Guide for Lab Compliance with NFPA 45

Compressed gas cylinder unsecured or improperly secured.

All compressed gas cylinders must be secured by a chain or strap to a stationary object. The chain/strap needs to be tight so that the cylinder cannot move. They must also not be located directly at the entrance of the lab. The cylinder in the picture below is properly secured.

acceptably secured gas cylinder
unacceptably secured gas cylinder

Container Labeling Issues

The waste container in the picture below is labeled correctly. It has a waste tag attached showing the chemical contents. All chemical containers waste or not, need to be labeled with the chemical contents. Waste containers also need the waste tag attached. If a chemical is transferred into another container, that label needs to be de-faced and the correct contents need to be indicated. The large container without a tag in the picture below is not within compliance.

acceptable container labeling
unacceptable container labeling

Extension cords used as permanent wiring. Power cords connected in series

Extension cords and/or power strips are not designed to be used in place of hard wired electrical circuits. Power strips cannot be used as a continuation or “string” of electrical supply for equipment. Power strips must have overload protection and cannot be greater than 10 feet in length. Also, any equipment that heats or cools must be plugged directly into a wall outlet and not into a power strip.

acceptable use of extension cords
unacceptable use of extension cords

Excessive Storage of Chemicals

There should not be excessive storage of chemicals, especially flammable chemicals. Flammable chemicals should be stored in a flammables cabinet. The picture below is an example of an acceptable flammable storage cabinet for the storage of flammable chemicals.

acceptable storage of chemicals
unacceptable storage of chemicals

Missing Ceiling Tiles and Other Penetrations in Ceiling/Wall

Ceiling tiles are required by fire code to remain in place.

The area walls, ceilings, and floors should not have penetrations in them.

acceptable - ceiling tiles etc are free of penetration
unacceptable - ceiling tiles etc are not free of penetration

Dispensing of Chemicals inside a Building

Chemical dispensing should be limited to small containers as much as practicable.

The dispensing of large volumes of chemicals from drums should be performed out of doors.

acceptable chemical dispensing
unacceptable chemical dispensing

Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers should be mounted to the wall (4 inches) above the floor for quick use if necessary. Equipment, lab supplies, or furniture cannot be placed in front of fire extinguishers.

acceptable fire extinguisher mounting
unacceptable fire extinguisher mounting

Electrical Panels

Building electrical panels cannot be blocked with equipment, lab supplies or furniture.

Electrical panel doors are required by fire code to be kept shut.

Only authorized and qualified personnel should have access to building electrical panels.

acceptable electrical panel
unacceptable electrical panel

Fume hood sash open and left unattended or cluttered

Fume hood sashes should be pulled down as much as possible. Objects within the fume hood should not protrude outward preventing the closing of the fume hood.

Fume hood interior space should not be cluttered with unnecessary items.

acceptable fume hood sash
unacceptable fume hood sash

Doors propped open.

Doors are not allowed by fire code to be propped open. Wedges or other types of equipment should not be used to prop open doors from laboratories.

acceptable - lab door closed
unacceptable - lab door propped open

Clutter/Poor Housekeeping

Labs should be free of clutter. An established walkway should be clear for prompt egress if necessary. Excessive storage of boxes, supplies, and equipment should be kept to a minimum.

acceptable - lab area is clear of obstructions
unacceptable - lab area is cluttered

Signs and Labels on Doors

Labels and signs on doors need to be current and accurate. The NFPA diamond shown below is not used at the University and should not be on doors. Signs that can be used on doors are Laser signs, Radioactive Material Use signs, EHS Lab Safety signs, etc. as long as they are actually accurate for the hazards in the room. The signs shown below are within compliance.

acceptable signs and labels
unacceptable unacceptable signs and labels

Storage in Corridors

Building corridors should be kept clear. Equipment, desks, tables and chairs cannot be placed in building corridors.

The obstruction of a corridor or egress access hallway is not allowed by fire code.

acceptable - corridor is clear
unacceptable - corridor is blocked

Storage of Propane and other Similar Liquefied Flammable Gas

These liquefied flammable gases, e.g., propane should not be stored inside a building other than small cylinders (14.1 or 16 oz.). Fire Prevention Services (FPS) may allow larger propane cylinders to be used inside if their use is limited and they are then moved outside to a permanent storage location.

acceptable storage of propane or flammable gas
unacceptable storage of propane or flammable gas

Additional Items

Sprinkler system heads cannot be blocked by storage within the building in any area.

Storage is required by fire code to be kept (18 inches) below a sprinkler head.

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