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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. Here are the chemical storage requirements that we should comply with.

It is not enough to just put all the chemicals that you use on shelves. Chemicals of different kinds should be separated and stored according to their kind. Different chemicals should not be put together in a cabinet but rather there should be put in different storage places or cabinets for different kinds of chemicals.

When you are storing chemicals, remember that these chemicals can interact. If there is negative interaction between two types of chemicals, they should be kept far away from each other. An example of this would be to store solvents together in a fire-resistant cabinet, but you should keep oxidizing agents away from them. Acids like nitric, hydrochloric, and sulfuric acids should be kept away from bases like sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, slaked lime, sodium carbonate, and aqueous ammoia. Mixing acids and bases generate heat and thus put the storage facility at risk. 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. The first one is for general storage where chemicals are put depending on their category or hazardous rating, the next is the cabinet for acids only, then there is a cabinet for corrosive acids, another for corrosive bases and the last for flammable chemicals. These cabinets should be far from sinks or water sources and should always be locked. When liquids are kept in safety cabinets, excessive chemical vapors may be a concern. It is best to put these cabinets away from the sunlight but in cool, dry places. Hazardous signs should be put up on cabinets or storage places for chemicals.

OSHA does not have a specific color coding system, but they recommend that you create a system that will help to identify specific chemicals. An example color coding scheme would be as follows: red for flammable chemicals, yellow for reactive or oxidizing agents, blue for chemicals hazardous to health, white for corrosive chemicals, and green and gray for chemicals that are moderately hazardous.

Training on safety storage procedures should be given to people assigned to handle chemicals. The recommendation of OSHA is that training should done every few months. If there are new chemicals, every staff should know about it and they should be taught on how to properly store it. 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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