Understanding Chemical Storage Best Practices
Depending on the chemical you’re storing, various best practices would/should apply. No matter what kind of chemical you’re dealing with, however, the floor is never a good place to store chemicals – not even temporarily. You should, at all costs, avoid storing chemicals on the floor. Rather, eye level is the appropriate place to at least begin discussing chemical storage. But no higher than that! Storing chemicals higher than eye level means you must reach up for them, which is never recommended.
Shelves are undoubtedly one of the best places in which to store chemicals, or sometimes in an enclosed cabinet. If you’re using shelves, the assemblies must be securely fastened to the wall to avoid tipping over. For chemical storage within large, customized containers, these containers can and should be treated with a thermal sprayed application to avoid the corrosive properties of a chemical eating through the container. Later, we’ll tell you the best place for these types of thermal sprayed applications.
Let’s look at chemical storage best practices.
Inspections should be done often and possibly even scheduled to make sure they get done. If the chemicals are used regularly, they will likely be looked at frequently. But if the chemicals don’t get used for a long time, a scheduled inspection will ensure that they get checked over just in case a container is leaking or expired.
In chemical storage areas, look for the following unusual conditions:
- Fire equipment missing, broken, or blocked
- Open matches or lights or smoking
- The accumulation of trash
- Lack of security
- Doors that are blocked
- Aisles or exits that are blocked
- Low lighting levels or a lack of light
- Storage areas that are too cold or too hot – extreme temperatures should be avoided
- Chemical spills
- Deteriorating or leaking containers
Note: A lack of warning signs is never recommended. This includes the following:
- “Chemical Storage”
- “Corrosive Acids”
- “Flammable Liquids”
- “No Smoking”
Expired Chemical Removal
Any chemicals that have expired need to be removed as soon as possible. Hidden away in storage areas and cabinets, many expired chemicals go unnoticed. If you don’t remove these substances, big regulatory fines could await you!
MSDS (material safety data sheets) should be used where labeling is concerned on every chemical. This is so that anyone handling or working with substances will know what the chemical properties are and be able to take, if necessary, any precautions needed. Expiration dates should also be on all labels.
Avoid Rocking and Rolling
This, of course, refers to the shelves on which your chemicals are stored – not the music. It was mentioned earlier that shelves should be secured so that they don’t rock or tip over. Island shelves should be avoided and replaced by secured shelf assemblies. Additionally, anti-roll lips should be on every shelf.
Liquids in Containers
Double contained packaging or unbreakable packaging should be used to store liquids. The storage cabinet in which the chemicals are contained should have the capacity, in case the container breaks, to hold the contents.
While on the topic of storage cabinets, flammable materials in particular should be stored in the appropriately rated cabinet.
Segregate Your Chemicals
Not all chemicals are compatible, so separately, by hazardous class code, incompatible chemicals should be stored. Away from other groups of chemicals, store like chemicals together. The reason for segregating them from other chemicals is that if mixed, reactions could be caused.
Remember, as mentioned earlier, chemicals should always be stored at eye-level, but no higher. In addition to storing chemicals at eye level or below, never, ever store chemicals on the top shelf of a storage unit. Again, the floor is never a good place for chemical storage, not even temporarily.
The Best Anti-Corrosive Coatings
Turn to A&A Coatings for your anti-corrosive, thermal sprayed chemical resistant coatings, be they inside a container applied to components and/or parts, or on a surface. Throughout the world, we assist numerous Industries with coatings that are anti-corrosive, wear resistant, and more