OSHA Handbook for Small Businesses

Flammable and Combustible Materials

Flammable and Combustible Materials

  • Are combustible scrap, debris, and waste materials (oily rags, etc.) stored in covered metal receptacles and removed from the worksite promptly?
  • Is proper storage practiced to minimize the risk of fire including spontaneous combustion?
  • Are approved containers and tanks used for the storage and handling of flammable and combustible liquids?
  • Are all connections on drums and combustible liquid piping, vapor and liquid tight?
  • Are all flammable liquids kept in closed containers when not in use (e.g., parts cleaning tanks, pans, etc.)?
  • Are bulk drums of flammable liquids grounded and bonded to containers during dispensing?
  • Do storage rooms for flammable and combustible liquids have explosion-proof lights?
  • Do storage rooms for flammable and combustible liquids have mechanical or gravity ventilation?
  • Is liquefied petroleum gas stored, handled, and used in accordance with safe practices and standards?
  • Are "NO SMOKING" signs posted on liquified petroleum gas tanks?
  • Are liquified petroleum storage tanks guarded to prevent damage from vehicles?
  • Are all solvent wastes, and flammable liquids kept in fire-resistant, covered containers until they are removed from the worksite?
  • Is vacuuming used whenever possible rather than blowing or sweeping combustible dust?
  • Are firm separators placed between containers of combustibles or flammables, when stacked one upon another, to assure their support and stability?
  • Are fuel gas cylinders and oxygen cylinders separated by distance, and fire-resistant barriers, while in storage?
  • Are fire extinguishers selected and provided for the types of materials in areas where they are to be used?

    Class A Ordinary combustible material fires.

    Class B Flammable liquid, gas or grease fires.

    Class C Energized-electrical equipment fires.
  • Are appropriate fire extinguishers mounted within 75 feet (2286 meters) of outside areas containing flammable liquids, and within 10 feet (3.048 meters) of any inside storage area for such materials?
  • Are extinguishers free from obstructions or blockage?
  • Are all extinguishers serviced, maintained and tagged at intervals not to exceed 1 year?
  • Are all extinguishers fully charged and in their designated places?
  • Where sprinkler systems are permanently installed, are the nozzle heads so directed or arranged that water will not be sprayed into operating electrical switch boards and equipment?
  • Are "NO SMOKING" signs posted where appropriate in areas where flammable or combustible materials are used or stored?
  • Are safety cans used for dispensing flammable or combustible liquids at a point of use?
  • Are all spills of flammable or combustible liquids cleaned up promptly?
  • Are storage tanks adequately vented to prevent the development of excessive vacuum or pressure as a result of filling, emptying, or atmosphere temperature changes?
  • Are storage tanks equipped with emergency venting that will relieve excessive internal pressure caused by fire exposure?
  • Are "NO SMOKING" rules enforced in areas involving storage and use of hazardous materials?