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Flammable chemicals require particular sensitive treatment. They require specialist chemical storage and handling to ensure the safety of employees and stakeholders who enter the workplace. However there is often an air of confusion regarding storage of flammable chemicals and the specialised flammable storage units required for the workplace.

To dispel any confusion and help make choosing a flammable storage unit a less tedious task, we’ve answered the 5 most frequently asked questions regarding flammables storage.

How important is a fire protection time?

If your Flammables Store has at least a one hour fire protection, your flammable chemicals can be shielded from the fire for enough time to evacuate the site and for fire fighters to put additional measures in place to prevent the chemicals from accelerating the fire.

Our flammables storage cabinet has 90 minutes fire resistance; what does that mean?

An internal flammables safety cabinet with 90 minutes fire resistance to EN 14470-1 is designed to prevent highly flammable chemicals from becoming an additional fuel source for an external fire. The flammables storage unit can offer this level of protection for 90 minutes only.

For example, if a fire breaks out in your building, you should have 90 minutes to safely evacuate your building and contact fire services, before the fire can come in to contact with the chemicals inside your flammables storage cabinet.

Does fire protection relate to fires within the storage unit?

No, flammables Stores and cabinets are not intended to contain a fire that starts inside the cabinet or store. Rather they are designed to prevent an external fire from coming into contact with the highly flammable chemicals that are stored inside your storage unit.

We have a bunded flammables storage unit on site, does it need to have a fire rating?

If you are storing your highly flammable chemicals outside in a bunded store, it doesn’t need to have one hour fire protection, unless you are proposing to locate the store in an ‘unsafe location’. An unsafe location includes, adjacent to an occupied building, adjacent to a site boundary, source of ignition etc.

If you can satisfy the minimum separation distances as outlined in the HSE HS(G)51 guideline documents, then your bunded flammables store will not need to provide one hour fire protection. In this case, a standard flameproof steel bunded flammables store will suffice.

How fire resistant should a flammables storage be?

External portable flammables Stores and high quality internal flammables cabinets are designed to be fire resisting for a specific period of time. Typically external flammables stores will offer one hour fire protection and internal flammables cabinets will offer up to 90 minutes fire protection.

Do you have a question about flammables storage? Feel free to contact our expert team or read our previous chemical storage blog posts.