February 1, 2022
Flammable and Combustible Liquid Safety
Flammable and combustible liquids may be present in your workplace. If these liquids aren’t handled and stored properly, they can create a dangerous work environment, even causing fires and explosions that could result in potential injuries or fatalities. Therefore, it’s critical for all employees to understand flammable and combustible liquid safety measures.
A flammable liquid is any liquid with a flashpoint at or below 100 degrees Fahrenheit. These liquids include gasoline, acetone and alcohol. Combustible liquids are those with a flashpoint over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. These liquids include diesel, motor oil and kerosene. It’s important to know that it’s not the flammable or combustible liquids themselves that burn, but rather their associated vapors. This means that even a recently emptied gasoline barrel is still at risk of ignition and needs to be handled appropriately.
Follow these safety precautions to ensure the safe handling of flammable and combustible liquids in the workplace:
- Consult a liquid’s safety data sheet to learn safe handling measures before working with it.
- Avoid using Class I flammable liquids near open flames or ignition sources. Flammable liquids with low flashpoints will ignite easier.
- Refrain from smoking within 25 feet of areas where flammable or combustible liquids are handled or stored.
- Avoid using sparking equipment, welding or bringing any ignition source within 25 feet of flammable or combustible liquids.
- Maintain adequate ventilation, and avoid working with flammable or combustible liquids in confined spaces, as their vapors will accumulate.
- Ensure that containers used to store liquids are in good condition, properly labeled and fully closed.
- Get another employee’s help during liquid transfers. Be sure this employee is trained to stop the transfer in the event of a spill.
- Make sure at least one fire extinguisher is within 10 feet of any combustible or flammable liquids.
If you have any questions regarding the safe handling of flammable and combustible liquids, please contact your supervisor.
Preventing Sprains and Strains
Sprains and strains are some of the most common workplace injuries across all industries. Sprains occur when one or more ligaments are stretched or torn, while strains take place when a tendon is stretched or torn. Fortunately, these injuries can often be prevented by following proper safety protocols.
There are many work-related risk factors that can contribute to sprains and strains, such as:
- Using excessive force to complete a task
- Engaging in repetitive motions with a cycle time of 30 seconds or less
- Holding an awkward posture that places extra force on the joints, muscles and tendons
Knowing the risk factors of sprains and strains can help you recognize when a task may put you at risk for these injuries. You can prevent sprains and strains by practicing these tips:
- Stretch. Tight muscles are more susceptible to sprains and strains, so stretching will help loosen them up.
- Review the task. Take a moment to size up a task before starting. Always know the safest way to handle each task. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if necessary.
- Walk carefully. Always wear proper footwear and take extra care when walking across uneven surfaces where you could easily sprain an ankle.
- Practice good housekeeping. Keeping your workplace clear of clutter can help prevent potential hazards and subsequent injuries.
- Follow protocols. By following safety protocols in all areas of the workplace regarding safe lifting, ergonomics, machine usage and body mechanics, you can minimize your likelihood of sprains and strains.
Consult your supervisor for more information on sprain and strain prevention in the workplace.