Last Updated: Apr 25, 2014
If you work in a home office, you might not think hazardous material safety is something you need to worry about. Your home, however, likely has quite a few products containing chemicals that could fuel a fire or pose other dangers. Here’s advice on how to safely store hazardous materials.
Like a good number of small business people, I work at home.
I own a great, old, historic home in South Philadelphia. I have a large basement where I have my office and library in one walled section, a storage area in another walled area, and a tool room in a third walled area.
As my library is considerable (I’ve been collecting books since I was a preteen), I have to be more concerned about fire than most people. I’m very careful about storing flammables and combustibles in my basement, as my books would fuel a very big fire.
Unlike professional office buildings and industrial parks, a small businessperson’s home office is not regularly inspected for fire and safety. As a young sailor I was trained by the U.S. Navy in safety, fire fighting and fire prevention. Later as a Defense Department civilian employee, I coordinated security and safety programs for a field command, so I’m able to maintain a safe environment in my home, and in my home office.
But for those who don’t have experience or formal training, the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) offers some sound advice on how to prevent fires in your home. This advice applies to the workplace as well.
USFA, a part of the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency, tells us that residential hazardous materials (hazmat) safety is vital in preventing fires in and around your home.
Hazmat safety involves the proper handling and storage of combustibles and flammable liquids such as gasoline, kerosene, propane, oil, aerosols, certain household cleaning products and painting supplies.