How To Safely Store Hazardous Chemicals
We interact with many different chemicals each day, whether we realize it or not. Regular household chemicals are typically fairly easy to deal with, but when we utilize various chemicals in the workplace, the importance of proper storage is magnified.
Whatever the business or industry in question, each of the products has particular storage requirements that are designed to keep the products pure and effective, as well as to promote safety for people who use and handle them. Following these requirements carefully can prevent damage, save money, and help avoid accidents.
Here is a three-part strategy for good practices in chemical storage and handling. Implemented in the context of storage areas with sufficient space, security, and spill containment capacity, it can help you formulate your handling procedures.
Begin with the Label
Because every product has unique attributes, its storage is unique as well. A simple example is chlorine products used in swimming pools. These need to be stored in a well-ventilated area that permits any lingering fumes to dissipate quickly. Other chemicals react with water and should be stored in tightly-sealed containers to keep the contents dry.
Instead of guessing at how a product should be handled, review its label and consult its Material Safety Data Sheet(MSDS) to verify that you are following the correct procedures. Train personnel and document their education for future reference.
Certain products are so specialized in their use and storage requirements that they call for some in-depth training. Because of the time involved in such an effort, it can be helpful to have only a few essential people who are permitted access to the products.
This simplifies the training process (as well as management of those records) and removes another task from personnel who don’t really need to use the chemicals to begin with. Create a storage space exclusively for these specialized products, and restrict access only to personnel who truly need it.
Logging information is always a good idea. Many times, problems with chemicals cannot be immediately traced, so if workers use in-out logs and other tools of documentation, they will create a reliable path for reviewing events should a problem develop. This is particularly important for seldom-used products that can go untouched for weeks; a good log is the only way to create a timeline without relying on workers’ memories. Document when products were accessed at what times and in what amounts so that any problems in the future can be quickly investigated.
Chemicals of many types are essential to many different manufacturing, production, and maintenance processes. Appropriate storage techniques require the right facilities, training, and information for safe and efficient use.