General Guidelines when working with Flammables

Potential Hazards

  • Chemicals defined as “Flammable” have a flash point of <100°F (<37.8°C)
  • Vapor from flammable chemicals can be ignited and lead to fire or explosion
  • Some flammable chemicals are also considered toxic or health hazards
  • Combustible chemicals (flash point >100°F / 37.8°C) are also considered fire hazards

Examples of flammable chemicals:

acetone, acetonitrile, chloroform, dichloromethane, diethyl ether, ethanol, ethyl acetate, hexane, isopropanol, methanol, pentane, tetrahydrofuran, toluene

Hazard Controls

Use This Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

If using >500mL of flammable chemicals or the chemical is also toxic / health hazard

  • A standard knee-length lab coat
  • Chemical splash goggles
  • Closed-toe shoes
  • Long pants
  • T-Shirt
  • Nitrile Gloves

Use these Engineering Controls

Work with flammable chemicals should be performed in a ventilated fume hood if at all possible.

Work with flammable chemicals MUST be done in a ventilated fume hood if:

  • The volume you are working with is greater than 500mL
  • The flammable chemical is irritating to the eyes or respiratory system
  • The flammable chemical is also Toxic or a Health Hazard

Work Practice

Know the location of the nearest fire extinguisher, eye-wash fountain and deluge shower Keep all flames and sources of electical spark away from work area (e.g., stirring hotplates) Close containers of flammable chemicals when not in use

Storage & Transportation

  • Store containers of flammable chemicals in a flammables cabinet or explosion-proof refrigerator
  • Never store flammable chemicals near oxidizers
  • Never use a standard refrigerator or freezer to store flammable material
  • Transport flammable chemical bottles in secondary containment

Printer-Friendly Version