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May 29, 2020: Safe Use of Hand Sanitizer

The storage and use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers to prevent virus spread must comply with NYS Fire Code and OSHA standards. The percentage of alcohol in sanitizing products is significantly above the level that makes them flammable and requires storage and use as flammable liquids.

Flammable liquids have a flash point below 100°F, the minimum temperature in degrees Fahrenheit at which the liquid will give off sufficient vapors to form an ignitable mixture with air near the surface or in the container. A combination of flash point and boiling point, the temperature at which the vapor pressure of a liquid equals the atmospheric pressure of 14.7 pounds per square inch absolute (psia), of the product determines which class the product is placed in and dictates storage and use.

Two common alcohol-based hand sanitizers are in use and are classified as IB Flammable Liquids.

Storage Requirement for Hand Sanitizing Products

The maximum allowable quantity per control area, defined as “spaces within a building where quantities of hazardous materials not exceeding the maximum allowable quantities are stored, dispensed, used, or handled”, is 120 gallons. If a storage area or building is fully sprinklered, or if an approved storage cabinet is used, the quantity stored can be increased by 100%, or 240 gallons per control area.

NYS Clean Hand Sanitizer is currently delivered in the following configurations:

  • Gallons: 192 gallons per pallet (48 boxes, 4 gallons/box).
    • Allowable quantity per sprinklered control area = 1.25 pallets
  • 2-ounce bottles: 50 per box.
    • 72 boxes, 56.25 gallons per pallet
      • Allowable quantity per sprinklered control area = 4.25 pallets
    • 96 boxes, 75 gallons per pallet
      • Allowable quantity per sprinklered control area = 3.20 pallets

Additional sprinklered storage areas may be needed if storing more than 240 gallons.

Dispenser Requirements

  • Maximum capacity of each dispenser shall be 68 ounces (2L).
  • Minimum separation between dispensers shall be 48” (This is less than the social distance guideline).
  • Dispensers shall be at least 1” away from electrical receptacles, switches, appliances or other ignition sources. The wall space between the dispenser and the floor/counter top shall be free of electrical receptacles, switches, ignition sources, etc.
  • Dispensers shall be mounted so the bottom is not less than 42” and not more than 48” above the floor.
  • Dispensers shall not be installed in carpeted areas unless a fire sprinkler system is installed in the fire area, or if the space is enclosed on all sides, top and bottom.
  • Dispenser contents shall not be released except when an object is placed within 4” of the sensor. If the object is left in place, it will only cause one activation and will only dispense the amount required for hand hygiene consistent with the label instructions.
  • Dispensers shall be tested per the manufacturer’s instructions each time the unit is refilled.
  • Dispensers in corridors
    • Maximum corridor width shall be 72”
    • Maximum capacity of each dispenser installed in corridors shall be 41 ounces.
    • Maximum quantity allowed within a corridor in a control area shall be 10 gallons.
    • Projections into a corridor shall be less than 4 inches.

Safe Use

Always ensure sources of ignition are not present in areas where hand sanitizers are stored or used.
Do not get hand sanitizing products in your eyes.
Allow product to remain on the skin for the amount of time specified on the label.