Requirements for Storing Chemicals
Properly storing chemicals is very important especially for laboratories or research centers. 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. Chemicals of different kinds should be separated and stored according to their kind. Different chemicals should not be put together in a cabinet but rather there should be put in different storage places or cabinets for different kinds of chemicals.
When you are storing chemicals, remember that these chemicals can interact. Keeping chemicals away from each other especially if they have negative interaction is very important. To give an example, solvent should be kept in fire resistant cabinets but must not be stored together with oxidizing agents. Acids like nitric, hydrochloric, and sulfuric acids should be kept away from bases like sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, slaked lime, sodium carbonate, and aqueous ammoia. When corrosive bases and joined with acids there is a risk that the mixture will generate heat. Labeling chemical containers is important and for cylindrical ones the label should be on the shoulders.
OSHA recommends that the number of storage cabinets for chemicals should be at least five cabinets. The first one is for general storage where chemicals are put depending on their category or hazardous rating, the next is the cabinet for acids only, then there is a cabinet for corrosive acids, another for corrosive bases and the last for flammable chemicals. Chemical cabinets should be locked at all times when not in use and should be situated away from sinks and water sources. 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.
OSHA does not have a specific color coding system, but they recommend that you create a system that will help to identify specific chemicals. For example, you can use red for flammable chemicals, yellow for reactive or oxidizing agents, chemicals hazardous to health can be colored blue, corrosives chemicals can be white, and green and gray for those chemicals that are only moderately hazardous.
Training on safety storage procedures should be given to people assigned to handle chemicals. 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. The proper storage of chemicals is something that should not be neglected for its importance. 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: chemical spill kit