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The Department of Risk Management and Safety at Auburn University has issued a campus wide advisory regarding storage of flammable liquids in cabinets which are flammable and/or have incompatible shelving or poorly installed shelving clips.

Recently, chemical spills have occurred at a number of universities when shelving in flammable storage cabinets collapsed. In one case, several gallon bottles fell and broke, causing evacuation of the lab and HazMat response. In another case, spilled solvents were ignited, possibly by a spark from a nearby freezer, causing an explosion and fire. Use of incompatible shelving and/or poorly installed shelving clips are thought to have caused these incidents.

To prevent chemical spills and reduce the risk of fire, risk management and safety officials offer the following advice:

* Make sure shelves are level and fit well. There should be no more than 1/8” uniform gap between shelf and cabinet. If shelves don’t fit well, they need to be replaced. One reason for improper fit may be that those shelves were not made for that particular cabinet.

* Check the mechanism for holding the shelves in place.

* Make sure that all clips are present, weight appropriate and firmly secured. Holding the clips with pliers may help when installing the clips.

* If you notice improperly mounted clips, seat them in place. If clips are loose or missing, replace them.

* If your cabinet is near an electric appliance, consider an alternate location.

* If you discover unneeded chemicals, submit them as waste.

For additional information, see here or contact the Department of Risk Management and Safety at 844-4805.