Flammable Safety Cabinets

What are Flammable Safety Cabinets?

Any company that uses or stores flammable and hazardous chemicals in approved safety storage cabinets decreases their risk of devastating chemical fires. Approved safety cabinets pass a standard 10-minute fire test. The internal temperature remains below 163degC despite the heat of the fire.

Safety cabinets also help companies to organize their chemicals. Storing incompatible materials in separate cabinets keeps them from mixing and reduces the risk of unwanted reactions.

Flammable safety cabinets also keep companies compliant with regulators such as OSHA, EN 14470 and SANS 54470. Fines could be issued for non-compliance. Investigators highlight chemical storage practices that fail to meet regulatory standards. An injury at a cosmetics company in Pennsylvania resulted in an OSHA inspection. The investigation revealed many problems with flammable chemical management. Fines accumulated to $285,300 for all the violations noted by the OSHA investigation team.

Applicable Regulatory Standards

Flammable substances create one of the biggest potential dangers amongst all hazardous substances. If you want to store a larger quantity than required for that day directly at the workplace, you need a special flammable storage cabinet.

The U.S. construction and design requirements for flammable storage cabinets are defined in:

  • NFPA Code 30,
  • NFPA 1 Fire Code and
  • various OSHA regulations (OSHA Flammable Liquids and OSHA Safety and Health Regulations for Construction).

In addition, independent testing facilities such as FM Global (FM) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) have established procedures to test the effectiveness of a flammable liquid storage cabinet.

In the US, cabinets should be approved according to FM 6050 and/or UL 1275 standard. The National Fire Code of Canada shall conform to ULC/ORD-C1275. 

EN 14470-1 is the European Standard giving performance requirements for safety storage cabinets to be used for the storage of flammable liquids.

According to FM and UL/ULC standards, sheet steel cabinets are considered acceptable if they protect the stored materials for about 10 minutes in case of fire. Whereas flammable storage cabinets complying with the European Standard EN 14470-1 protect volatile contents for 30- to 90-minutes (depending on model) under fire conditions. This gives significantly more time to evacuate and enter the building for fire-fighting measures. Increasing the evacuation time can save lives and protect investments.


What is SANS 54470-1?

Based on EN 14470 but permits usage of 10 adn 15 min cabinets as well. If a cabinet complies to EN14470 then it will comply to SANS54470 

  • Fire resistance: The fire resistance capability of the cabinet shall be investigated by a type test. This test is performed by heating the cabinet in a furnace according to the temperature-time curve described in EN 1363-1 and measuring the temperature increase inside the cabinet. The cabinet shall then be classified as type 10, 15, 30, 60 or 90, according to the time for which the interior does not rise by more than 180 °C, at any point of measurement, from stating temperature of (20 ± 5) °C
  • Fire protection: In the case of a fire, the cabinet shall assure that, for at least 10 min, the contents of the cabinet do not contribute any additional risks or spread of fire.
  • Doors
    – The doors of the cabinet shall close and seal according to the type classification.
    – Self-closing doors shall close and seal within 20 s from the time the self-closing device is activated.
    – If a hold-open feature is included, the doors shall close fully in the event of a maximum
    temperature of (65 ± 20) °C. The temperature release mechanism for this shall be positioned so that it can heat up rapidly.
    – It shall be possible to operate each door with one-hand.
    – Locking devices shall not compromise the complete closure performance required in
  • Side and back walls: The side and back walls of the cabinet shall be of the same thickness and comparable construction.
  • Ventilation
    – Cabinets may be equipped with ventilation for inlet and exhaust air. In a cabinet in which the ventilation is taking place, with the doors closed, air exchange at the rate of at least 10 times the volumetric capacity of the cabinet per hour shall take place with air pressure drop not exceeding 150 Pa.
    – The ventilation shall be equipped with flame arrestors or shall close automatically when
    subjected to a temperature of (70 ± 10) °C.
  • Shelves
    – The shelves and their fastenings shall be of non-absorbent material and shall carry the load specified in the product information to be supplied (see clause 8) without any damaging distortion at the testing temperature according to clause 7.
    – The shelves shall not hinder the complete closure of the doors.
  • Spill containment sump
     -A spill containment sump shall be installed underneath the lowest storage level. The sump shall be designed such that liquids spilled from higher shelves are collected in the sump.
    – The sump shall have a minimum depth of 50 mm or a minimum capacity of 10 % of the
    specified storage capacity of the cabinet. All spillages or condensation up to this volume shall be retained.

Information Required to Quote on a Flammable Safety Cabinet?

  1. What size do you require?
  2. Do you need to comply with SANS 54470-1?
  3. Do you require 10, 30, 60 or 90 minute fire resistance?
  4. Do you require an extraction system?

Further Reading


SYSBEL Presentation Safety Storage Presentation SANS 54470-1 Storing Compatibility Brochure: Lab Companion Brochure: Sysbel