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. There are guidelines or requirements for chemical storage that are given by the Occupations Safety and Health Administration or OSHA, that should be carefully considered. Below are the requirements given by OSHA for proper storage of chemicals.
Simply putting chemicals on shelves is not enough. They should be separated and stored according to their different kinds. 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. If there is negative interaction between two types of chemicals, they should be kept far away from each other. An example of this would be to store solvents together in a fire-resistant cabinet, but you should keep oxidizing agents away from them. Do not put acids (nitric, hydrochloric, and sulfuric) and bases (sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, slaked lime, sodium carbonate, and aqueous ammonia) together in one cabinet. Mixing these corrosive bases with acids with be generating heat which is very risky. It is important to put labels to your chemicals, and cylinders should be labeled on their shoulders.
There should be at least five chemical storage cabinets as recommended by the OSHA. There should be one for general storage where you can put the chemicals depending on their categories or hazardous rating, the acid area where only acids are stored, an area for corrosive acids, one for corrosive bases, and another one for flammable chemicals. The cabinets should always be locked and they should be kept far away from sinks and water sources. Take precautions when storing liquid chemicals in cabinets. For better safety, these cabinets should be kept away from the sunlight and placed in cool, dry areas. Doors of the cabinets or storage places should be installed with hazardous signs.
Since OSHA has no specific color coding system, research facilities and labs are encouraged to create their own color coding system to help identify chemicals quickly. 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. OSHA recommends that training should be completed every few moths. New chemicals brought to the facility should be known to all and should be handled and stored properly. It is very important to store chemicals properly. If done well, your property and your people are protected. The training and qualification of personnel is very important when it comes to handling chemicals.
Source: fire cabinet