As a small business, you know what chemicals you need in the workplace to do your job. But do you know how to properly store them?
Before storing any chemicals, please refer to our previous blog post entitled “Safe Handling of Chemicals in the Workplace” for information on identifying hazards and labeling of the chemicals.
Improperly stored chemicals could result in fires, explosions, and other serious health hazards that could impact you, your business, or your employees. Therefore, it’s important to know how to store chemicals in your workplace.
Remember, although tempting, don’t store chemicals in groups determined by container size or alphabetically. Alphabetizing your chemicals could mean that explosive chemical combinations end up next to each other on the shelf. That’s an accident waiting to happen.
After you’ve consulted the Safety Data Sheets and grouped your chemicals according to their properties (i.e. flammables, oxidizers, corrosives), keep these guidelines in mind:
- Flammables must be stored in a cabinet that complies with NFPA 30 guidelines. The doors should be kept closed at all times. This is for your, your employees’, and your property’s safety.
- If you’re going to be dispensing flammables from the storage container, make sure it’s grounded and bonded to the receiving container.
- Nitric acid must be stored away from other acids.
- Never store chemicals above eye level or on the floor in a walkway.
- Very toxic or controlled chemicals should be stored in a lockable cabinet.
- Volatile chemicals should be stored in a vented area.
- Chemical spill and first aid supplies should be readily available near the storage areas for easy access in an emergency. Personal protective equipment should be nearby, too.
- Monitor your chemical storage areas for spills and leaks, missing labels, ignition hazards for flammables, extreme cold, and theft. An inventory inspection should be conducted on your chemicals at regular intervals so you can catch any problems.
Following these guidelines should help make your small business safe from chemical storage danger.
Loss Control Representative