Date: Wed, 10 Nov 2010 11:47:58 -0500
Reply-To: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
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From: ILPI <info**At_Symbol_Here**ILPI.COM>
Subject: Re: flammable cabinet question
In-Reply-To: <C3E98B533BBA314490DC0D1C18E02317095A5703**At_Symbol_Here**pb01msx.wgipb.local>

Well, here's a great example of an issue where folks have been looking at it from two different sides....and Don's latest post nails the point we've all been circling around.

Don and I are both thinking of cabinets that have self-closing mechanisms that can be latched open.   These kinds of mechanisms have a fusible link that melt in the event of fire.  I will dig up some literature for the Eagle cabinets that my company sells and make it available to the list when I get it.  It's my understanding that many, if not most, of the other major manufacturers also have this feature.

It is obvious from the impassioned replies to my comment about a "trivial annoyance" that there are many on the list who have cabinets lack the stay-open/fusible link feature (or are unaware their cabinets have this feature).  I was not aware of cabinets that lacked this feature, although I would imagine that those which rely on spring-loaded hinges rather than piston-style closers would be very difficult to engineer with a stay open mechanism and/or fusible link.

The solution for those who have lamented the accident-enabling guillotine action of their self-closing doors is to retrofit them with the self-closing mechanisms that Don and I have described.   Self-closing adapter kits run in the ballpark of $75 for small single door cabinets and $185 for larger ones; I will have some pictures of these kits available on our web site later today.

Further, it is clear that NFPA 1 and the state codes that mandate self-closing should require those have stay-open/fusible link closers, as this type addresses both the concerns of the fire department (ensuring flammables are contained) and the workers (accidents caused by auto-closing doors).   Common sense and middle ground really can be addressed in regulations, but only after robust discussions like this one.

It's great to see this list fulfilling its mandate of raising awareness, generating thoughtful discussion, and coming up with solutions to safety issues!

Rob Toreki

Safety Emporium - Lab & Safety Supplies featuring brand names
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On Nov 10, 2010, at 10:25 AM, Long, Don wrote:

I see the point trying to be brought up. There are some rules and procedures out there that while addressing one problem end up causing another one. I deal with those issues myself on an almost daily basis.
The point I was wanting to make is that it is not up to us to decide to ignore or work around a standard or legal requirement to do something because we may not agree with it. It appears that this person's local jurisdiction has adopted at least part of NFPA 1 (Uniform Fire Code) which when discussing Hazardous Materials Storage Cabinets states in part: "doors shall be well fitted, self-closing, and equipped with a self-latching device". Some states have adopted the UFC statewide while others have had only local jurisdictions adopt it. This isn't a simple rule or procedural issue - this is a legal compliance issue.
The bottom line on this issue is that if it's mandated by law we really don't have a choice but to comply and should do our part to ensure our folks can comply in a safe manner instead of ignoring it. NFPA reviews standards on a regular basis. I completely agreed with you when you stated that "often rules are made by people who are only looking at one small part of a situation". One way we can address items like this is by joining NFPA and becoming involved in the process that updates the standards.

Don A. Long 
Southwest Research Institute Laboratory 
Pine Bluff Chemical Agent Disposal Facility 
PO Box 20130 
White Hall, AR  71612 

-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU]On Behalf Of Rita Kay Calhoun
Sent: Wednesday, November 10, 2010 8:14 AM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] flammable cabinet question

It is hard to see the sense in following =93safety rules=94 that cause more danger than they prevent.  Often rules are made by people who are only looking at one small part of a situation and not at all considering the overall ramifications of their dictates.   Consider the post this morning from Ina Ahern whose local fire department is mandating the use of a tubing which has been shown to cause safety problems (see her post) when all that is needed is a program to increase awareness as to the importance of inspecting tubing; at most a requirement that inspections occur and are documented at regular stated intervals.
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**] On Behalf Of List Moderator
Sent: Wednesday, November 10, 2010 7:04 AM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] flammable cabinet question
Date: November 10, 2010 6:54:08 AM EST
Subject: RE: [DCHAS-L] flammable cabinet question
"I recently bought several safety cabinets, and I found that it is the state that mandates self closing doors.  Luckily, we were able to purchase ones with manual doors."
This spooks me. The above statement implies that even though self-closing doors are mandated by state law (probably a UFC state) but inconvenient, you have decided to ignore the law. I hope that's not what I read.
It's hard to convince employees of the importance of safety rules and standards when we ourselves ignore the "inconvenient" ones.
Don A. Long 
Southwest Research Institute Laboratory 
Pine Bluff Chemical Agent Disposal Facility 
PO Box 20130 
White Hall, AR  71612 

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