Hazardous chemicals can pose significant risks even when they are not in use. From the safety of your workers to the impact they may have on the environment, improper storage of hazardous chemicals can have serious implications.
Unfortunately, reports of accidents caused by the inappropriate storage of hazardous chemicals are far too common. If your workplace has any hazardous chemicals, you are obliged to properly handle and store them to ensure the health and safety of your workers.
Continue reading to learn how you can store hazardous chemicals safely at your workplace.
What are Hazardous Chemicals?
Hazardous chemicals are substances or mixtures that pose a risk of causing harm to human or animal health or damaging the environment. In some cases, they may also be capable of damaging your property.
Commonly used in different workplaces as raw materials, cleaning agents, and solvents, these chemicals may have an adverse effect on your workers’ health, if not handled or stored correctly. Hazardous chemicals frequently used in workplaces include:
- Chemical vapors
- Chemical dust
- Chemical fumes
- Chemical mixtures
According to the risk they pose to your property and health, hazardous chemicals can be divided into the following categories:
- Explosive or flammable (e.g. petroleum, TNT)
- Toxic (e.g. carbon monoxide, cyanide)
- Irritating or corrosive (e.g. acids, bases)
- Carcinogenic (e.g. asbestos, nickel)
How to Store Hazardous Chemicals?
storing hazardous chemicalsrequires careful consideration and utmost diligence. Laboratories must follow the proper storage guidelines to limit the exposure of their workers to the risks associated with using these chemicals.
Here are the four steps you should follow to store hazardous chemicals safely:
- Identify the Chemicals
The first step in safely storing hazardous chemicals is to know what you’re working with. Identify the hazardous chemicals in your workplace and learn more about their properties and the potential risks they possess.
To identify which chemicals are potentially hazardous, take a look at the chemicals’ labels and Safety Data Sheets (SDS) to gain a better understanding of their hazards and storage requirements. The SDS will also specify if a certain chemical is incompatible with other substances, and thus, cannot be stored with them.
- Assess Risks
After identifying the hazardous chemicals, you must conduct a risk assessment to evaluate the individual risks associated with the usage, storage, and handling of each chemical in your own workplace.
Consider hazards such as risks of a fire, explosion, spills, long-term health effects, and leaks and how your workers may be exposed to these risks when they use these chemicals. Create a list of all the hazardous chemicals you use onsite along with the risks associated with every chemical.
- Manage Risks
Once you’ve assessed the risks, you are ready to think of proper control measures to contain each of these risks. There are five hierarchical control measures that should be considered to control the risks associated with hazardous chemicals in the workplace:
- Engineering controls
- Administrative controls
- Personal protective equipment
When managing risks, these control measures should be performed in the aforementioned order.
Now that you know all the potentially dangerous chemicals and the risk they pose to your workplace, you can take the necessary measures to store them appropriately.
When deciding on where to store the chemical, it is always best to consult its Safety Data Sheet. The SDS will tell you whether a chemical needs to be stored outdoors or indoors, and whether it needs to be isolated from other chemicals. Chemicals can be stored in:
- Storage cabinets
- Underground tanks
- Racks and gas cylinders
The correct use of the proper storage and handling systems and containers is critical to the safe storage of hazardous chemicals. Here are some rules to keep in mind:
- Label all chemical containers
- Keep spill kits in close vicinity
- Separate incompatible chemicals
- Don’t store liquids above solids
- Keep all containers closed when not in use
- Store volatile and pungent chemicals in ventilated spaces
- Do not store in direct sunlight unless specifically required to do so
- Store flammable liquids in approved flammable liquid storage cabinets
- Use secondary resistant containers such as spill trays for corrosive chemicals
- Store large chemical bottles at the back and smaller ones at the front in cabinets
Turn to Go Freight Hub for Storing Hazardous Chemicals
At Go Freight Hub, we understand the regulatory and operational logistics required to safely store a wide variety of chemicals. Our hazmat warehousing specialists are certified and equipped with the necessary expertise and facilities required to handle your products safely.
We offer cost-effective, transparent, and eco-friendly hazmat warehousing services tailored to meet all your needs. To learn more about our hazmat warehousing solutions, contact Go Freight Hub today.