Topic 1: General
- Why do I need spillage retention/bunding?
- You need spillage control or bunding in order to capture and retain any spilled hazardous chemicals, which might otherwise cause harm to personnel, or environmental pollution if they enter storm water drains and enter the groundwater or streams and rivers. Any potential spillage will result in costly clean up charges, penalties from local authorities, negative publicity and the risk of injury to humans.
- Do I need to separate or segregate my different chemicals?
- Yes, non compatible chemicals should not be stored together. They should not share the same bund if there is a risk of a violent reaction when they come into contact with each other. Refer to the material safety data sheets(MSDS) or consult with your chemical supplier for advice on safe storage of chemicals. To learn more about the sets of chemicals which should never be stored together, read our blog post on the subject.
- Is ventilation required?
- Yes, your chemical storage unit should be ventilated to prevent accumulation of harmful vapours. Flammable vapours are heavier than air and settle at floor level, so if you are storing flammable chemicals, ventilation must be provided at floor level also. If personnel will be in the store for long periods, or will be decanting in the store, forced(electrical) ventilation should be fitted. For more information on when to choose ventilated chemical storage, read this article.
- Is temperature control possible?
- Yes, if your chemicals are sensitive to freezing or very high temperatures, you should consider adding frost protection or full temperature control features to your chemical storage.
- How secure are the chemical stores?
- We manufacture two types of chemical stores: Our standard 'clad' chemical storage unit is all steel construction with pad lockable doors. This has profiled metal walls which a determined thief with powder tools could possibly break into. The clad stores are suitable for location on secure / fenced sites. Our 'anti-vandal' chemical storage units are manufactured from heavy duty steel plate which is fully welded and therefore difficult to penetrate. They are fitted with anti-tamper pad lock boxes to secure the padlocks. We would recommend the anti-vandal stores for non secure/unfenced sites. Our flammable ';walk-in' stores have fire doors with high security key operated locks.
- How should I treat storage of time-sensitive chemicals?
- Yes, It is important to mark the expiry date on time sensitive chemicals as these types of chemicals can become hazardous if not handled and stored as per the specified date.
Topic 2: Bunds
- What is a bund?
- A bund is basically a large tray used in the storage of chemicals into which you sit your containers of chemicals in, so that if they leak, the spilled chemical is captured and retained in the bund. The bund should capture a leak which might otherwise go unnoticed in your chemical storage unit.
- What size/capacity does my bund need to be?
- Your bund should be 110% of the capacity of the largest container you are storing i.e. for a 1000 litre IBC tank your bund must be a minimum of 1100 litres. If you are storing multiple containers, your bund capacity must be either 110% of the capacity of the largest container you are storing, or 25% of the total combined volume of the containers you are storing – whichever is the largest figure. The bunds on our chemical storage units exceed these bund capacity guidelines.
- Can I have an outlet on my chemical storage bund?
- No, it is not recommended that outlets be fitted to bunds as it increases the risk of accidental spillage through outlets being left opened or becoming damaged.
- Should my bunds be tested?
- Yes, all bunds should be tested on a regular basis to ensure that they will retain spilled chemicals. All our bunds are tested during manufacture and bund test certificates are available.
Topic 3: Flammable Storage
- What is the recommended storage method for flammable liquids?
- When storing flammable liquids, it is recommended to use a fit-for-purpose grounded flammable storage cabinet.
- Can I store flammable chemicals indoors?
- Yes, you can store flammable chemicals indoors, but you must keep the volume stored to a minimum – no more than 50 litres or enough for one production shift.
- How do I store flammable chemicals indoors?
- Flammable chemicals stored indoors must be stored in an approved fire resisting chemical storage cabinet(minimum ½ hour fire resisting). Small volumes can be stored on workbenches in approved safety cans with flame arrestors.
- If I am storing Flammable Chemicals outdoors, do I need a fire protected flammables store?
- Yes, if the proposed location of your chemical storage unit is deemed to be un safe, i.e. close to an Ignition source, Boundary, Occupied Building, Process Unit or Flammable Liquid Tank.(see table)
Quantity Stored(litres) Min. Seperation Distance Up to 10002m 1000 – 100,000 4m 100,000 7.5m Ref: HSE UK Guidance document HS(G)51
- What are the ventilation requirements for flammable chemicals?
- Flammable vapours are heavier than air and settle at floor level, so ventilation must be provided at floor level also. A minimum of 10 air changes per hour is required. If personnel will be in the store for long periods, or will be decanting in the store, forced(electrical-atex approved) ventilation should be fitted.
- Can I fit electrical equipment in my flammables store?
- Yes, you can install electrical equipment in your flammables store but it must be atex approved for use in flammable atmospheres.
- What else do I need to consider?
- If you will be pouring or mixing flammable chemicals in the flammables store, there will be a risk of ignition of the flammable vapours by static discharge. Flammable liquids should be poured in a slow controlled manner and the containers should be 'bonded/grounded' by connecting them to each other and to ground/earth with Anti-static grounding cables.
Topic 4: Compressed Gas Cylinder Storage
- What do I need to consider when storing Gas Cylinders?
- The following points should be addressed when storing compressed gas cylinders.
- Cylinders should be stored upright in a well ventilated area.
- Secure cylinders with safety chains.
- Do not use the unit for storage of other chemicals or materials e.g. oils, paints, greases etc.
- Separate Toxic and corrosive gases from all other gases. Refer to your Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for guidance.
- Provide some degree of weather protection for fittings.
- Locate the cylinder store away from sources of ignition.
- Ensure floor is level and free draining.
- Segregate cylinders according to Gas type. Use a 3 metre segregation distance or a Firewall to separate Fuel gases from other gases.
- Segregate full and empty cylinders.
- Identify the different gas types with signs.
- Consider access to store by Emergency services.