BCF Guidance on Spontaneous Combustion
The British Coating Federations (BCF) guidance on Spontaneous Combustion. Spontaneous combustion is the ability of certain materials to ignite without the presence of any ignition source such as a flame, spark or heat. This could lead to a major fire and its inherent consequences.
What it is?
Spontaneous combustion is the ability of certain materials to ignite without the presence of any ignition source such as a flame, spark or heat. This could lead to a major fire and its inherent consequences.
What types of material are likely to spontaneously combust?
The most common materials that can undergo spontaneous combustion are linseed oil based products, alkyds (both solvent- and water-borne), and coatings containing drying oils.
Where could this occur?
The usual places for spontaneous combustion to occur are on rags, paint filters, masking tape, paint scrapings and other materials which have been soaked with the product or have a build up of product on them. These if left exposed to the air can spontaneously combust through the oxidation (auto-oxidation) reaction of the product generating sufficient heat to exceed the ignition temperature of the rags, filters or other combustible materials.
How do I prevent this?
For all products containing more than 10% air drying (auto-oxidising) oils or high oil content binders, the BCF has a plug-in phrase:
‘Materials such as cleaning rags, paper wipes and protective clothing, which are contaminated with the product may spontaneously self-ignite some hours later. To avoid the risk of fires, all contaminated materials should be [stored in purpose-built containers or in metal containers with tight-fitting self-closing lids.] or [laid out flat in a single layer to dry] or [placed in a metal container soaked with water] or [washed out well with warm soapy water before disposal.] Contaminated materials should be removed from the workplace at the end of each working day and stored outside.’
If this is on the safety datasheet (in section 7, Handling) of the product being used there is a likelihood that spontaneous combustion could occur.
It is additionally recommended that heavily soiled rags, clothing or spray booth filters should be placed in metal containers and kept under water.
To ensure spontaneous combustion does not occur this disposal guidance must be followed.
Do NOT dispose of in regular waste containers.