If your business handles or stores dangerous materials such as chemicals or flammable substances, then you might need to install a Hazmat emergency information cabinet at the entrance to your site. What do these cabinets do and why should you use them?
What is an emergency information cabinet?
A Hazmat emergency information cabinet holds key information for the emergency services. If you have an accident or incident on your site, then emergency workers need to know about site-specific risks before they start work.
So, a cabinet will typically include the following materials:
- Key information about your company such as its name and address
- Contact details of employees to contact in an emergency
- A list of hazardous materials and their classes, amounts and location on the site
- A map of your site which clearly marks areas which contain hazardous materials
When emergency services arrive at your site, they open the cabinet and check the information inside. It helps them assess risk and plan their response before they enter the area and start work.
Why install an emergency information cabinet?
If you store certain types or amounts of hazardous materials in your buildings or on your site, then an emergency information cabinet might be a legal requirement. It might be part of your official health and safety obligations.
The information in this cabinet is vital for emergency services, especially if they come out to manage an incident outside of working hours when you don't have any personnel on site. It gives them an immediate snapshot view of potential hazards and risks.
This knowledge helps emergency personnel work quickly, effectively and safely. It minimises risk. For example, if you have a fire and store hazardous chemicals on site, then firefighters can use your emergency information documents to build a picture of your site and its potential hazards.
They might focus on protecting hazardous areas from the spread of fire first. They can protect your site more effectively if they can plan how to manage these additional fire risks early.
Plus, most importantly, firefighters use this information to keep themselves and any people in the area safe. If they don't know about hazardous materials, then they could get seriously injured as they fight the fire. A fire that turns into an explosion could harm people, damage local infrastructure and affect neighbouring buildings.
So, have an emergency information cabinet on site. You meet your regulatory and liability requirements. This is a responsible measure to take.
What makes a good emergency information cabinet?
While you can choose different products here, a high-quality Hazmat emergency information cabinet has the following features:
- The cabinet will be a bright red colour. It will have clear and easy-to-read lettering on it so that emergency services personnel can spot it fast.
- The cabinet will be made from strong weatherproofed materials. You'll put paper documents inside, so you need to ensure that the cabinet keeps them dry, intact and readable.
- The cabinet will have a universal emergency services lock. For example, most cabinets come with a 003 lock. These locks keep unauthorised users out of the cabinet. However, firefighters have universal keys which can open them. They can access the cabinet's contents as soon as they arrive even if you don't have any personnel on site.
Site a cabinet in the right location so that emergency services can see it easily. For example, put the cabinet close to the entrance of your premises at a height which makes it stand out. If you aren't sure where to put a cabinet, your local fire station can give you useful advice.
For more advice, contact Ace Workwear and ask about our emergency information cabinet range.