Safe, compliant chemical storage means storing all hazardous substances in the correct container and in a space with an appropriate amount of space and ventilation, and using appropriate signage. The process sounds straightforward. Yet, with every chemical class or individual chemical added to the inventory, your storage solution requires more thought and customisation.
Putting together a chemical storage assessment plan informed by a COSHH risk assessment is a must, but where do you start? Use these three principles to get your new chemical storage solution or updated plan ready to go.
Identify Your Chemical Classes from Your Inventory
When planning chemical storage solutions, the first place that you must start is with your chemical inventory. Your chemical inventory is a powerful tool for reviewing stock and recording hazard classifications but also identifying any redundant chemicals or chemicals that you can replace with an option carrying less risk.
For this process, begin by identifying your chemical classes and then planning the segregated storage requirements.
For example, if you store nitric acid, then you have a Category 1 and Category 3 CLP classification, which means it it is:
- Oxidising liquid (Category 3)
- Corrosive to metal (Category 1)
- Acute Inhalation Toxicity – Dusts and Mists (Category 3)
- Skin Corrosion/Irritation (Category 1)
- Serious Eye Damage/Eye Irritation (Category 1)
Use Safety Data Sheets to Dive Deeper
Once you have your classes and have identified the need for segregation, you can dive deeper into the individual chemicals within those classes.
Each chemical’s Safety Data Sheet (SDS) provides information from the manufacturer on the correct storage for that chemical.
Let’s return to nitric acid. Fisher Scientific’s nitric acid SDS says that you must keep nitric acid containers tightly closed in a cool, well-ventilated place. You must also keep it away from combustible materials, strong bases, metals, finely powdered metals, and organic materials. For example, you must store it away from any flammable substances as well as:
- acetic acid
- chromic acid
- hydrocyanic acid
- hydrogen sulfide
In short, you’re going to need to keep nitric acid in its own secondary container, usually bunded stores with plastic spill trays.
Consider Your Storage Location & Capacity
The next issue is storage location. At a minimum, you will need a secure location (locked, away from direct sunlight, localised heat, and sources of ignition) and with the appropriate ventilation. You should also review if you will need cooling or extraction systems.
Location and capacity of your available space play a role in the amount and type of chemicals you can store and the tools you use to store them. COSHH cabinets and external bunded cabinets play a role not only in general chemical store capacity but in expanding the areas where you can store those chemicals.
Choosing storage solutions for your chemicals and hazardous materials is a complex process, but getting it right will protect your business, your workers, and your reputation. Safety Storage Systems works with companies like yours to create custom chemical storage solutions. Contact our expert team to learn more.