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Storage of Aerosols

Geoff C

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Hello good people

I`m fishing for expertise here regards storage of aerosols, the type of cans like car spray paints, varnishes and silly string. Have a customer that has a warehouse with approx 10 boxes on the racking shelf, 6 can p/box so 60 cans, my advice when storing aerosols is in a separate fire protected cupboard,   cabinet or very least a mesh cage, away from other combustibles and sources of heat or direct sunlight, my concerns are flammable projectiles as a consequence of being involved in any fire outbreak, apparently, they have had a H&S adviser visit who has told them it`s ok to store on the racking shelves in the open ?? I have requested a storage guide from BAMA but just wondered what your opinions were? What I need to bear in  mind is the amount of personal care products that are displayed on open shelving in the big stores ? From memory, in the Big stores, display has to be kept to no more than 70kg unless accommodation is involved where as it reduces to 15kg? His arguement could be "Well, Sainsburys, Asda etc have loads on the shelf and they`re not in cabinets or cages, and shops like camping shops have crates of gas cannisters on display for sale in public areas ?  


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Im just going to expand on this and explain my reasoning for cupboards/ cabinets/cages,  Section 2 the Health & Safety at Work Act imposes a general duty on employers to ensure, SFAIRP the health, safety and welfare of all their employees. Section 3 of the Act imposes similar duties on employers towards those not employed by them but who may be affected by their activities. DSEAR expands on this and Regulation 6 (1) requires employers to ensure that risks to employees (and others who may be at risk) are eliminated or reduced ALARP and Regulation 6 (3) requires employers to use a combination of control and mitigation measures to ensure the safety of employees and others. I have seen Aerosols reaction when subjucted to fire and I`m not at this point prepared to state that it`s ok to have boxes of Aerosols stored willy nilly in between other combustibles :/ 


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If your concerns are valid, why are not all our shops being destroyed by fire, because most will have aerosols in them, including domestic premises. I agree they should not be stored willy nilly in between other combustibles and a full FRA should be conducted to ensure they are are safe as possible. But if they were a major problem I am sure there would be plenty of guidance for small quantities as there is for large quantities like warehouse used by aerosol manufacturers and there isn't. 

You should conduct a full risk assessment, including sources of ignition, closeness of flammable items, etc then based on your findings produce a your report and let the RP decide what he/she is prepared to accept.








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Thanks for reply Tom, 

appreciated as always, Im not actually doing a RA, someone else has done it and not mentioned the aerosols? I was there on another matter but noticed the aerosols that WERE in a cabinet last time I was there are now on a shelf with class A combustibles either side,  I was informing the customer of his responsibilities under the FSO as in :

Duty to take general fire precautions

8.—(1) The responsible person must—

(a)take such general fire precautions as will ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety of any of his employees; and

(b)in relation to relevant persons who are not his employees, take such general fire precautions as may reasonably be required in the circumstances of the case to ensure that the premises are safe.


Elimination or reduction of risks from dangerous substances

12.—(1) Where a dangerous substance is present in or on the premises, the responsible person must ensure that risk to relevant persons related to the presence of the substance is either eliminated or reduced so far as is reasonably practicable.

I was surprised after a visit from a H&S officer that he was told it would be ok to put back on the shelf ? So what was a safer option that he was already implementing has been disregarded on the say so of H&S chap. Bearing in mind the above video I posted, I wouldnt want to be in a shop on fire or in B.A either with aerosols on the shelf exploding everywhere, I think shop fires are few and far between as they are practically occupied 24/7 and aerosols are single layer, stored upright. Many fires in a shop are spotted in their incipient stages and dealt with. As I`m sure you`re aware, official statistics from the ODPM`s office confirm that Brigade only deal with 20% of fires every year, the remaining 80% are dealt with using first aid equipt, bearing in mind if I was doing the FRA, it becomes a legal document and you can bet your boots if an incident did occur and aerosols exploded spreading the fire or injuring people/f/fighters, they`d be looking for someone to blame. The post was fishing for fellow experienced fire prevention bods opinions. You raise a good point regards regs of storage in aerosol warehouses compared to regs of storage in shops. As for domestic, all we can do is educate, when I`m giving courses I mention safe storage, it`s amazing how many people put their deodorant/hairspray on the window ledge with the Sun beating through the window in the Summer or leave those mini aerosols on the dash board of the car :/ 

Cheers Tom :) Stay well


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