Chemical Storage Guidelines
Properly storing chemicals is very important especially for laboratories or research centers. The occupations safety and health administrations or OSHA has given out the requirements for storage that should be 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. Chemicals of different kinds should be separated and stored according to their kind. There should be different storage places or cabinets for different kinds of chemicals.
When chemicals are mixed there is a reaction so you need to take note of this when you are storing your chemicals. 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). When corrosive bases and joined with acids there is a risk that the mixture will generate heat. It is important to put labels to your chemicals, and cylinders should be labeled on their 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. The cabinets should always be locked and they should be kept far away from sinks and water sources. 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.
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.
Safety storage procedures should be taught to those who handle the chemicals regularly. OSHA recommends that training should be completed every few moths. If there are new chemicals, every staff should know about it and they should be taught on how to properly store it. 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.
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