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Safety Cans Technical Information

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Basics of...Safety Cans
Types Of Safety Cans

The handling of hazardous liquids is subject to both safety and health regulations requiring protection for employees who work with flammable, combustible and explosive liquids. Approved safety cans are considered the first line of defense to guard against fire by safely containing these hazardous liquids and liquid soaked materials, while controlling vapor release and by meeting federal, state and local fire codes and complying with federal OSHA regulations.

Compliance and Regulatory Requirements

Approved safety cans are required by OSHA in commercial and industrial operations where flammable liquids are used or stored. Construction, performance, safety and quality standards are established by NFPA Code 30 and OSHA 29 CFR 1910.106 (Flammable & Combustible Liquids Codes) and are evaluated by Factory Mutual Research (FM) Approval Standard 6051 and 6052, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Standard 30 or UL-Canada for approval.

NFPA 30 and OSHA 29 CFR 1910.106 (a)(29) define a safety can as an approved container, of not more than 5 gallons capacity, having a spring-closing lid and spout cover and so designed that it will safely relieve internal pressure when subjected to fire exposure.

OSHA 29 CFR 1926.152 (Construction Standard Code) states “Only approved containers and portable tanks shall be used for storage and handling of flammable and combustible liquids. Approved safety cans shall be used for the handling and use of flammable liquids in quantities greater than one gallon. For quantities of one gallon

or less, only the original container or approved safety cans shall be used for storage, use and handling of flammable liquids.�?

Features and Optional Styles

Safety cans are available in various styles, sizes and construction materials to meet most storage and handling requirements. Type I and II Safety Cans feature leaktight spring-closing lids with gaskets designed to effectively relieve pressure buildup in the can and feature a fixed or free-swinging handle design, warning labels in 3 languages and flame arresters in all spout openings. Safety cans are also available in styles for handling and disposal of flammable liquids in the workplace, such as Oily Waste Cans, Bench Cans and Plunger Cans.


Type I Safety Cans feature one spout that serves for both filling and dispensing. Type II Safety Cans feature two spouts, one for filling, and one with an actuated pour valve with a flexible metal spout for safer controlled dispensing. Type I cans are also available in Lab Cans, Disposal Cans and Faucet Can styles. Oily Waste Cans are for disposal of solvent laden rags and have a self-closing lid to prevent spontaneous combustion. Bench and Plunger Cans are designed to control vapor release and free liquids in cleaning operations.

Safety Can Colors

Safety cans are available in a variety of colors in order to help separate, organize and identify the chemicals inside, as well as to assist first responders in the case of an emergency. OSHA 29 CFR 1910.144 states “Safety cans or other portable containers of flammable liquids having a flash point at or below 80° F, shall be painted red with some additional clearly visible identification either in the form of a yellow band around the can or the name of the contents conspicuously marked on the can in yellow.�? Industry accepted can colors are as follows:

  • Red - Gasoline or other flammable liquids
  • Yellow - Diesel fuel
  • Blue - Kerosene

Construction Materials

Safety cans are available in coated steel (galvanized or terne) with baked-on powder-coat finish for use with gasoline, kerosene, diesel and other flammables, Nonmetallic (HDPE) with stainless steel or coated fittings for use with solvents, fuels and corrosive chemicals and stainless steel with stainless steel fittings for use with alcohols, ethers, toluene and xylene, but not for use with strong acids, hydroxides or other corrosive solvents.

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Laboratory Safety Cans

Meet OSHA Requirements

Laboratory safety cans are used in industrial, scientific and hospital laboratories to reduce the danger of explosions resulting from ignition of vapors of flammable liquids.

Stainless Steel

  • For use with alcohol, acetone, ethers, toluene, xylene and other liquids that do not attack stainless steel
  • Not for use with strong acids, hydroxides or solvents which are known to corrode stainless steel
  • Electrically welded seams
  • Squeeze grip controlled cap for easier pouring
  • PTFE gasket
  • Stainless steel flame arrester

Coated Steel

  • Terne coated steel with baked on red enamel finish
  • Limited use with ordinary flammable liquids

High Density Polyethylene

  • Impact resistant, won’t rust, and are noncorroding
  • Impervious to many liquid chemicals, solvents and corrosives
  • Stainless steel self-closing spring loaded cap which provides tight closure and automatic pressure relief
  • Stainless steel flame arrester
Laboratory Safety Cans
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