Requirements for Storing Chemicals
Chemicals should be stored properly and it is important to know how to do it especially if you have a lab or a research center. The occupations safety and health administrations or OSHA has given out the requirements for storage that should be considered. Here are the chemical storage requirements that we should comply with.
It is not enough to just put all the chemicals that you use on shelves. They should be separated and stored according to their different kinds. Different chemicals should not be put together in a cabinet but rather there should be put in different storage places or cabinets for different kinds of chemicals.
When chemicals are mixed there is a reaction so you need to take note of this when you are storing your chemicals. If there is negative interaction between two types of chemicals, they should be kept far away from each other. To give an example, solvent should be kept in fire resistant cabinets but must not be stored together with oxidizing agents. Do not put acids (nitric, hydrochloric, and sulfuric) and bases (sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, slaked lime, sodium carbonate, and aqueous ammonia) together in one cabinet. Mixing acids and bases generate heat and thus put the storage facility at risk. Labeling chemical containers is important and for cylindrical ones the label should be on the shoulders.
There should be at least five chemical storage cabinets as recommended by the OSHA. There should be one for general storage where you can put the chemicals depending on their categories or hazardous rating, the acid area where only acids are stored, an area for corrosive acids, one for corrosive bases, and another one for flammable chemicals. The cabinets should always be locked and they should be kept far away from sinks and water sources. It should be a concern that there might be excessive chemical vapors from liquid chemicals kept in cabinets. It is best to put these cabinets away from the sunlight but in cool, dry places. Hazardous signs should be put up on cabinets or storage places for chemicals.
OSHA does not have a specific color coding system, but they recommend that you create a system that will help to identify specific chemicals. In order to classify chemicals, here is a great color coding scheme to follow: flammable chemicals can be red, reactive or oxidizing agents can be yellow, chemicals hazardous to health can be blue, corrosive chemicals can be white, and chemicals that are moderately hazardous can be green and gray.
Training on safety storage procedures should be given to people assigned to handle chemicals. There should be training every few months as recommended by OSHA. Staff should be informed about new chemicals and should also be taught of its proper storage. Chemical storage is very important. If done well, your property and your people are protected. The training and qualification of personnel is very important when it comes to handling chemicals.
Source: Workplace Safety Products