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Storing Flammables in the Workplace: Your WHMIS Cheat Sheet

Written by: Rob Hallsworth

Published on: 19 September 2023

Managing flammable products in the workplace in compliance with WHMIS and fire codes is a complex and technically challenging task.

You can quickly identify these products by checking for the WHMIS flammable symbol, a black flame in a red diamond. (See all WHMIS symbols and their meanings.) From there, things get more complicated with many important requirements to follow to ensure safe storage and handling.

Flammables are organized by National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) class due to their properties (boiling point, flash point, etc.) to determine the requirements for safe storage. This affects where and how they must be stored, how much of a product can be stored in a given location, whether or not they can be stored with other products and more.

Note that the rules are workplace-specific: nursing homes have different requirements than a lab or industrial setting, for example.

So how do you determine the class of the flammable product? It’s not on the label, so you’ll need to review the product’s safety data sheet (SDS) to check WHMIS hazard statements and Section 9 for the boiling point and flash point information.

To help make the job easier, we’ve created this cheat sheet for NFPA flammable liquids classifications, which provides an overview of NFPA classification details alongside the related WHMIS hazard statements and other important information:

chart listing NFPA classification, WHMIS hazard statements and other details for flammable liquid safety
Manage flammable products with SDS RiskAssist

SDS RiskAssist software allows you to instantly flag all flammable products in your workplace and sort them by location and hazard statement to quickly identify your flammables by NFPA Class. If you also use SDS RiskAssist for physical inventory tracking, you will be able to sort the flammable class product quantities by location and compare these to the requirements dictated by local fire codes for your workplace.

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SDS RiskAssist an Ontario-based company that uses the power of technology to give employers control and understanding over the otherwise pervasive and worrisome use of chemicals. SDS RiskAssist enables workers to know why chemicals are being used, what their benefits and hazards are and how to use them safely! Workers can access this knowledge via mobile or desktop SafetySnaps™, from anywhere in the world. SDS RiskAssist is the winner for 5 years running, of Readers’ Choice Awards by Canadian Occupational Safety Magazine (2018-2022); the 2019 Innovation Guelph Startup of the Year Award; the 2019 Quinte Business Achievement Award (Trailblazer category) and The Ottawa Network’s 2020 Bootstrap Award (SaaS category). We support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, working with our clients to take action for a sustainable planet.