Storage Cabinets.

  1. Not more than 120 gallons of Class I, Class II, and Class III Liquids may be stored in an approved storage cabinet. Of this total, not more than 60 gallons may be Class I or Class II Liquids. When approved, no more than three such cabinets may be located in a single fire area.
  2. All approved cabinets shall be labeled in conspicuous lettering, "FLAMMABLE - KEEP FIRE AWAY."

C. Storage in inside storage rooms.

  1. In every inside storage room there shall be maintained one clear aisle at least three feet wide. Containers over 30 gallons capacity of Class I and Class II Liquids shall not be stacked one upon the other. Dispensing shall be by approved pump or self-closing faucet only.

D. Storage inside buildings.

  1. Egress: Flammable or combustible liquids shall not be stored so as to limit use of exits, stairways or areas normally used for the safe egress of people.
  2. Containers: The storage of flammable or combustible liquids in containers shall comply with Table I.
  3. Maximum Allowable Quantities: Quantities must comply with Table 2703.1.1(1) "Maximum Allowable Quantity Per Control Area Of Hazardous Materials Posing A Physical Hazard". This table can be accessed by referring to the International Fire Code, latest adopted Edition.

FIRE CONTROL:

Suitable fire control devices, such as 1-1/2" diameter hose or portable fire extinguisher, shall be available at locations where flammable or combustible liquids are stored.

  1. At least one portable fire extinguisher having an Underwriters' Laboratories Classification rating of not less than 20-B units shall be located outside of, but not more than 10 feet from, the door opening into any room used for storage.
  2. At least one portable fire extinguisher having an Underwriters' Laboratories Classification rating of not less than 20-B units shall be located not less than 10 feet, nor more than 50 feet, from any flammable liquid storage area located outside of a storage room but inside of a building.
  3. Open flames and smoking shall not be permitted in flammable or combustible liquid storage areas.

TABLE I: Basic Principles for Storage, Dispensing and Use of Flammable and Combustible Liquids

  1. Limit the quantities at any one location to those necessary, but not to exceed the limits specified in the table referenced in Section D.3 of this policy.
  2. Prohibit smoking and eliminate other possible sources of ignition wherever liquids are stored or used.
  3. Prevent accumulation of vapors by careful handling and by providing adequate ventilation.
  4. Use only approved containers, e.g. safety cans or metal drums, for all transportation and handling.
  5. Avoid sparks from static charges generated by pouring; connect dispensing and receiving containers (if metal) by a suitable electrical conductor.
  6. Label every container used for flammable liquids with the name of the material and its associated hazards.
  7. Individual container size shall comply with the chart below.

MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE SIZE OF FLAMMABLE AND COMBUSTIBLE LIQUID CONTAINERS

Maximum Allowable Size of FlammableLiquid Containers
CONTAINER CLASS IA CLASS IB CLASS IC
Glass 1 pint (a) 1 quart (a) 1 gallon
Metal (other than DOT drums) or approved plastic 1 gallon 5 gallons (b) 5 gallons (b)
Safety cans 2 gallons 5 gallons (b) 5 gallons (b)
Metal drum (DOT Spec.) in lab areas Not allowed 5 gallons (b) 5 gallons (b)
Metal drum (DOT Spec.) 60 gallons 60 gallons 60 gallons

 

Maximum Allowable Size of Combustible Liquid Containers
CONTAINER CLASS II CLASS III
Glass 1 gallon 5 gallons
Metal (other than DOT drums) or approved plastic 5 gallons (b) 5 gallons
Safety cans 5 gallons (b) 5 gallons
Metal drum (DOT Spec.) in lab areas 60 gallons (b) 60 gallons
Metal drum (DOT Spec.) 60 gallons 60 gallons

 

(a) Glass containers of not more than one-gallon capacity are acceptable if the required purity would be affected by storage in metal or if excessive corrosion would result from storage in metal.

(b) In instructional laboratory work areas, no container for Class I or II liquids shall exceed a capacity of one-gallon, other than safety cans which may be of two-gallon capacity.

FURTHER INFORMATION:

For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Director of Environmental Health and Safety.

CROSS REFERENCES:

Other Policies should also be referenced, especially the following:

SY39 - Hazardous Chemical Inventory Management

SY43 - Laboratory and Research Safety Plan

Effective Date: March 16, 2017 
Date Approved: March 16, 2017 
Date Published: March 16, 2017

Most Recent Changes:

  • March 16, 2017 - Upon review, the policy content is still accurate as documented.

Revision History (and effective dates):

  • June 20, 2014 - Title updated for clarity; Policy updated to reflect revised definitions, content and references.
  • February 27, 2014 - Editorial changes. Addition of policy steward information, in the event that there are questions or requests for changes to the policy.
  • June 19, 2006 - Editorial changes; classification tables placed in "table" format for improved readability.
  • April 15, 1993 - Updates to Table I
  • May 29, 1987 - Updates to "Storage in Inside Buildings" Section.
  • March 22, 1976 - Earliest version of policy found in working papers. Cannot confirm if it was the original version.