How to Store Chemicals Properly
Chemicals should be stored properly and it is important to know how to do it especially if you have a lab or a research center. There are guidelines or requirements for chemical storage that are given by the Occupations Safety and Health Administration or OSHA, that should be carefully considered. Below are the requirements given by OSHA for proper storage of chemicals.
Simply putting chemicals on shelves is not enough. Because there are different kinds of chemicals they should be separated and storage accordingly. For best results, different kinds of chemical should be stored in different cabinets or storage places.
When chemicals are mixed there is a reaction so you need to take note of this when you are storing your chemicals. Keeping chemicals away from each other especially if they have negative interaction is very important. To give an example, solvent should be kept in fire resistant cabinets but must not be stored together with oxidizing agents. Do not put acids (nitric, hydrochloric, and sulfuric) and bases (sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, slaked lime, sodium carbonate, and aqueous ammonia) together in one cabinet. When corrosive bases and joined with acids there is a risk that the mixture will generate heat. It is important to put labels to your chemicals, and cylinders should be labeled on their shoulders.
OSHA recommends that the number of storage cabinets for chemicals should be at least five cabinets. There should be one for general storage where you can put the chemicals depending on their categories or hazardous rating, the acid area where only acids are stored, an area for corrosive acids, one for corrosive bases, and another one for flammable chemicals. These cabinets should be far from sinks or water sources and should always be locked. Take precautions when storing liquid chemicals in cabinets. It is best to put these cabinets away from the sunlight but in cool, dry places. Doors of the cabinets or storage places should be installed with hazardous signs.
OSHA does not have a specific color coding system, but they recommend that you create a system that will help to identify specific chemicals. In order to classify chemicals, here is a great color coding scheme to follow: flammable chemicals can be red, reactive or oxidizing agents can be yellow, chemicals hazardous to health can be blue, corrosive chemicals can be white, and chemicals that are moderately hazardous can be green and gray.
Training on safety storage procedures should be given to people assigned to handle chemicals. OSHA recommends that training should be completed every few moths. Staff should be informed about new chemicals and should also be taught of its proper storage. The proper storage of chemicals is something that should not be neglected for its importance. The protection of property and personnel are ensured when chemicals are stored properly. The training and qualification of personnel is very important when it comes to handling chemicals.
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