How to Store Chemicals Properly
If you have a laboratory or research center using chemicals, it is important to know how to properly store them. 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. Because there are different kinds of chemicals they should be separated and storage accordingly. 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 chemicals are mixed there is a reaction so you need to take note of this when you are storing your chemicals. Chemicals with negative interaction should be stored away from each other. To give an example, solvent should be kept in fire resistant cabinets but must not be stored together with oxidizing agents. 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. 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.
The recommendation of the OSHA is that there should be at least five chemical storage areas or cabinets. 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. These cabinets should be far from sinks or water sources and should always be locked. Take precautions when storing liquid chemicals in cabinets. It is best to put these cabinets away from the sunlight but in cool, dry places. Doors of the cabinets or storage places should be installed with hazardous signs.
OSHA does not have a specific color coding system, but they recommend that you create a system that will help to identify specific chemicals. 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. New chemicals brought to the facility should be known to all and should be handled and stored properly. Chemical storage is very important. If done well, your property and your people are protected. You should ensure that all chemicals are handled by trained and qualified personnel.
Source: chemical storage lockers