OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov.


December 22, 1997

Ms. Dinah K. Land
Compliance Officer
10515 E. 40th Avenue
Suite 103
Denver, CO 80239

Dear Ms. Land:

This is in response to your letter of September 22, regarding the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) standard, 29 CFR 1910.106, and its applicability to the storage of flammable liquids in plastic containers.

In your letter, you indicated that pursuant to 1910.106, the maximum allowable size of approved plastic containers for a Class 1B liquid is one quart. You inquired whether the 5-liter jugs imported from Sweden containing Class 1B liquids are acceptable under the current National Fire Protection Association standard. You also indicated that the jugs have a United Nations approval number stamped on them (No. 3Hl/Yl,4/100/97/8/SP-116805).

Please note that OSHA has approved the usage of larger plastic storage containers for storage of flammable liquids (e.g., 5-gallons), provided that these containers are approved by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and/or they have been approved by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL). Unfortunately, the containers in question (UN approved) would not be acceptable for the storage of flammable liquids in the workplace, unless these containers are approved by a NRTL. In regard to NFPA, the current NFPA standard states, "only approved containers and portable tanks shall be used" (approved means approved by a NRTL or DOT).

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. If you have questions regarding the preceding, please contact [the Office of General Industry Enforcement at (202) 693-1850].


John B. Miles, Jr., Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs

[Corrected 04/06/2009]