This hazardous waste will need to be stored in a safe manner in a bunded chemical store. In fact, waste chemicals can pose a greater risk and demand more attention from a safe storage point of view that new chemical stock. Therefore, it is ever so important that you practice safe and effective hazardous waste management.
It is common practice for your waste chemicals to be collected by a licensed waste contractor for recycling or disposal. They are normally collected in 205/210 litre U.N. approved drums/barrels which means that you will have an operation where you are filling these waste drums with waste chemicals from smaller lab containers. This decanting or transfer operation can take place in your Chemical Store, but you will need to put in some hazardous waste management safety measures. These include:
Bunding – The chemical store that you use for hazardous waste management needs to be bunded with a minimum bund capacity of 110% of your single largest container or 25% of the total volume of chemical waste that you propose to store (whichever is the largest).
Ventilation – Transferral of waste chemicals from containers to drums will create vapours which will need to be extracted from the store. Electrical extractors will need to be Ex/atex rated if you are storing highly flammable chemicals.
PPE – Safety goggles, masks, safety clothing and eye protection will need to be provided for all staff involved in hazardous waste management.
Segregation – Reference should be made to the material safety data sheets to determine the compatibility of your waste chemicals and whether segregation is required.
Lighting – Lighting will be required to provide safe working conditions when managing hazardous waste.
Anti-Static Grounding – If your waste chemicals are highly flammable, you will need to install an anti-static grounding kit to reduce the risk of ignition of flammable vapours by static discharge.
Signage – Safety signage should be fitted to the door of the chemical store used for hazardous waste storage.
Access – Ramps will be needed if waste drums are going to be moved in and out of the chemical store by drum trolleys.
Access / Security – The waste chemical store should be secure to prevent unauthorised access. A key element of effective hazardous waste management is ensuring that only authorised personnel enter the storage area.
Used or empty chemical drums, if they have not been rinsed out, can never be considered as fully empty or safe and must therefore be stored in the same way as full chemical drums. If your factory, school, university, farm or other workplace stores hazardous chemicals, then you need to have a plan in place for hazardous waste management.