Pesticides are used in a vast number of U.K. workplaces and as such, their potential for presenting a health hazard can be often overlooked. However, like any chemicals, if incorrectly stored they can pose a very real danger through fumes, fire, combustion, or other hazardous reactions. To help ensure more efficient, effective pesticide safety in the workplace, the team at Safety Storage Systems has put together this quick guide outlining 5 best pesticide storage practices.
- Don’t store pesticides beyond their expiration date
Once their expiration date has passed, chemicals become unstable and pose a greater danger to your employees. As a general rule, you should disposing of all pesticides after two years. However, some of them will have even shorter shelf lives before they begin to break down, making it important to pay attention to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
- Keep a restricted, designated pesticide storage area
One of the easiest ways to ensure a safe work environment is to designate a specific area for storing pesticides. Your pesticide storage unit should be lockable and only authorised personnel should be granted access. Use relevant workplace and chemical safety signage to indicate the restricted access and to urge employees to take extreme care when working in this area.
The chemical containers, a secondary containment measure such as a spill tray, and a spill clean-up kit should be the only items store in the pesticide storage area. By limiting the items stored and specifically the type of chemicals stored in the area, confusion can be avoided and the risk of accidents or mishaps limited. The capacity of the bund /spill tray will need to be a minimum of 120% of the volume of pesticides stored or 190% if the store is to be located in a environmentally sensitive area e.g. in a area prone to flooding or adjacent to a river or stream.
- Inspect pesticide containers regularly
The chemical containers should be visually inspected regularly, to ensure they remain stable while locked away in the pesticide storage unit. A member or members of the team should be responsible for checking pesticide containers for signs of leaks or corrosion. It’s also recommended to visually inspect the contents to see if your pesticides have started to breakdown.
If an oil spray has sludge form on the top, or if the solution separates, it is no longer usable. Similarly, if dusts, granules or wettable powders have excessive lumping in their formulation, they should be disposed of. For emulsifiable concentrations, if the addition of water doesn’t produce a milky solution, it has likewise begun to breakdown.
- Keep pesticide containers securely sealed
To avoid contamination and emitting harmful fumes and spills, all pesticide containers should be securely sealed when not in use. When possible, store pesticides in their original containers, as these were specifically designed for each unique formulation. Moreover, the original container from the manufacturer will feature clear labels and instructions and align with the safety data sheet. When replacing the pesticides in your pesticide store, ensure that caps are tightened securely on all bottles and cans.
- Control the temperature of pesticides storage units
If pesticide chemicals freeze or overheat, they will become unstable and can have dangerous reactions. Eliminate the risk of toxic fumes, fires or other health hazards by storing the chemicals at the temperature recommended on their original packaging or MSDS provided by the manufacturer. Ensure to monitor the temperature within a pesticide storage unit on a daily basis.
For further advice or assistance on the safe storage of pesticides, contact the expert team at Safety Storage Systems UK. We can assist in assessing your requirements and recommend a pesticides storage solution that fits your unique needs.