Chemical Storage Guidelines
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. They should be separated and stored according to their different kinds. 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. 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. Mixing these corrosive bases with acids with be generating heat which is very risky. 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. These cabinets should be far from sinks or water sources and should always be locked. When liquids are kept in safety cabinets, excessive chemical vapors may be a concern. For better safety, these cabinets should be kept away from the sunlight and placed in cool, dry areas. There should be hazardous signs installed on the doors of the cabinets or storage places.
OSHA does not have a specific color coding system, but they recommend that you create a system that will help to identify specific chemicals. 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.
Safety storage procedures should be taught to those who handle the chemicals regularly. 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. Chemical storage is very important. The property and the people are protected if chemicals are stored well. The training and qualification of personnel is very important when it comes to handling chemicals.
Source: chemical spill kit