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What Is NFPA 30 Compliant Storage?


National Fire Protection 30 is the industry standard for the handling and storing of flammable and combustible liquids. While this standard is not enforceable under the NFPA, OSHA references and cites NFPA 30 in establishing its hazardous materials regulations. Manufacturers should reference NFPA 30 when handling and storing dangerous chemicals in conjunction with OSHA regulations. NFPA 30 includes a system of classifying and categorizing flammable liquids based on their physical properties and propensities to cause harm and environmental contamination.

What Are Flammable Liquids?

Flammable and Combustible Liquid Storage

Although all hazardous materials can be destructive or toxic in small quantities, special consideration is given to the volatility of flammable liquids. OSHA defines a flammable liquid as any substances that has a low a flash point and requires compartmentalized storage away from incompatible materials. Gasoline, paint thinner, ethanol, and other common lubricants, degreasers, and fuels are considered flammable liquids. OSHA divides  flammable liquids into four categories. Below is the NFPA 30 classification list for flammable and combustible liquids:

  • Class I Liquids: Flammable liquids that have a flash point below 100°F (37.8°C). They are further divided into three categories based on their volatility:
    • Class IA: Liquids with a flash point below 73°F (22.8°C) and a boiling point below 100°F (37.8°C).
    • Class IB: Liquids with a flash point below 73°F (22.8°C) and a boiling point at or above 100°F (37.8°C).
    • Class IC: Liquids with a flash point at or above 73°F (22.8°C) and below 100°F (37.8°C).
  • Class II Liquids: Combustible liquids with a flash point at or above 100°F (37.8°C) and below 140°F (60°C). They are also divided into three categories based on their flash points.
  • Class IIIA Liquids: Combustible liquids with a flash point at or above 140°F (60°C) and below 200°F (93.4°C).
  • Class IIIB Liquids: Combustible liquids with a flash point at or above 200°F (93.4°C).

What Are Some Common Examples of Flammable Liquids?

While the complete list of flammable and combustible liquids is extensive, we’ve included some of the more common industrial chemicals requiring compliant protection:

  • Gasoline
  • Diethyl Ether
  • Gasoline
  • Acetone
  • Toluene
  • Kerosene
  • Diesel
  • Benzene
  • Methanol
  • Hydraulic fluids
  • Oil
  • Turpentine

What’s The Maximum Storage Limit for Flammable Liquids?

IBC totes

Any flammable stockpile fewer than 25 gallons is above the purview with OSHA – you don’t need separate compartmentalized storage. But the requirements differ with larger volumes of flammable liquids. Any chemical stockpile greater than 25 gallons needs to be stored in an approved warehouse or container. OSHA requires that no more than 60 gallons of flammable materials with a flashpoint at or below 140 can be stored in an approved hazmat warehouse. Furthermore, OSHA requires no more than 120 gallons of combustibles with a flashpoint at or above 140 degrees can be stored in a single hazmat warehouse.

While OSHA provides general guidelines for flammable liquids storage, NFPA 30 establishes additional protocols for each classification subdivision. NFPA 30 stipulates the maximum quantity of flammable liquids in a single fire area should not exceed 25 gallons of Class IA liquids in approved containers. Additionally, NFPA 30 warns against storing more 120 gallons of Class IB, Class IC, Class II, or Class III liquids in containers. Finally, the NFPA caps any combination of Class IB, IC, or IIIA liquids in metal tanks or metal IBC containers – each not exceeding 793 gallons – at 1,585 total liquid gallons.

NFPA 30 Chapter 9.5

While the NFPA 30 safety requirements can be encumbering to daily operations, strict adherence to these standards is critical. NFPA 30 also outlines chemical storage cabinet guidelines, stipulating all Category I, II, or III flammable liquids should be kept in closed containers when not in use.

Storage Safety Cabinet Design 

Storage cabinets designed and constructed to limit the internal temperature at the center of the cabinet and 1 in. (25 mm) from the top of the cabinet to not more than 325°F (163°C), when subjected to a 10-minute fire test that simulates the fire exposure of the standard time–temperature curve specified in ASTM E 119, Standard Test Methods for Fire Tests of Building Construction and Materials, shall be acceptable. Source: NFPA 30 9.5.

Hazmat Tote Storage
Hazmat Tote Storage

Although NFPA 30 Chapter 9.5 allows for the construction of wooden storage cabinets, we highly recommend a steel chemical storage locker or warehouse. NFPA 30 Section 9.5 for metal safety cabinets requires the “bottom, top, door, and sides of the (storage) cabinet shall be at least No. 18 gauge sheet steel and shall be double-walled.” Moreover, OSHA has stipulations for material strength. Per governmental regulation, all chemical storage lockers should be made up 18 gauge steel sheet protection from top to bottom. Furthermore, all hazmat lockers should have a three-latch door arrangement. All joints should also be riveted, welded, or made tight. Furthermore, the NFPA also says the door sill of the container should be raised at least two inches above the bottom of the cabinet to retain spilled liquid inside the storage locker.

Chemical Storage Locker Warning Signs

NFPA 30 also makes special mention of proper signage to alert workers of hazardous materials nearby. Each chemical storage cabinet or warehouse should display “FLAMMABLE” and “KEEP FIRE AWAY” signage and markings. The letter height for “FLAMMABLE” should be two inches while the minimum letter height for “KEEP FIRE AWAY” should be one inch. Furthermore, all letters should be uppercase and in contrasting color to the background. Additionally, the lettering should be placed on the upper part of the locker’s front doors or frame.


Although Section 9.5 of NFPA 30 doesn’t require ventilation, the standard provides regulations for either scenario: ventilated and non-ventilated storage. If a storage cabinet is not ventilated, the storage locker’s vent openings must be sealed with the bungs supplied with the cabinet. However, ventilated cabinets should be “ducted directly to a safe location outdoors or to a treatment device designed to control volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and ignitable vapors.”

NFPA 30 Compliant Chemical Storage

While the scope of NFPA 30 standards can be difficult to comprehend, U.S. Hazmat Storage can guide compliant storage protection.  Our fire-rated chemical storage lockers meet all NFPA 30 and OSHA standards and regulations. Unlike wooden cabinets, our chemical storage lockers provide optional mechanical ventilation, preventing the toxic buildup of vapors. Moreover, optional fire suppression and explosion relief panels give your stockpiles an additional level of protection. U.S. Hazmat Storage offers fire-rated chemical protection for various sized stockpiles. We can ensure continuous chemical storage protection for steel drums and larger IBC tote systems. Wide-swinging doors and pushed-back shelving allows for the easy retrieval and storage of hazardous chemicals by forklift. Contact us today for a free quote and consultation.