Safety Aspects of Storage Buildings of Chemical Substances Chemical companies dealing with hazardous, chemical substances must ensure the safe storage of these chemicals to safeguard the safety and health of the workers, including that of the environment and the public. Chemical storage buildings are built to store flammable liquids, chemicals and hazardous waste safely and securely, which feature a leak-tight sump area at the bottom to prevent leakage and contamination on the surrounding storage area. Basically, chemical storage buildings are customized to accommodate any type of container, according to the volume capacity of chemicals that are normally stored. Chemical companies are required by law to store all Class 1 flammable and combustible liquids in drums in an outside location in a chemical storage building to safely secure from leakage and contamination. Class 1 flammable and combustible liquids are categorized into: Class 1A – those liquids that have flash points below 22.8 degrees Centigrade and boiling points below 37.8 degrees Centigrade; and Class 1B – those liquids that have flash points below 22.8 degrees Centigrade and boiling points at or above 37.8 degrees Centigrade.
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The strict regulations for chemical storage buildings are based on a system of inspection and accredited from Factory Mutual System Approval and the FB Approved fire rated wall and roof design, that’s why almost all chemical storage buildings are fire-rated designed and approved. Therefore, fire-rated storage buildings are constructed following these criteria: standard buildings must pass the 2-hour and 4-hour fire ratings upgrade, walls must pass the 2-hour and 4-hour fire ratings upgrade, and roofs must pass the 1.5-hour and 3-hour fire ratings upgrade and all these fire ratings upgrade mean the time duration in which a structure can withstand the damage of fire. The standard structure of fire-rated buildings must come with hydraulic operated self-closing, fire-rated doors and fire damper protected vents.
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The kind of material used for constructing a chemical storage building is galvanized steel; however, the gauges used will depend on the storage capacity, such as a 16 gauge galvanized steel is used or a 12 drum capacity, while larger buildings are constructed of a 12 gauge galvanized steel. Heavy gauge steel with leak tight seams is the standard material for the sump, which refers to the bottom part of the storage building which functions as reservoir, and the sump interior is coated with corrosion resistant material, a high-density polyethylene liner. The standard capacity of the sump must be at least 25% of the liquid storage capacity of the building; therefore, if the building is designed to store four 55-gallon drums, the sump can only contain 55 gallons. Storing chemicals must be safely ensured from the changing climate conditions, such that if you are storing a liquid that may freeze and, in the process, the chemicals may expand and cause its container to burst, an explosion proof heater must be used during the cold seasons; and, in the same manner, if you’re storing a liquid that has a low flash point and the weather conditions allow for a high internal air temperature, an explosion proof air conditioning unit must be installed.