Policy

Flammable and Combustible Liquids: Storage and Handling - Policy

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1.  Purpose and Objectives

This policy outlines the minimum mandatory requirements for the safe storage and handling of flammable and combustible liquids.

2.  Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

AS - Australian Standards

AS/NZS - Australian/New Zealand Standards

3.  Policy Scope/Coverage

This policy applies to all staff and students who use and/or store flammable and combustible liquids in any area of the University.

4.  Policy Statement

The storage and use of flammable and combustible liquids in all areas of the University is governed by the Dangerous Goods Safety Management Act and Regulations (Qld) 2001 which requires licensing with the local government (in the case of St Lucia, Herston and Pinjarra Hills, this is the Brisbane City Council). These regulations require compliance with Australian Standard AS 1940-2004 Storage and handling of flammable and combustible liquids. This standard sets out the storage requirements for minor quantities and storage in cabinets, package stores and tanks. There are additional regulations and standards that apply to specific activities or areas (AS 2243 Laboratory safety).

5. Classifications of Flammable and Combustible Liquids  

The classes of liquid covered by the Building (Flammable and Combustible Liquids) Regulations and this policy are principally defined in terms of their flash point with some exceptions being provided for potable and viscous liquids. The "flash point" of a liquid is the lowest temperature of the liquid at which the vapour above it can be ignited by an ignition source.

Liquids covered by this policy must be handled in accordance with PPL 2.30.03b Flammable and Combustible Liquids: Storage and Handling Procedures.

5.1 Flammable liquids

Packaging group I and II
liquids with a flash point <23°C. (e.g. acetone, diethyl ether, ethanol, ethyl acetate, petrol, toluene)
 

Packaging group III
liquids with a flash point ≥23°C and ≤61°C. (e.g. n-butanol, kerosene, mineral turpentine, xylene)
 

5.2 Combustible liquids

Class C1
liquids with a flash point >61°C and ≤150°C. (e.g. distillate, ethylene glycol)

Class C2
liquids with a flash point >150°C. (e.g. cooking oil, glycerol, lubricating and hydraulic oils) entitlement. 

 

Custodians
Director, Occupational Health and Safety
Mr Jim Carmichael

Procedures

Flammable and Combustible Liquids: Storage and Handling - Procedures

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1. Purpose and Objectives

These procedures enact PPL 2.70.06a Flammable and Combustible Liquids - Storage and Handling - Policy .

The procedures outline the steps that must be taken by staff and students for the safe storage and handling of flammable and combustible liquids.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

AS - Australian Standards

AS/NZS - Australian/New Zealand Standards

FCL - Flammable and Combustible Liquids

SDS - Safety Data Sheet

3. Procedures Scope/Coverage

The procedures for the storage and handling of flammable and combustible liquids apply to all University staff and students who use and/or store flammable and combustible liquids in any area of the University.

4. Procedures Statement

Staff and students who are responsible for the storage and/or handling of flammable and combustible liquids must follow the procedures outlined in Sections 6-11, which cover the risk assessment, storage, safe usage and disposal of flammable and combustible liquids. This procedure is to be read in conjunction with other related sections in PPL 2.70 Occupational Hygiene and Chemical Safety.

5.Flammable Liquids - Requirements and Guidelines

The obligations for safe FCL storage and handling falls under the WHS Regulation, administered and enforced by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland. The following guidelines should be adhered to when storing flammable and combustible liquids.

  • Flammable vapours and spilt liquids must be prevented from escaping to any other levels of the building.
  • Concentrated storage of liquids in any one area should be avoided to reduce the fire load and the potential of fires spreading.
  • The storage area must be adequately ventilated.
  • The build-up of flammable vapours should be avoided.
  • Flammable liquid quantities must be kept to a minimum.
  • Any special storage facilities or equipment required for safe storage and handling should be well maintained.

These guidelines can be met by using flammable storage cabinets, ordering in solvents from the chemical store as needed to reduce on site volumes and storing and using FCL in well ventilated work areas designed for this purpose.

6. Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and Labels

Before using a flammable liquid, a worker or student must obtain a copy of the SDS. A risk assessment must be undertaken based on a review of the SDS and the intended use of the chemical. The control measures indicated by the risk assessment must be followed.

All containers of flammable and combustible liquids must be labelled in accordance with the globally harmonised system for chemical labelling.

7. Flammable and Combustible Liquids - Permissible Quantity

Minor quantities of flammable and combustible liquids can be stored on open shelves or work benches. However, as storage in an enclosed space may provide a high level of protection in the event of fire, it is recommended that the quantities stored in the open be kept to a minimum.

