What regulations apply to hazmat storage?
Most employers take hazardous substances seriously. They make sure their employees are trained to handle and dispose of them properly and safely. However, they're often less aware of important regulations concerning the storage of these materials (learn more in 7 Things to Know About Storing Hazardous Materials).
Who regulates HAZMAT storage? While most of us would correctly assume that this falls under OSHA, the answer is not as straightforward as it seems. There are many other organizations with the authority to regulate and enforce the storage of hazardous materials.
Here are the most important federal regulations governing the storage of hazardous materials.
OSHA regulates, among other things, the following:
- Storage and handling of flammable liquids (29 CFR 1910.106)
- Storage of compressed gases (29 CFR 1910.101), describing the storage and securing of compressed gases cylinders – pamphlets C-6 1968 and C-8 1962 of the Compressed Gas Association are included in this standard
- Various other standards pertaining strictly to the storage and handling of certain hazardous substances: liquefied hydrogen (1910.103), bulk oxygen (1910.104)
- Materials handling regulation (29 CFR 1910.176) is generic for all materials (including non-HAZMAT), so the rules for keeping aisles and passageways clear, stacking, and securing detailed in this regulation are applicable to HAZMAT storage, too
- Code 30, Uniform Fire Code (UFC) Articles 79 and 80 describe the requirements for outdoor storage of combustible and flammable chemicals
- NFPA 251-1969 - Standard Methods of Fire Tests of Building Construction and Materials details the minimum criteria for fire safety storage cabinets
International Fire Code (IFC)
- Section 307: High Hazard Group H
- Section 414: Hazardous Materials
- Section 415: Groups H1-H5
- Table 508.4: Required Separation of Occupancies
- Table 602: Fire Resistance Rating Requirements for Exterior Walls based on fire separation distance
- Chapter 9: Fire Protection Systems
International Building Code (IBC)
- Chapter 50: Hazardous Materials – General Provisions
- Chapters 51 to 67: Code sections for specific types of hazardous materials, ranging from aerosols and compressed gases to cryogenic fluids and liquefied petroleum gases
Building Officials and Code Administrator (BOCA) Codes
BOCA Codes provide guidance regarding the storage of hazardous chemicals inside buildings, but have no legal enforcement power unless adopted by cities, states, or other government bodies
Although you might expect the EPA to have extensive regulations for storing hazardous materials, but there are only a few:
- Sections 311-312 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) requires businesses to submit an inventory of the hazardous substances stored in the workplace and their SDS to their corresponding State Emergency Response Commission and Local Emergency Planning Committee by annually (by the first day of March)
- Secondary Containment Requirements (40 CFR 264) specifies that storage facilities should have a sump containment to store 10% of all products stored in the storage building or 100% of the largest container (whichever is greater)
- Container and Containment Regulations, 40 CFR Part 165, regulates, among others, the storage of pesticides
27 CFR, Part 555, Subpart K of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives regulates the storage of explosives.
Besides the federal regulations, some states have developed their own regulations for (some) HAZMAT storage. For example, Maine, North Carolina, Washington, and New Hampshire have issued their own pesticide storage regulations, while Kentucky has regulations for underground storage tanks.
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