Every construction site is home to a long list of dangerous chemicals, from common household chemicals to explosives. From caustic soda used by new build contractors to fuel and lubricants used in infrastructure construction and explosives in demolition, achieving site safety requires careful chemical management.
Unfortunately, working with these chemicals every day can give construction companies and their employees a false sense of security regarding their safety. After all, construction chemicals pose severe risks for human health and the environment. That’s why it’s not only important to use these chemicals safely on the job site but to store them safely as well. In fact, safe chemical storage is as important as the safe use and disposal of those chemicals.
We’ve talked about the safe handling of construction chemicals in the past, but now, let’s dive deeper into chemical storage.
1. Choose a Suitable Storage Location
Where you store your chemicals on site is as important as how you store them. These two aspects of chemical safety management work hand-in-hand. For example, if you use the correct chemical storage containers but your chemical store is too close to a source of ignition, you still risk an accident while decanting or disposing of chemicals.
Every construction site will have its own challenges in finding a suitable place for a chemical store. However, do your best to find a storage area that is away from:
- Active building works or welding to avoid sources of ignition
- Drains and watercourses to avoid environmental contamination
- Public or general view to avoid unauthorised access, theft, or vandalism
In addition to setting up in an area that is free from hazards, your chemical store also needs to provide you with enough space to apply the three principles of chemical storage safety: segregation, separation, and ventilation. Failing to incorporate these three principles in the chemical store has consequences: you might have the correct bunded drums, but if the storage location is too small to segregate incompatible chemicals, you still have a significant threat of an accident on your hands.
2. Train Employees & Contractors in All Chemical Requirements
You already know that COSHH requires chemical training for any employees working with substances that may be hazardous to their health. Their training requires them to learn:
- The hazards they’ll encounter and the associated risks
- Any workplace exposure limits
- Any exposure monitoring results
- Any accident and emergency plans
However, training your employees is the bare minimum. You should also ensure that contractors, and anyone else who works on your site regularly, should have the same training. The training should include how to decant chemicals, how to read chemical labels, and how to safely enter the chemical store, if this is part of their job description.
3. Select the Right Chemical Storage
Choosing the right chemical storage containers brings the first two tips together and creates a holistic chemical storage risk management plan. Your first step is to identify the correct storage techniques for the chemicals on your site and in your risk management plan.
Next, you’ll choose the right chemical storage cabinet to house your containers. A chemical storage cabinet is imperative on a construction site because it provides an additional layer of security in preventing unauthorised access.
Chemical storage can be purchased or rented with flexible solutions available to help make meeting COSHH requirements easier, even in the volatile world of the construction industry.
Are you on the hunt for flexible or custom chemical storage solutions? Or are you not sure where to start? Bring your unique chemical storage requirements to the experts at Safety Storage Systems. The Safety Storage Systems team can work with you to deliver a customised solution for your compliance requirements.