Home / News & Views

Are all of your hazardous materials stored safely and securely? Do you know if your chemical storage containers meet regulatory requirements?

Regardless of your business’ size, you must meet chemical storage rules and regulations. In this guide, we’ll cover what you need to know about chemical storage as a small business owner, including:

  • Why chemical storage matters
  • Whether you do or don’t need chemical storage
  • General rules for storage compliance and chemical safety
  • An overview of chemical storage containers that suit small businesses.

Why Chemical Storage Is Important

Safe chemical storage shouldn’t be a box-ticking exercise; though, there are regulatory requirements you need to work through.

When you carefully build out a chemical storage system, you are:

  • Meeting regulatory requirements: COSHH requirements apply to all organisations of every size in the UK. Safe chemical storage is a key part of meeting those requirements.
  • Protecting workers’ health and safety: When stored incorrectly, chemicals pose a significant risk to the health and safety of not only workers, but also site visitors and the wider environment.
  • Maintaining product integrity: Products stored in incorrect temperatures or containers may lose their efficacy and even become unstable, making them unsuitable for use. Storing in the correct conditions protects your chemical inventory and all products and processes associated with them.

Do You Need Chemical Storage?

If you store chemicals, you need to store them safely. Even new start-ups and small organisations need chemical storage if you store hazardous materials of any quantity on-premises.

Here’s an example of why even a small business needs chemical storage containers and strong safety practices:

You run a microbrewery and store chemicals like sodium hydroxide (caustic soda), nitric acid, peracetic acid, chlorinated alkaline cleaners, and non-caustic cleaners.

The correct storage for sodium hydroxide requires a stable temperature between 10 and 25 degrees Celsius, ventilation to avoid the build-up of fumes, a space away from heat sources, and a secondary containment structure.

Storing sodium hydroxide incorrectly can lead to:

  • Waste of product due to crystallisation (also damages storage containers)
  • Damage to brewing equipment due to reactions between spoiled product and medals
  • Greater likelihood of spills
  • Heightened safety risks if exposure occurs
  • Build-up of fumes that threaten health and safety, and lead to reactions in the storage area.

General Rules for Chemical Storage

Each chemical storage solution differs based on the type of chemicals you store and the area in which you store them.

The following list is a starting point for the important considerations for having hazardous material on site:

  • Temperature control: All chemicals have a safe temperature range, and many products can be stored in ambient temperatures. However, some chemicals require particularly strict controls, or your external storage environment may experience substantially high or low temperatures that could impact stored products. In any case, you need to ensure your storage system accounts for the temperature range of the chemicals you store.
  • Fire protection: Ignition leading to fires and explosions is one of the primary risks to account for in chemical storage. If you have flammable materials, you should account for storage with additional fire protection features.
  • Segregation: Segregating chemicals during storage is essential to prevent chemical reactions that could lead to fires or toxic gas release. It also helps to minimise the risk of cross-contamination, ensuring the safety of personnel, property, and the environment.
  • Security and access: Whether it’s theft or unauthorised use, the issue of security is a significant one. Even allowing those who aren’t trained to get near the chemical store can cause a huge risk to site safety.
  • Ventilation: Ventilation is a key feature of any chemical storage area, and some chemicals demand ventilation. Ventilation helps to prevent the build-up of fumes and gases, which in some cases can be as dangerous as the chemicals themselves.

Explore the Product: Chemical Storage Containers

Safety Storage Systems offer a range of products that are made-to-order. You can work with our team to order your storage system according to your unique requirements, including custom dimensions, signage, and finish.

In addition to providing essential features, we have also designed some innovative products, such as fire suppressing stores.

We work directly with our clients to build the correct storage system, which may include a mix of products as well as new customisations. For example for an aviation client, we delivered a new system that included:

  • Adjustable shelving,  
  • Atex lighting 
  • Temperature control 
  • Atex fire detection 
  • Atex smoke and heat detectors (linked to fire alarm panel on site) 

Read the case study: Custom-Built Temperature Controlled Storage Environment for an Aviation Services Client 

Chemical stores: Chemical stores are structures designed to warehouse hazardous chemicals. Safety Storage Systems’ stores are bunded, which protects you from spillages and leaks. 

Products include: 

  • Bunded drum stores 
  • Bunded IBC stores 
  • Walk-in chemical stores 
  • Walk-in flammables storage units 
  • Lithium ion battery stores 
  • Fire protected drum stores 
  • Fire protected IBC stores 
  • Combi stores 
  • Temperature controlled stores 
  • Pesticide stores 
  • Clinical waste stores 
  • Gas cylinder storage 
  • Rental stores 
  • Used stores 

Chemical storage cabinets: Use chemical storage cabinets for both internal and external storage areas. These cabinets are suitable for storing flammables, corrosives, oils, and toxic chemicals. 

Products include: 

  • Flammable cabinets 
  • Gas cylinder cabinets 
  • IBC cabinets 
  • Corrosive cabinets 
  • Bunded drum cabinets 
  • Multi-risk cabinets 
  • Ductless fume hoods 

Spill trays & spill control: Within your storage cabinet or store, you need a form of spill protection that will better prevent spills and mitigate the damage if they do happen. 

Products include: 

  • Spill trays 
  • Spill pallets 
  • Spill decks 
  • IBC bunds 
  • Pallet rack bund 
  • Bunded trolleys 
  • Drum dispensing 
  • Chemical shelving 
  • Drain seals 
  • Containment barriers 
  • IBC tilter 
  • Chemical transport boxes 
  • IBC/Drum heating jackets 
  • MSDS document box 

Get Started With Your Chemical Storage

Do you have more questions or are you ready to get started? You can call, email, or request a quote from our team of experts. Click here to get in touch today.