In 2011 someone wrote to OSHA and specifically asked for clarification on the use of the words "or" and "nor" in the paragraph Design, Construction, and Capacity of Storage Cabinets-Maximum Capacity, 1910.106(d)(3)(i), which states:

"Not more than 60 gallons of Class I or Class II liquids, nor more than 120 gallons of Class III liquids may be stored in a storage cabinet."

This language is an adaptation of similar language in section 4210 of the 1969 edition of the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) Standard 30, Flammable and Combustible Liquids (source standard for 29 CFR 1910.106), which states:

"Not more than 60 gallons of flammable or 120 gallons of combustible liquids may be stored in a storage cabinet."

The requestor correctly pointed out that the use of "or" and "nor" above is ambiguous and that users might interpret these requirements differently. They listed multiple possible interpretations in their letter, including, but not limited to:

  • storage cabinets used to store Class I or Class II liquids, but not both;
  • storage cabinets used to store 60 gallons of flammable liquids or 120 gallons of combustible liquids, but no combination of flammable and combustible liquids; and
  • storage cabinets used to store 60 gallons of Class I and Class II liquids and 120 gallons of combustible liquids, for a total volume of 180 gallons.

OSHA NEVER intended to

  1. prohibit intermingling flammable and combustible liquids in a storage cabinet, OR 
  2. to allow more than 120 gallons of any flammable and combustible liquids combination in a storage cabinet

NFPA 30 - 1981 Section 4-3.1 states:

"Not more than 120 gal (454.2L) of Class I, Class II, and Class IIIA liquids may be stored in a storage cabinet. Of this total, not more than 60 gal (227.1L) may be of Class I and Class II liquids..."

OSHA finds this language represents the intent of 29 CFR 1910.106(d)(3)(i) clearly and unambiguously.

 

NOTE:  OSHA no longer uses the Class I, II, III designation for their flammable liquids.  So in today's regulatory language the above reads:

Not more than 60 gallons of Category 1, 2, or 3 flammable liquids, nor more than 120 gallons of Category 4 flammable liquids may be stored in a storage cabinet.

 

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