Requirements for Storing Chemicals
Properly storing chemicals is very important especially for laboratories or research centers. 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. Here are the chemical storage requirements that we should comply with.
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.
Remember that chemicals interact, and so this should also be considered when they are stored. 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 like nitric, hydrochloric, and sulfuric acids should be kept away from bases like sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, slaked lime, sodium carbonate, and aqueous ammoia. Mixing acids and bases generate heat and thus put the storage facility at risk. Labels should be put on chemical containers and labels should be put on cylinder shoulders.
There should be at least five chemical storage cabinets as recommended by the OSHA. 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. The cabinets should always be locked and they should be kept far away from sinks and water sources. When liquids are kept in safety cabinets, excessive chemical vapors may be a concern. The cabinet in these cases should be placed in cool, dry locations away from sunlight. There should be hazardous signs installed on the doors of the cabinets or storage places.
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. 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. 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.