Requirements for Storing Chemicals
If you have a laboratory or research center using chemicals, it is important to know how to properly store them. 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. Chemical storage should follow these requirements.
Simply putting chemicals on shelves is not enough. Because there are different kinds of chemicals they should be separated and storage accordingly. There should be different storage places or cabinets for different kinds of chemicals.
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. Solvents and oxidizing agents should not be put together, and solvents should be kept in cabinets that are fire resistant. 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. Mixing acids and bases generate heat and thus put the storage facility at risk. Labels should be put on chemical containers and labels should be put on cylinder shoulders.
The recommendation of the OSHA is that there should be at least five chemical storage areas or cabinets. These five storage cabinets can contain the following: general chemicals for the first cabinet where chemicals are put depending on category and hazardous rating, acids for the second cabinet, corrosive acids for the third, corrosive bases for the fourth, and flammable chemicals for the last cabinet. These cabinets should be far from sinks or water sources and should always be locked. It should be a concern that there might be excessive chemical vapors from liquid chemicals kept in cabinets. For better safety, these cabinets should be kept away from the sunlight and placed in cool, dry areas. Hazardous signs should be put up on cabinets or storage places for chemicals.
To help identify chemicals quickly, it has been recommended by OSHA to create a color coding system because they do not have a specific system that everyone should follow. 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. It is very important to store chemicals properly. The protection of property and personnel are ensured when chemicals are stored properly. Trained and qualified personnel should be able to handle chemicals properly to ensure safety in the facility.
Source: door water barrier