Flammable substances

Flammable liquids or combustible substances must be kept in the lowest practical quantity at the workplace.

Flammable liquids include petrol, ethanol, methylated spirit, paint thinners, kerosene, acetone and diesel.

Flammable substances includes both full and empty gas cylinders.

Combustible substances include dust, fibres, fumes, mists or vapours produced by the substance, like heating oil, engine oil and vegetable oil, as well as timber products, plastics and dry grasses.

Risks from flammable or combustible substances

Even very small quantities of flammable liquid vapours may ignite and cause serious injury and damage, especially when the vapours accumulate in poorly ventilated rooms or closed containers, they may explode.

Importantly, changes in temperature and pressure can affect the properties of flammable or combustible substances.

One litre of flammable liquid – when fully evaporated – may produce 5,000 litres of an explosive vapour / air mix, enough to fill a small store room or garage.

Codes and guidance

The following codes of practice provide further information on flammable and combustible substances:

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