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How to Store Flammable Liquids Safely

Health and safety are significant concerns in any workspace – but perhaps even more so when that workspace deals with flammable liquids. Small quantities of flammable liquids can be found within most workplaces, and some industries require large amounts for various reasons. Either way, it is essential to know how to store these liquids securely for the safety of all employees and any possible visitors.

Proper employee training, regulated safety protocols and approved flammable storage containers are vital in a practical approach.

What do you need to know?

There are many regulations that businesses must follow to ensure dangerous substances are correctly handled and stored. Following them helps protect your people and your company from legal and financial risk.

The HSE has issued specific guidelines that all fall under the main Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulation 2002 (DSEAR).

What does DSEAR require?

Employers must carry out an adequate risk assessment (under DSEAR Regulation 5) to determine what dangerous substances are in their workplace and what risks they have.

They must also:

  • Put control measures in place to either remove or control those risks
  • Prepare plans and procedures to deal with accidents, incidents and emergencies
  • Make sure employees are adequately informed about and trained to control or deal with the risks
  • Identify and classify workplace areas where explosive atmospheres may occur and avoid ignition sources in those areas.

Key Point: A guiding principle states that only the minimum amount of flammable liquids required for use during half a work day, or one shift, should be present in the workroom/working area.

Improving operational efficiency

By storing flammable liquids correctly, you can maximise your organisation’s operational efficiency. This is because when you organise dangerous substances for storage, you can see how much you have and how much you use, which prevents excess ordering.

Protecting your workforce

Crucially, when all the dangerous substances in the working area are correctly handled and stored, all your staff feel assured that they work in a safe place. If flammable liquids are not stored right, they can lead to damaging fires and explosions that can have catastrophic consequences, including severe illness and death.

Following the legal guidance on safe storage dramatically reduces these risks, which leads to an overall happier and more efficient workforce.

How can I store flammable liquids safely?

Flammable Liquid Cabinet

The business owner is responsible for ensuring that all flammable liquids are stored correctly and safely to prevent workplace accidents from misusing these products.

Using a high-quality and secure flammable liquids cabinet will also help to ensure that your employees and any members of the general public who may be on site are kept safe from the hazardous liquids contained within them.

The Flammable Liquids Cabinets from First Mats have all been designed to comply with these regulations, helping you to keep your business on the right side of the law.

How do I know which Flammable Liquids Cabinet is best for my Workplace?

There are several aspects to consider when choosing the best flammable liquids cabinet for your needs. First, you need to understand your needs in terms of size. You will need to find a big enough cabinet to hold all the flammable liquids you may have on-site. Failure to do this may result in issues if inspected by the HSE or if an accident occurs.

Next, you must consider weight and transportation. Larger cabinets can be cumbersome, and you may need to consider if and how you would move the cabinet if required.

Key Point: There is an HSE guiding principle that states, ‘one flammable liquid cabinet must hold no more than 50 litres for extremely, highly flammable and those flammable liquids with a flashpoint below the maximum ambient temperature of the workroom/working area; and no more than 250 litres for other flammable liquids with a higher flashpoint of up to 55°C’.

Read more about storing Flammable Liquids in our comprehensive Hazardous Storage Guide.

What should happen if there’s a flammable liquid spill?

Any flammable liquid spills must be cleaned up immediately, and great care must be taken to prevent the liquid from coming into contact with any ignition sources, incompatible chemicals or combustible materials (timber or paper).

It is also essential to ensure that these hazardous substances do not run into drains or pipes as they harm the environment and wildlife. Legal penalties for pollution of this type can be severe. To avoid these problems, keep a spill kit containing a non-combustible absorbent such as vermiculite on hand to clean up quickly.

We hope you have found this guide on the safe storage of flammable liquids to be of use.

You can browse our range of Flammable Liquids Cabinets here. Please do not hesitate to contact our friendly team if you have any questions about our range of Industrial Storage Cabinets or other products.


Richard O'Connor's Headshot

Richard O'Connor is a Director at First Mats. He has deep knowledge in areas like Manufacturing, Warehousing, Marine, and Health & Safety. Richard's insights have been featured in well-known publications such as Bloomberg Business, The Sun, and Reader's Digest. His blend of industry expertise and passion for sharing makes him a sought-after voice in his fields.

Contact Richard