Hazardous Waste Class 3: Flammable Liquids
The chemistry of many widely used liquids makes them dangerous to handle. This guide to combustible hazards ensures your workers stay safe. Consider these points before storing or transporting a liquid you suspect is flammable.
- Class 3 Basics: Released vapor is the true danger of flammable liquids. Highly volatile liquids, those that are quick to vaporize in various conditions, present the greatest potential danger. Similarly, liquids with a low boiling point can vaporize readily in low-pressure surroundings. If these volatile liquids can catch fire at certain temperature (known as the liquid’s flashpoint), they are labeled as Class 3 Hazardous Waste by the US Department of Transportation.
- Flammable Liquids Overview: Flammable liquids are separated into subcategories by their makeup and flashpoint. Class 3 “Flammable” liquids are those with a flashpoint above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Examples of Class 3 “Flammable” substances include acetaldehyde, petroleum ether, and ethyl chloride. Class 3 “Combustible” liquids are those with a flashpoint above 100 degree and below 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Acetone, benzene, and methyl alcohol are all examples of Class 3 “Combustible” liquids. The DOT’s Class 3 placard system also has special placards to designate gasoline and fuel oils.
- Safe Handling Strategies: The US Department of Transportation offers a long list of requirements for Class 3 substance storage. For example, industries are prohibited from storing more than five gallons of “Flammable” substance in metal containers. Likewise, “Combustible” liquids are restricted to a maximum of five gallons per container. When poring and handling these liquids, containers must be bonded and grounded. This precaution prevents static electric shocks from igniting fumes. Businesses disposing of Class 3 materials should work with a professional team to stay compliant with DOT regulations.