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The storage of flammable materials, including liquids, solid substances and gases, is strictly regulated in the UK. The safety of anyone working with flammable materials in any capacity and any indoor workplace such as laboratories, warehouses and process areas is covered by the Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002, known as the DSEAR regulations, which specify how risk can be managed.
Aside from the risk of explosion, flammable liquids, acids, chemicals or gases can carry a fire risk. For this reason, you should seek help from a company such as Strip Curtains Direct. They are experts in the field of safe storage solutions. They can advise on the appropriate regulations and protocols involved in installing and using, for example, highly flammable storage cabinets for chemicals and liquids.
A safe storage solution is only as effective as the person using them, and it is for this reason that proper training in the handling, use and secure storage of flammable materials should be undertaken by all staff and updated regularly in keeping with Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidelines.
It is too easy to let training slide and to overlook minor infringements of handling flammable materials. However, the HSE will come down hard on companies flouting or ignoring safety protocols. In the event of an employee accident, this could prove very damaging and very expensive for a business.
When you follow the correct handling and storage guidelines set out within the safety regulations and utilise the appropriate storage facilities, you will find that this can assist you in achieving maximum operational efficiency for your business. You can do so by simply managing the volume of flammable materials on-site and ensuring you order only what you need. Proper storage will reduce any risk of leakage or spillage, resulting in workplace downtime and delays.
A fire, leakage of any dangerous substance or explosion of any magnitude can cause death, severe injury or illness in personnel within the vicinity. This can lead obviously to staff taking time off sick or being hospitalised. Damage to buildings and the surrounding environment has the potential for expensive downtime due to the loss of facilities and loss of profit for the company.
In the past, there have been too many serious explosions or leakages of harmful substances into the environment. These have led to the loss of jobs, industries and, unfortunately, lives, following which companies have not recovered. Thus following HSE guidelines saves lives and company reputations.
The first step to better managing flammable substances is undertaking a risk assessment in line with the DSEAR regulations. The Fire Safety Advice Centre also offers valuable advice on the safe handling and storing of flammable substances.
All employees involved in the handling, usage, dispensing or transporting of flammable substances should be given a copy of the Chemical Safety Data Sheet and read it thoroughly to understand the hazards of chemicals and what to do in an emergency. This should in no way replace a risk assessment but should be in addition.
Managers should ensure all employees are regularly aware of emergency procedures and protocols around the usage and storage of hazardous substances, particularly concerning their safe storage.
Advice should be sought on the appropriate storage methods and cabinets for each type of flammable material and the risks posed by them. Everything possible should be done to minimise the dangers posed by combustible materials.