Small quantities of flammable aerosols should be treated with care and stored in a flameproof cabinet when not in use; the presence of flammable aerosols should be noted in your fire risk assessment along with the control methods. It is still worth considering the issues raised in this document, even if you are handling a small quantity of aerosols, as this may make you alter your storage or handling arrangements.
Where the storage of larger quantities is involved, it may be necessary to consider a Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (DSEAR) Assessment over and above your Fire Risk Assessment. However, this assessment can be incorporated into the Fire Risk Assessment.
So, what constitutes a small number of aerosols, it is challenging to quantify as this is dependent on the type of premises, style of business, fire inception hazards and the presence of other flammable items, certainly if you are storing over 50L of flammable gasses, including aerosols, you should be considering a DSEAR Assessment
These recommendations have been provided to aid the proper storage of aerosol products and reduce the risks of fire inception and fire spread.
The hazard potential of aerosols in storage is a combination of fire and exploding aerosols; therefore, this guide offers industry best practices to protect properties and businesses from fire hazards.
If possible, consider eliminating the risks associated with flammable aerosols by substituting them with a non-flammable alternative or reducing the quantities held.
If this is not practical, consider the following control measures:
Aerosols should be isolated from other stock, preferably in a different building or fire-resisting enclosure.
Where this is not possible, the aerosols should be enclosed entirely within a sturdy steel mesh cage of appropriate size and strength, including self-closing doors to prevent the projection of exploding aerosols. Expanded wire mesh or metal may be used provided the metal is at least 2mm thick, and the mesh size does not exceed 25mm by 25mm.
Aerosols should not be stored in or adjacent to basements or similar sunken areas to prevent the potential accumulation of flammable vapours.
Aerosols should be stored in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated space, free from freezing risk and where the temperature cannot exceed 40 °C.
Smoking, gas and oil heaters, wrapping guns, battery charging and hot work should be prohibited inside and within 6m of buildings where aerosols are stored.
All electrical equipment installed within 1m of the floor level or where there is inadequate provision of ventilation should comply with BS EN 60079-14: 2003 or ATEX approved.
ATEX is the name commonly given to the two European Directives for controlling explosive atmospheres.
Aerosol storage areas should be kept clean and tidy at all times.
Leaking aerosols should be placed in suitable containers so that the contents can be collected and safely treated. Other aerosols should be carefully examined, and if possible, leak tested in a water container so that leaks found can be treated accordingly.
Any damaged aerosols (affected by rust or other causes) should be removed from the storage area to an open space where any vapours can be safely dispersed. Unless the contents of the aerosol can be identified as non-flammable, precautions must be observed.
If you store substantial quantities of aerosols, you should consider a sprinkler system that should protect the premises to limit fire in aerosols. The system should comply with LPC rules for automatic sprinkler installations incorporating BS EN 12845 and Technical Bulletin 216, ‘Sprinkler protection of aerosols’. These guidelines make specific recommendations for alcohol-based and hydrocarbon-based aerosols.
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