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A Few Tips on Proper Handling of Flammable Substances and Liquids

What Exactly Are Flammable Substances?

Flammable substances or liquids are used in many homes and workplaces.

At the workplace, you must keep flammable liquids or combustible substances in the lowest practical quantity.

Flammable liquids include petrol, ethanol, methylated spirit, paint thinners, kerosene, acetone and diesel.
Flammable substances include both full and empty gas cylinders.
Combustible substances include dust, fibres, fumes, mists or vapours produced by the substance like heating oil, engine oil and vegetable oil as well as timber products, plastics and dry grasses.
If you use your common sense in handling these dangerous substances, you can prevent yourself from accidental injuries and decrease the possibility of your house or workplace bursting up in flames.

The most important rule to remember is do not smoke or light any kind of flame near these substances, especially when using them indoors. This is because smoke will cause the vapors to ignite and start a fire without any warning.

If possible, keep flammable substances away from heat sources like heaters and stoves. Also make sure that any food leftovers are disposed of properly so that they do not come into contact with combustible materials such as paper towels or rags that may have absorbed some of its residue while being cleaned off with water or soap before drying off completely afterwards before disposal by placing them in plastic bags inside trash bins outside where they won’t be exposed to heat sources either until taken away for recycling purposes at recycling centers nearby if available then later on picked up by waste collectors.

Risks from flammable or combustible substances

Flammable and combustible substances are a common cause of fires. The most common way to avoid the risks is to store these substances in a well-ventilated area.

Even very small quantities of flammable liquid vapours may ignite and cause serious injury and damage, especially when the vapours accumulate in poorly ventilated rooms or closed containers, they may explode.

Importantly, changes in temperature and pressure can affect the properties of flammable or combustible substances.

One litre of flammable liquid – when fully evaporated – may produce 5,000 litres of an explosive vapour / air mix, enough to fill a small store room or garage.

Controlling The Risks

One of the very first tasks that needs to be completed is the preparation of material safety data register. In order to comply with WHS Act and Regs, it is recommended to follow the guidelines outlined in the Code of Practice – Preparation of safety data sheets for hazardous chemicals.
Carefully reading the manufacturer’s manual on safe storage and use of these substances is the first step in ensuring your safety. You should also practice good housekeeping habits in flammable storage areas.
Appropriate safety signs Code of Practice – Labelling of Workplace Hardous Chemicals should also be placed near storage places where they are kept to warn people that a dangerous substance is nearby.

Follow guidelines in the Code of Practice – Managing risks of hazardous chemicals in the workplace

Also Read >>>Fire Protection For Hazardous And Dangerous Goods Storage<<<

It is important to clean up spills immediately and place the cleanup rags in a closed and secured metal container. This will keep the oxygen away from the rags and reduce potential fires. If these rags are exposed to air, it can produce heat that can spontaneously ignite. Use only approved metal safety containers. Keep these containers closed and placed in protected storage areas away from passageways.

Do not depend on your smelling ability to tell you that a container is vapor free. Some dangerous liquids do not give off vapors that can be detected through smell. It is important to use flammable liquids if there is plenty of ventilation. Be careful of letting this substance touch or get on your clothing. It will definitely cause skin irritation and might possible ignite your clothing. Wash it off immediately or change it as soon as you can. Keep the used clothes in a safe bin to avoid starting a fire with it.

Bond and ground all bulk containers during dispensing operations. These materials can be ignited with just a minimal static spark so be very careful. A conductive connection is required between a receiving container, the dispensing container and the ground pipe. When drawing out a flammable substance from a bulk tank into a portable container, there must be a solid connection between the tank and the container. The use of a self-closing valve will limit spills.

If possible, control all ignition sources. These increase the chances of starting a fire. Follow manufacturer’s suggestions for their proper use to ensure safety. Enforce safety signs such as a no smoking sign around these flammable liquids. Sparking tools are also fire starters so keep them far away.

Acquiring knowledge on fire safety concerning flammable liquids is crucial because these substances are necessary in our everyday lives. Although it may present danger of fire and explosion, generally this may be prevented by eliminating fire hazards and following strict observance of safe storage, dispensing and handling procedures.

For additional information on storage and handling of flammable liquids and substances, you can visit SafeWork NSW or contact Complete Fire and Pumps and we will be happy to assist.

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