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Classifying Flammable Liquids GHS

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Have you ever seen several full tanker trailers parked without their mode of transport under them or a railcar with the Class 3 Flammable placard hooked up to the process and being used as a storage tank? Although OSHA’s 1910.106 makes no specific prohibition against this practice, I would like to point out that the International Fire Code (IFC) of which many states in the USA have adopted as their state fire code does make a SPECIFIC PROHIBITION of using railcars or tank trucks as “storage tanks”.

Description of Incident: 

An operator was checking the level in a 500 gallon methanol storage tank:

  • Tank was polyethylene plastic, double wall
  • A worker climbed on top of the tank.
  • Flammable vapour was ignited, when the worker touched the cap on the inner tank, resulting in an explosion and flash fire. 
  • The worker received first aid for a second degree burn to the arm. 

A little background on what this table is telling us:

NFPA 77 classifies flammable liquids as Conductive, Semi-Conductive, and Non-Conductive:

Conductive Liquids = >10,000 pS/m

Semi-Conductive Liquids = >100<10,000 pS/m

Non-Conductive Liquids = <100 pS/m

In the tables below, 1 conductivity unit (C.U.) = 1 picosiemen per meter (pS/m)

This video is a bit slanted for a lawsuit, but the video footage does demonstrate the significant impact a simple flame arrestor makes in flammable liquids safety!  I need to state that a gas container in and of itself is NOT a hazard, but the fuel inside the gas container is a HAZARD.  Although I would NEVER recommend the use of these plastic containers for fuel, to state the container itself is the hazard and the fuel inside is somehow not hazardous is just plain STUPIDITY and lawyer talk for a lawsuit.  But the video does have merit in showing the hazards of ANY gas container that is NOT equipped with a flame arrestor.

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