Requirements for Storing Chemicals
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. Below are the requirements given by OSHA for proper storage of chemicals.
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. For best results, different kinds of chemical should be stored in different cabinets or storage places.
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. Solvents and oxidizing agents should not be put together, and solvents should be kept in cabinets that are fire resistant. Acids (nitric, hydrochloric, and sulfuric) should be kept away from bases (sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, slaked lime, sodium carbonate, and aqueous ammonia). Mixing these corrosive bases with acids with be generating heat which is very risky. 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. 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. When liquids are kept in safety cabinets, excessive chemical vapors may be a concern. 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. 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. It is very important to store chemicals properly. If done well, your property and your people are protected. You should ensure that all chemicals are handled by trained and qualified personnel.
Source: spill barriers