Requirements for Storing Chemicals
Chemicals should be stored properly and it is important to know how to do it especially if you have a lab or a research center. The occupations safety and health administrations or OSHA has given out the requirements for storage that should be considered. Chemical storage should follow these requirements.
Simply putting chemicals on shelves is not enough. Because there are different kinds of chemicals they should be separated and storage accordingly. There should be different storage places or cabinets for different kinds of chemicals.
When you are storing chemicals, remember that these chemicals can interact. Keeping chemicals away from each other especially if they have negative interaction is very important. 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. When corrosive bases and joined with acids there is a risk that the mixture will generate heat. Labels should be put on chemical containers and labels should be put on cylinder shoulders.
There should be at least five chemical storage cabinets as recommended by the OSHA. 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. 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. There should be training every few months as recommended by OSHA. Staff should be informed about new chemicals and should also be taught of its proper storage. It is very important to store chemicals properly. The protection of property and personnel are ensured when chemicals are stored properly. The training and qualification of personnel is very important when it comes to handling chemicals.
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