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Russell Urquhart

Russell Urquhart, general manager of G3Lab, looks at how the European Standard EN 14470-1 compares to those governing storage cabinets in Australia and how Australian consultants are using a riskbased alternative approach to the storage of hazardous products in laboratories and other facilities.

I

n the Australian lab design code AS2982, it is

recommended that no more than 30 L of class 3 flammable solvent be stored in a single underbench safety cabinet. The lab safety standard AS2243.10 recommends a minimum of 3 m between any class 3 safety cabinet and escape doors, and 10 m separation between aggregate dangerous goods of 250 L or more. The Australian flammables goods standard AS1940 recommends a maximum of 250 L of flammable goods in safety cabinets per 250 m2 in multilevel buildings. What do these regulations all have in common? They refer to double skin metal cabinets manufactured according to AS1940, which require no formal testing of fire resistance properties. For this reason, managers of labs and other large facilities are increasingly turning to dangerous goods consultants to investigate a riskbased method of flammable storage to challenge these restraints and raise the level of safety in Australian labs. Often the specified solution is a central fire-rated store with integrated spill containment, ventilation, explosion-proof lighting, access control, etc — in effect a ‘concrete bunker’, which can be very expensive and creates a lot of inefficiencies for users. Fortunately, this issue has been addressed well in other parts of the world, resulting in the development and regulation of cabinets with a guaranteed fire rating, such as those manufactured to EN14470 by asecos in Germany.

The advantages of a 90-minute fire-rated safety storage cabinet Once a cabinet with a proven fire rating is considered, the consultant can look more objectively at the

Improving efficiency and safety in Australian labs

flammable goods workflow and often increase the

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