The following minor quantities limits are provided for guidance within The University of Queensland:

    Offices: 5 Litres per floor or level
    Laboratories: 10 Litres per 50m2 floor area
    Workshops: 100 Litres

Where the quantities stored exceed the minor quantities limits, flammable and combustible liquids must be stored in an approved flammable liquids cabinet. Faculties, Institutes, Sections and Centres requiring a flammable liquids cabinet must contact the OHS Division for assistance.

At UQ the maximum quantity that can be stored in a single flammable liquids cabinet is 100 litres. Within a radius of 10m (measured from any one cabinet), the cabinet storage capacity aggregated for all cabinets in that radius must not exceed 250L or 250kg (AS/NZ 2243.10). The radius is measured horizontally through intervening walls, unless those walls are able to prevent the spread of a fire of a magnitude that could result from the contents of the cabinet(s) catching fire.

Where organisational units use significant volumes of flammable liquids, a purpose-built 500L store may be required see Section 5 of AS/NZS 2243.10. Alternatively, arrangements can be made with the Chemstore to provide more frequent deliveries of smaller quantities of class 3 substances.

8. Flammable Substances and Hazard Zones

The use of flammable liquids, gases or dusts have the potential to create an explosive working environment. Where the creation of a flammable atmosphere is expected, the need for hazard zone assessment needs to be risk assessed in accordance with AS/NZS 60079.10.1;2009 and AS/NZS 60079.10.2:2011 – Explosive atmospheres – Classification of areas (gas and dust). The extent of zoning can be affected by the type and quantity of flammable substances (including the by-products of processes e.g. methane) as well as the choice of controls and their implementation e.g. ventilation, housekeeping and chemical storage.

For further information on hazard zones, including the assessment of hazard zones in your areas, contact the OHS Division.

9. Safe Working Procedures for Minor Storage Quantities

Where flammable liquids are kept on benches or shelves or in cabinets in quantities less than the limits set for minor storage, the Australian Standard AS 1940-2004 requires the following minimum safe working procedures:

  • Flammable and combustible liquids must be stored away from ignition sources (e.g. flames, electrical equipment, grinding and cutting operations) and excessively hot locations;
  • All containers must be kept closed when not in use (including containers for waste liquids);
  • When carrying containers of flammable and combustible liquids, care must be taken to minimise the possibility of spills and fire. Properly designed carriers must be used for 'Winchester' sized containers (2 to 4 litres);
  • Any action to open or decant from a container of flammable liquid must be carried out in a well ventilated area and sufficiently distant from any potential ignition source to ensure safety, having due regard for the quantity being handled;
  • Combustible wastes or residues must not be kept or left in areas where flammable or combustible liquids are stored or decanted and should be disposed of promptly;
  • Materials that interact dangerously with flammable and combustible liquids must be store separately from them, for example oxidising agents;
  • All people handling flammable and combustible liquids must be familiar with their hazardous properties and the necessary safety procedures for handling them;
  • Any spillage must be cleaned up immediately, if safe to do so;
  • The quantity of flammable and combustible liquids must be kept to a minimum. In particular, the number and size of containers kept on open benches or shelves must be kept as low as possible, taking account of day-to-day requirements;
  • Special safety cans for flammable liquids can be purchased for areas where there is a high level of use;
  • Flammable and combustible liquids must not be stored or used where they can jeopardise escape from a room or building in the event of a fire; and
  • Where the quantities of flammable liquids stored are greater than 100 litres, a fire extinguisher appropriate to class B fires must be provided (dry chemical or carbon dioxide).

10. Procedures for Larger Quantities

Where flammable and combustible liquids are used in larger quantities (i.e. quantities greater than minor quantities) the procedures outlined above must be followed together with the additional requirements set out in Australian Standard AS 1940-2004 for the quantities being used.

11. Waste Flammable and Combustible Liquids

Waste flammable and combustible liquids are subject to the same requirements set out above - in particular the need to store 10L and 20L plastic drums within a flammable liquids cabinet. Refer to The University of Queensland chemical waste procedure for further information at:

http://www.uq.edu.au/sustainability/docs/policiesprocedures/pro_ChmWste.pdf

12. Contacts for Further Information

Occupational Hygiene Advisors:

OHS@uq.edu.au

University of Queensland Chemicals Store:

https://chemstore.science.uq.edu.au/LoginStore.aspx

telephone extension 51418, 52345, or 52528;

e-mail at chemwaste@Chemistry.uq.edu.au

Custodians
Director, Occupational Health and Safety
Mr Jim Carmichael
Custodians
Director, Occupational Health and Safety
Mr Jim Carmichael