Flammable and Combustible Liquids Storage in General Purpose Warehouses
The storage of flammable and combustible liquids is a severe fire hazard requiring careful loss prevention and control measures. NFPA 30, Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code, published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), provides information on the storage of these liquids in a general purpose warehouse (GPW), which is a separate detached building or portion of a building used only for warehousing-type operations. This checklist can be used to identify storage requirements for these liquids in a GPW.
Flammable liquids, which are liquids that have flash points below 100ºF (37.8ºC) or less and a vapor pressure not exceeding 40 psia (2,068.6 mm Hg) at 100ºF (37.8ºC), are classified as Class 1 and further sub-classified as Class IA, Class IB, and Class IC. Combustible liquids, which are liquids that have flashpoints of 100ºF (37.8ºC) or more, are classified as Class II or Class III, with Class III liquids further classified as Class IIIA and Class IIIB. Class I liquids are the most hazardous from a fire safety standpoint, while Class III liquids are the least hazardous of the classes, with Class IIIB the lowest.
Limited quantities of flammable and combustible liquid products can be stored in GPWs provided the storage area is protected with an automatic sprinkler system that is designed in accordance with NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, and which has a design density meeting the requirements for 20-ft (6-m) high Class IV storage. Alternate sprinkler protection, meeting the requirements of Chapter 16 of the Code, may be also be used.
Separation from Combustibles
Flammable and combustible liquid products should not be stored in the same grouping (i.e., pile) or in the same rack sections as ordinary combustible commodities. Combustible commodities should be separated from flammable and combustible liquid containers by a minimum distance of 8 ft (2.4 m).
- Class IB and IC liquids should be in containers of 1.3 gal (5 L) or less capacity, with a maximum storage quantity of 660 gal (2,498 L) and a maximum storage height of 5 ft (1.5 m).
- Class II liquids should be in containers of 5.3 gal (20 L) or less capacity, with a maximum storage quantity of 1,375 gal (5,204 L) and a maximum storage height of 5 ft (1.5 m).
- Class IIIA liquids should be in containers of 60 gal (230 L) or less capacity, with a maximum storage quantity of 2,750 gal (10,409 L) and a maximum storage height of 10 ft (3.0 m).
- Class IIIB liquids should be in containers of 275 gal (1,040 L) or less capacity, with a maximum storage quantity of 13,750 gal (52,044 L) and a maximum storage height of 15 ft (4.6 m).
Liquids in Plastic Containers
- Class I and Class II liquids in plastic containers cannot be stored in GPWs, unless such storage is restricted to an inside liquid storage area.
- Class I and Class II liquids in plastic containers can be stored in GPWs when the products are packaged in individual containers having not more than 50-percent water-miscible liquids, with the remaining solution not being a Class I liquid.
- Class I and Class II liquids in plastic containers can be stored in GPWs when the products are packaged in individual containers not exceeding 16 oz (0.5 L) and having more than 50-percent water-miscible liquids.
The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. The Hanover Insurance Company and its affiliates and subsidiaries (“The Hanover”) specifically disclaim any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with The Hanover. By providing this information to you, The Hanover does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you. The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.
LC 09-330 H