Should you be Storing Your Chemicals in a Flammable Cabinet?
By Barb Garrison, M.S., CHMM, CET
Probably not, but it depends on the flashpoint of the chemicals you use and how much you have. Per the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), you are allowed to store up to 25 gallons of a Class IA liquid or 120 gallons of a Class IB, IC, II or III liquid outside a flammable cabinet. Because it's highly unlikely you will have 120 gallons of flammable/combustible liquids at your facility at any one time, let's focus on the Class IA materials you may have onsite.
A Class IA liquid has a flashpoint below 73F AND a boiling point below 100F. You can determine whether the chemicals you use in your funeral home meet this definition by referring to the Physical Properties or Fire Fighting Measures section of each of the chemicals' Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).
For example, I checked a J.T. Baker MSDS for a formaldehyde/formalin product that contains 37% formaldehyde. It has a flashpoint of 140F which is clearly above 73F, so I don't need to check the boiling point and no special storage is required for this product. I also checked a Dodge Chemical Company MSDS for Humeglo and it has a flashpoint of 61-63C or 142-145F. Again, no special storage requirements. By comparison, an MSDS for gasoline indicated the flashpoint is -45F. Now THIS would meet the definition of a Class IA liquid!
So, although it's unlikely you'd need a flammable storage cabinet for your embalming chemicals, you might check to see what other potentially flammable materials you have onsite and check the products' MSDSs.
If you have any questions about the information in this article or any other health, safety or environmental issue, please contact me at email@example.com or by phone, toll-free, at 866-723-3987.