Requirements for Storing Chemicals
If you have a laboratory or research center using chemicals, it is important to know how to properly store them. Guidelines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA, regarding the proper storage of chemicals should be given importance. Below are the requirements given by OSHA for proper storage of chemicals.
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. There should be 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. There should be hazardous signs installed on the doors of the cabinets or storage places.
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. In order to classify chemicals, here is a great color coding scheme to follow: flammable chemicals can be red, reactive or oxidizing agents can be yellow, chemicals hazardous to health can be blue, corrosive chemicals can be white, and chemicals that are moderately hazardous can be green and gray.
Training on safety storage procedures should be given to people assigned to handle chemicals. The recommendation of OSHA is that training should done every few months. If there are new chemicals, every staff should know about it and they should be taught on how to properly store it. Chemical storage is very important. The protection of property and personnel are ensured when chemicals are stored properly. The training and qualification of personnel is very important when it comes to handling chemicals.
Source: hazmat lockers