How to Store Hazardous Chemicals in the Workplace: A Helpful Guide

Saturday, February 8th 2020, 3:17 am
By: News On 6

Hazardous Chemical

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there are dozens of hazardous chemicals that many companies store in the facilities that they operate.

Some, like chlorine and nitric oxide, are chemicals that most people have heard of before. Others, like perchloromethyl mercaptan and tetrafluorohydrazine, are a little more off the radar.

But regardless of how well-known hazardous chemicals are, they can all cause catastrophes in your company’s facility if they’re not stored correctly. It’s why you need to take the proper steps to ensure that the chemicals your company uses are kept in the right places and handled with great care.

Here is a useful guide that will help you store hazardous chemicals in the workplace.

Create a Master List of All the Hazardous Chemicals in Your Workplace

Before you can start to make a chemical storage plan for your facility, it’s important for you to know which hazardous chemicals are going to be stored. You should create a master list of each and every chemical located in your workplace.

This list should obviously include the names of the chemicals that you’re going to keep stored away in your facility. But it should also include a breakdown of the different properties that make each individual chemical unique.

You’ll want to make a note if a hazardous chemical is flammable, corrosive, or toxic. You’ll also want to point out if a hazardous chemical will react negatively when left out in the sun or stored with other chemicals.

Your goal should be to jot down as much as you can about each hazardous chemical that your company will be storing. It’ll make it so much easier for you to find the best way to put chemicals into storage without causing problems.

Identify the Potential Risks Associated With Each Chemical

Hazardous chemicals are referred to as “hazardous” for a reason. They come with all kinds of potential risks that could put you and those who work in your workplace on a daily basis in harm’s way.

There are some chemicals that could cause a fire or spark an explosion in certain cases. There are others that could asphyxiate those in their general area if they happen to leak out. There are even chemicals that could expose people to carcinogens and cause them to develop cancer over time.

Your job is to identify all the different risks that are associated with your specific chemicals right from the start. It’s important for you and your employees to know what they are and what impact they could have on you.

Figure Out Ways to Manage the Risks That Come With Each Chemical

There is no way to completely eliminate the risks that come along with the hazardous chemicals that you keep in your facility. There is always going to be at least a tiny chance that something could go wrong in your facility and lead to an issue with your chemicals.

But you can manage the risks associated with your chemicals and strive the minimize them as best you can with regards to storing them.

For example, let’s say that your company stores a highly flammable and potentially explosive chemical in your facility. You can take these steps to manage the risks associated with it:

  • Store it somewhere on the perimeter of your property
  • Place it inside the proper storage equipment (more on this in a minute!)
  • Ban employees from smoking anywhere in the general vicinity of it
  • Ask employees to wear the right personal protective equipment when accessing it

By doing these things, you can decrease the risks of this particular hazardous chemical. You should take the same approach to manage the risks associated with every chemical that you store.

Invest in the Right Storage Equipment for Your Chemicals

As we mentioned a few moments ago, it’s essential for you to store hazardous chemicals inside of the right storage equipment when they’re being stored in your workplace. There are many different types of equipment used for hazardous chemical storage.

Some of the most common examples are:

  • Explosive storage cabinets
  • Corrosive storage cabinets
  • Flammable cabinets
  • Racks and cages for gas cylinders

In addition to placing chemicals into the right storage equipment, you should also situate that equipment in the right areas.

If you have chemicals that cannot be placed outside in the sun, you’ll need to find a suitable storage area inside for them. If you have two different chemicals that could cause violent reactions if they come into contact with one another, they should be put in different parts of your facility.

Keep this in mind when trying to find the right places for your hazardous chemical storage equipment.

Reassess Your Hazardous Chemical Storage Plan Every So Often

It’s going to take some careful planning. But you should be able to find the right spots to put the hazardous chemicals that you’re going to store in your workplace.

From there, you’ll need to reassess your hazardous chemical storage plan every so often to make sure it still works for you. You should be especially mindful of doing this whenever you add new chemicals to the mix in your facility.

This will help you continue to keep your workplace safe. It’ll also show your commitment to storing chemicals in the right way at all times, which will help you avoid OSHA penalties.

Keep Your Workplace Safe When Storing Hazardous Chemicals

For many companies, there’s no getting around storing hazardous chemicals. These companies need these chemicals to carry out their operations.

But that doesn’t mean that your workplace needs to turn into a dangerous place. you can keep it every bit as safe as most other workplaces by going above and beyond as far as figuring out where to store chemicals.

Keep the tips found here in mind when concocting a hazardous chemical storage plan. They’ll make your workplace as safe as it can be.

Read our blog to find more tips on improving workplace safety.

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