Chemicals are a key part of the manufacturing process: automotive manufacturers use as many as 10,000 chemicals from start-to-end of a single automobile.
While chemicals make incredible feats of engineering and manufacturing possible, they also come with significant risks. Chemical storage is a weighty part of safe chemical handling, and manufacturing companies have a long list of regulations to comply with, particularly the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH).
How do you get started choosing manufacturing chemical storage solutions? It’s all about customisation.
1. Perform a COSHH Risk Assessment
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution in chemical safety. Every choice made depends on the results of a risk assessment; and risk assessments are unique to each manufacturer.
Performing a COSHH chemical risk assessment will ensure you have the correct storage area and provide the right considerations for chemical storage. The process occurs in five stages including:
- Identifying the chemical hazards
- Noting all impacted persons
- Listing all relevant risks associated with the hazards (including likelihood and severity)
- Assess corrective action via the hierarchy of controls (e.g., storage solutions, training, PPE, operational changes)
- Create a standard operating procedure and emergency response system.
Once complete, you minimise the risk posed by storing hazardous substances through the hierarchy of controls.
2. Identify Performance Requirements
The results of the risk assessment will provide the exact hazards posed by chemical storage. Use these results to identify the key requirements of your chemical storage solution.
A few common examples found among most manufacturing companies include:
- Do you have incompatible chemicals? Keep them segregated in marked product bays. For example, segregate by families and then hazard classes.
- Are your chemicals flammable? You need both a safety container and a storage cabinet, and flammable liquids must be stored separated from other chemicals and any ignition sources, including sunlight, open flames, and hot sources.
- Will your storage be pure storage, or will you decant chemicals in the store? Decanting chemicals includes extra risk, including splashing, vapours and fumes, overflow, and work activities that may create ignition.
3. Decide Whether to Build or Buy
Chemical storage isn’t strictly limited to the quality of the chemical itself: a manufacturing plant must also account for operational procedures and the layout of the facility. Some of the common chemical stores found in product manufacturing include:
- Chemical storage tank
- Corrosive cabinet
- Chemical locker
- Bunded chemical storage
- Fire protected drum stores
- Temperature controlled stores
- Walk-in chemical stores
While some risk assessments call for an off-the-rack solution, you may find it necessary to choose a custom or made-to-order chemical storage solution.
Some of the customisable features available for manufacturers include:
- Electrical fit-out
- Door positions
- Exact dimensions
- Extraction systems
- Internal layout for segregation
- Combination of walk-in and pallet storage
4. Keep Chemical Storage Area Secure
The safe storage of chemicals starts with the right chemical storage solution. But with your chemical storage solution chosen and installed, it is now up to you to keep it secure.
Security applies to human intervention and accidents that can lead to fires, fumes, and contamination. Some of the ways you will secure the chemical storage area include:
- Affix the correct labels on containers and storage
- Provide catchment areas when needed
- Provide sills to prevent spillage
- Ensure enough drainage to cope with accidental spills and provide drain seals
- Provide locks, fences, welded mesh, alarms, and lockable covers as appropriate for security
- Invest in bunded trolleys for transport between storage and manufacturing floor
Above all, the safety of you and your staff is paramount when considering storage options for your manufacturing facility. The experts at Safety Storage can work with you to ensure your chemical storage meets all your needs without compromising quality or safety.
Contact the chemical storage specialists today and one of our team of experts will be in touch to help uncover the best solution for your needs.