Chemical Storage Guidelines
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. There are guidelines or requirements for chemical storage that are given by the Occupations Safety and Health Administration or OSHA, that should be carefully 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. Because there are different kinds of chemicals they should be separated and storage accordingly. 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 you are storing chemicals, remember that these chemicals can interact. Keeping chemicals away from each other especially if they have negative interaction is very important. An example of this would be to store solvents together in a fire-resistant cabinet, but you should keep oxidizing agents away from them. Acids (nitric, hydrochloric, and sulfuric) should be kept away from bases (sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, slaked lime, sodium carbonate, and aqueous ammonia). Mixing these corrosive bases with acids with be generating heat which is very risky. 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. These cabinets should be far from sinks or water sources and should always be locked. It should be a concern that there might be excessive chemical vapors from liquid chemicals kept in cabinets. For better safety, these cabinets should be kept away from the sunlight and placed in cool, dry areas. Hazardous signs should be put up on cabinets or storage places for chemicals.
Since OSHA has no specific color coding system, research facilities and labs are encouraged to create their own color coding system to help identify chemicals quickly. For example, you can use red for flammable chemicals, yellow for reactive or oxidizing agents, chemicals hazardous to health can be colored blue, corrosives chemicals can be white, and green and gray for those chemicals that are only moderately hazardous.
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. New chemicals brought to the facility should be known to all and should be handled and stored properly. The proper storage of chemicals is something that should not be neglected for its importance. If done well, your property and your people are protected. Trained and qualified personnel should be able to handle chemicals properly to ensure safety in the facility.
Source: hazmat locker