Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What materials are stored in flammable safety cabinets?

Within hospital and health care facilities there are several different types of chemicals, typically liquids, that have to be stored in flammable safety cabinets. These liquids have been determined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as well as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). These two oversight organizations have categorized various compounds and liquids into different categories based on their chemical composition and reactivity to various other agents and chemicals. In general, liquids that are classified as class l, ll or lll must be, by law, kept in flammable safety cabinets. This regulation does not just apply to hospitals, any health care facility including private doctor's offices, clinics or nursing homes and hospices must also follow all the guidelines if they have any of these listed liquids or chemicals on the property or in the facility. What safety features do flammable safety cabinets have that make them so essential in preventing fires? The whole design of flammable safety cabinets is to provide protection from fire should an accidental spill, leak or combination of fire causing liquids or compounds occur. Typically all flammable safety cabinets will have at least a two inch leak proof area all along the bottom of the cabinet, including the door space, preventing any potentially flammable material from escaping out of the cabinet. This provides protection in the event of an accidental spill or a leak within the cabinet itself. Additional protection includes the use of specialized types of vents on the top of flammable safety cabinets. Typically these vents are capped, so there is no direct access or exit of materials from inside or outside of the cabinet through the vets. The capped vents are also equipped with flash arrestors. Flash arrestors are specialized devices that actually extinguish any flame or flash that may occur within the cabinet or as the vented gases from a spill or leak come into contact with the air, usually the oxygen in the air. This prevents the fire from exiting the cabinet or from creating a flashback into the cabinet with the released gas combines with the outside air. All flammable safety cabinets have shelving units that are designed to hold specific amounts of weight, typically up to 500 pounds per shelf. This heavy duty shelving provides protection from shelf breakage or damage that may contribute to liquids or chemicals coming into contact with each other in the cabinet. What are flammable safety cabinets made of? The best quality of flammable safety cabinets are made according to the OSHA and NFPA standards and have at least 18 gauge steel construction. They are also welded together, ensuring the strongest possible joins and door areas. In addition the flammable safety cabinets are double walled, with at least one and half inches of air space between the walls. This acts as an insulator plus it allows the flammable safety cabinets to withstand heat and pressure while keeping the contents safe.

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