Storing Bulk Chemicals Safely
Proper storage of hazardous chemicals is necessary in any factory or institutional setting. While small quantities of flammables can be stored in flammable cabinets, bulk or larger quantities of chemicals should be stored in chemical storage buildings.
Safe chemical storage begins with inventory management. Proper inventory management is also necessary if emergency personnel are to respond to a fire or chemical spill in the area. Institutions or private facilities can be fined if emergency response personnel are not provided with an inventory of the chemicals being stored.
All chemicals come with safety data sheets (SDS), which follow a standard format as defined by OSHA in their Hazard Communication Standard. It consists of 16 sections that detail the chemical’s hazards, properties, and other essential information. The SDS also lists recommendation on handling and storing the chemical. Workers should always have access to the SDS of every chemical they use ,especially when storing bulk chemicals.
PROPER CHEMICAL STORAGE INVENTORY
To properly manage your chemical inventory, segregate incompatible chemicals by hazard class codes. Store chemicals that have the same properties together. This helps prevent dangerous reactions between different chemical groups. Never store chemicals by size or in alphabetical order. Make sure all chemicals are properly labeled and dated.
If storing severe poisons, use a dedicated poison cabinet – this helps avoid storing any incompatible chemicals with poisons.
When using chemical storage buildings for small quantity storage, store flammable liquids in drums, totes or smaller storage devices. Different racks or shelving options are also available to help keep chemical storage buildings organized. But, never store chemicals above eye level or on the top shelf inside a storage building.
Follow safety best practices when working with or handling chemicals. Before entering a chemical storage area, always look for the following:
- Leaking or deteriorating containers
- Spilled chemicals
- Dented drums or containers
- Temperature extremes (hot or cold)
- Lack of lighting or light bulbs
- Blocked exits or aisles
- Trash accumulation
- Signs of static electricity
- Fire suppression system broken
- Missing warning signs (“No Smoking,” “Flammable Liquids,” “Acids,” “Corrosives,” “Poisons,” “Chemical Storage,” etc.)
Contact U.S. Chemical Storage for Chemical Inventory Storage Solutions
When working with dangerous or hazardous chemicals, safe storage methods must be a priority. We offer fully customizable chemical storage buildings to keep workers and workplaces safe. For more information, contact us online or call 800-233-1480 for a free chemical storage consultation.
- Justrite. How to Segregate and Organize Chemicals in a Safety Cabinet
- Occupational Health and Safety. Chemical Management: Five Ways to Meet the Challenges of IH in a Changing Industry