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K-State Today

April 3, 2014

Do you know how to safely store flammables in your laboratory?

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

Now that spring break is over it is a good time to brush up on the safety policies around campus. Storing flammables in buildings poses a special problem for occupants and users alike. The environmental health and safety department is encouraging laboratory staff to be aware of the guidelines regarding the hazardous materials they work with every day.  

Kansas State University has regulations put into place by the International Fire Code, or IFC, to prevent laboratory fires. These guidelines are dependent on several key points:

  • Construction of the laboratory;
  • Number of fire control zones in the building;
  • Floor level where the laboratory is located;
  • Whether the building has a fire protection system, or fire sprinkler; and
  • Storage of flammable liquids in flammable liquid storage cabinets or safety cans.

The location of the laboratory is key when dictating the amount of flammable and combustible materials being stored on location. Laboratories located on the first floor allow 100 percent of the acceptable quantity of flammable chemicals in the laboratory. The amount allowed in upper levels and basements is less than the first floor.

When storing chemicals or flammable material, all containers must be labeled with contents and hazard warning information, including all laboratory containers, manufacturers containers and safety containers. If the container is waste, it must be labeled as "hazardous waste."

Buildings with flammable storage cabinets and sprinkler systems allow more hazardous materials in the laboratory. If the entire building has a fire sprinkler system the amount of flammable or combustibles may be increased.

These are a few of the guidelines in the Laboratory Safety — Guidelines for Storage of Flammables policy.

For more information please contact the environmental health and safety department at 785-532-5856.

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