Almost every business manager needs to know how to store chemicals properly. Even if you aren’t in an industry that produces chemicals, you still may have custodial or production staff who use hazardous substances to do their jobs. In addition to watching for obvious safety hazards, here are some tips to help you comply with federal regulations for chemical storage.
Separate Incompatible Chemicals
Some substances react badly with others. They may produce toxic fumes or even combust if they come into contact with each other. For example, ammonia and bleach cannot mix. Nitric acid should be kept clear of all other acids. If you use chemicals that are incompatible with certain others, make sure they are not stored together.
Store on Shelves
Plating tanks can store a large amount of liquid safely, but for smaller quantities, you should store them in appropriate containers off the floor. Containers should be clearly labeled, and each shelf should have a lidded edge to prevent containers from sliding off the side and spilling onto the floor. All chemicals should be stored at eye level or lower to prevent accidental spillage on the person trying to reach them.
Choose a Good Location
Where you store chemicals is just as important as the container in which you keep them. Flammable substances should be stored in a closet or cabinet that is far away from heat sources or anything that could ignite them. If they give off a strong odor, they should be kept in well-ventilated areas. Highly toxic chemicals need to be in an isolated, locked cabinet with signs indicating that it contains poisonous materials.
Always be on the lookout for spills, cracked containers or other safety issues. Just because you started with clearly labeled, appropriate storage, that doesn’t automatically mean that things stay that way. Vigilance is important to make sure chemicals are stored properly.