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GHS, Flammable Liquids or Gases and FIRE PREVENTION WEEK in North America!

In the fire service this year the SOLID RED LINE TEAMS are putting a lot of effort and good training time into getting folks to check smoke detectors that are more than 10 years old and escape routes out of homes and business.  But what about a little GHS knowledge!

The same folks that just checked the smoke detector and fresh batteries are now coming to your place of business where YES you might have FLAMMABLE PRODUCTS stored under GHS so what do you know about those products and risks during FIRE PREVENTION WEEK? Flammable and combustible liquids have the potential to harm employees in the workplace, typically due to the fire hazard they pose. Because of this, Occupational Safety and Health Legislation maintains general requirements for the handling, storage, and use of liquids with a flash point below 200°F (“flammable liquids”) in containers, portable tanks, and tank systems.

Flammables were considered the more dangerous liquids under the pre-GHS standard. These liquids have lower flash points, meaning that they ignite more easily. Flammable liquids were defined as any liquid with a flash point below 100°F and were considered to be “Class 1 liquids.” A flammable could be Class 1A, 1B, or 1C, with 1A being the most dangerous.

GHS, the Class 1, 2, and 3 distinctions no longer exist. “Flammable liquids” are now divided into four “categories.” Despite the change, OH&S goal remains the same: to reserve the most stringent regulations for the most dangerous liquids. In fact, many of the old classes have approximately the same cut-off levels for flash point and boiling point as the new categories.

Below are the four categories of flammable liquids (with their approximate “old class” as comparison):

o   Category 1 liquids have flash points below 73.4°F (23°C) and boiling points at or below 95°F (35°C).

o   Category 2 liquids have flashpoints below 73.4°F (23°C) and boiling points above 95°F (35°C).

o   Category 3 liquids have flashpoints at or above 73.4°F (23°C) and at or below 140°F (60°C). When Category 3 liquids with flash points at or above 100°F (37.8°C) are heated for use to within 30°F (16.7°C) of their flash point, they must be handled in accordance with the requirements for a Category 3 liquid with a flashpoint below 100°F (37.8°C).

o   Category 4 liquids have flash points above 140°F (60°C) and at or below 199.4°F (93°C). When Category 4 flammable liquids are heated for use to within 30°F (16.7°C) of their flash points, they must be handled in accordance with the requirements for a Category 3 liquid with a flashpoint at or above 100°F (37.8°C).

o   In addition, the new rules specify that when a liquid with a flash point greater than 199.4°F (93°C) is heated for use to within 30°F (16.7°C) of its flash point, it must be handled in accordance with the requirements for a Category 4 flammable liquid.