How to Store Chemicals Properly
Properly storing chemicals is very important especially for laboratories or research centers. Guidelines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA, regarding the proper storage of chemicals should be given importance. Here are the chemical storage requirements that we should comply with.
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 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. 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 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. 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. 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. Take precautions when storing liquid chemicals in cabinets. The cabinet in these cases should be placed in cool, dry locations away from sunlight. Doors of the cabinets or storage places should be installed with hazardous signs.
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. 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.
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. Staff should be informed about new chemicals and should also be taught of its proper storage. 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.
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