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Storage Guide for Hazardous Chemicals

hazardous chemical storageHazardous chemicals must be transported and stored carefully, according to specific instructions for different substances.

Businesses selling hazardous chemicals will provide guidance to the purchaser to help them meet the appropriate transport requirements necessary to load and transport the chemicals legally, safely and securely back to the workplace.

Chemical storage however is much more of a private affair, subject to less scrutiny than transported goods but improper chemical storage can lead to contamination, fires, spills and accidental inhalation or ingestion.

Before considering the design of the shed, the location should be decided. It should be in a flood free area, meet the building regulations in terms of proximity to living quarters and away from sensitive areas.

Secure and proper storage will help to prevent theft, protect the integrity of the products stored, as well as help to ensure the safety of children that may play in the area.

The following 10 point guide will help you organise a compliant and functional shed for your chemical storage needs:

1) Fire and weather resistant structure: chemicals should be protected from extreme heat and UV.

2) Ventilated: cross flow and roof exhaust vent.

3) Fire extinguisher, first aid kit and PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) should be kept nearby and maintain a safety shower and eyewash station capable of a 15 minute eyewash in the event of a pesticide splash into the eyes.

4) Lockable with a child proof latch and appropriate signage.

5) Emergency plan with emergency contact numbers and SDS nearby. Poisons information centre number and diagram of assembly area should be mounted near entrance.

6) Segregated and correctly stored: separate flammables from non-flammables by at least 3 metres and pesticides from animal food and feed/seeds/fertilizers, out of direct sunlight and away from materials that burn readily like oils, hay, straw, old tyres, saw dust and tall dry grass. Solids should be stored above liquids.

7) Spill kit should be kept inside the storage area, suitable for the chemicals housed.

8) Bunded non slip concrete floor to contain 25% of total volume or 100% of the largest package.

9) Original containers with intact legible label, never decant into food/beverage container.

10) Well lit with strong metal shelving to prevent people stacking drums on top of each other.

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