How to Store Chemicals Properly
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. Guidelines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA, regarding the proper storage of chemicals should be given importance. Chemical storage should follow these requirements.
There is more to storing chemicals than just putting them on shelves. Because there are different kinds of chemicals they should be separated and storage accordingly. For best results, different kinds of chemical should be stored in different cabinets or storage places.
When you are storing chemicals, remember that these chemicals can interact. If there is negative interaction between two types of chemicals, they should be kept far away from each other. Solvents and oxidizing agents should not be put together, and solvents should be kept in cabinets that are fire resistant. 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.
The recommendation of the OSHA is that there should be at least five chemical storage areas or cabinets. These five storage cabinets can contain the following: general chemicals for the first cabinet where chemicals are put depending on category and hazardous rating, acids for the second cabinet, corrosive acids for the third, corrosive bases for the fourth, and flammable chemicals for the last cabinet. 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. 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.
To help identify chemicals quickly, it has been recommended by OSHA to create a color coding system because they do not have a specific system that everyone should follow. An example color coding scheme would be as follows: red for flammable chemicals, yellow for reactive or oxidizing agents, blue for chemicals hazardous to health, white for corrosive chemicals, and green and gray for chemicals that are moderately hazardous.
The people that are handling the chemicals should receive training on the safety storage procedures. 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. It is very important to store chemicals properly. The property and the people are protected if chemicals are stored well. You should ensure that all chemicals are handled by trained and qualified personnel.
Source: spill barrier