Pump for Flammable Liquids Guidelines

Flammable liquids in a laboratory environment can pose significant fire hazards. But that doesn’t mean one can simply avoid using them. In certain cases, scientific progress indicates the use of dangerous chemicals.

There’s no avoiding it, however: flammable liquid pumping can be hazardous.

Below, we’ll go over some safety tips for dealing with flammable liquids in your lab.

Pumping Flammable Liquids

When working with flammable liquids, using pumps to move them can create hazardous conditions for a lab. Fire and explosions can result if lab workers, researchers, and students don’t safely handle substances. Examples of flammable liquids include:

  • Ethyl ether
  • Acetone
  • Benzene

Examples of combustible liquids include:

  • Acetic acid
  • Formic acid
  • Formalin

When flammable and combustible liquids flow, they may create a buildup of static electricity. To reduce hazard levels from such build up, follow these five general safety guidelines:

  1. Always use a metallic pump with air-driven or explosion-proof (XPRF) motor rather than plastic.
  2. Ensure all components are metal, as plastic can’t be grounded and can build up static electricity.
  3. Ground the operator and pump components, including the motor (even if air-driven), hose clamps, inlet and discharge piping, holding tank, and receiving tank.
  4. Avoid splashing the flammable liquids as this can generate static electricity.
  5. Avoid isolated conductors, such as plastic discharge tubing with a metal nozzle at the end.

Note that some explosion-proof electric motors have a manual overload reset feature which eliminates the danger of automatic restarting.

Using Personal Safety Protective Equipment with Flammable Liquid Pumps

When handling flammable liquids, using personal protective equipment is a must. Some of this includes:

  • Eye protection
  • Hand protection
  • Body protection
  • Lung or respiratory protection
  • Storage, signs and labels

Typically, this means goggles, chemical-resistant gloves, coveralls, and perhaps a respirator. OSHA recommends both “eye and face protection when exposed to liquid chemicals, acids, or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors.” Also, those “whose work involves exposure to hot substances, or corrosive or poisonous materials must have protective gear to cover exposed body parts, including legs and feet.”

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At Masterflex we are committed to lab safety at every point of the process.

Visit our website to learn more or contact our customer service representatives for further advice.