If you own and use chemicals in your home or workplace, you already know the hazards that come along with just keeping them around. What you should also be aware of, though, are the dangers that come with storing them improperly. Here are 5 important tips aiming to help you avoid any mix-ups or extra hazards with your chemicals.
1. Segregation and Identification
Always ensure all your containers are labeled correctly, both with the name of the chemical and the associated hazard warnings for it. Also group and segregate your chemicals by likeness, meaning don’t keep reactive agents next to one another. A good model for you to start grouping with is as follows: flammable liquids, volatile poisons, oxidizing acids, organic and mineral acids, liquid bases, liquids oxidizer, non-volatile poisons, reactive, and solids. You will want to store each group separately, such as each in a different cabinet with identifying safety labels- neveron the floor or above eye-level. More on this system can be found through The University of Iowa.
Store all chemicals in a highly ventilated area, and consider putting volatile or highly odorous chemicals in a ventilated cabinet; the last thing you want to do is release harmful substances into your work area or create added fire hazards.
3. Safety Supplies
Always keep a first aid kit and fire extinguisher in or close by your storage area. It’s also highly recommended you have an eyewash and emergency shower in the room, and keep personal protective equipment (PPE) available nearby if you have need for it. Along with this, it’s a good idea to check your storage area regularly for blocked exits and aisles, poor or low lighting conditions, and accumulation of trash or other unneeded fire hazards.
4. Temperature Control
The temperature of your chemical storage area is one of the most important condition controls. The room should never be too hot or too cold, and all chemicals (flammable liquids especially) should never be put in direct heat or sunlight; this includes being placed next to a heater or hot vent. Regular room temperature is usually fine for most chemicals, but some certain ones may need to be placed in a cool or refrigerated area as well.
5. Safety Data Sheets
Safety data sheets are the best way to know the hazards, emergency protocols, and PPE needed for each type of chemical. They are usually received from the manufacturers of your materials, but you can also find copies of them online if you have misplaced yours. Always keep these sheets in your storage area for safekeeping and quick references when you need them.
Storing chemicals safely should be of upmost importance in your home or business. If you consider each tip on this list carefully, however, you can relieve and ease your worries about your safety.