Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) contain general recommendations for the safe storage of a hazardous product. These recommendations provide a good starting point for deciding where and how the product should be stored. The storage conditions in your workplace should be based on workplace-specific factors: the hazards of the product (health, fire and reactivity), the amounts in storage, types of containment (bulk or smaller containers), and the way the product is used.
General Safe Storage Guidelines
- KEEP storage areas well ventilated and away from sources of heat and direct sunlight.
- USE chemically-resistant structural materials in the storage area and ventilation system (e.g. corrosion-resistant).
- USE approved containers. Be aware of any special venting requirements (e.g. for flammables, corrosives).
- DO NOT STORE incompatible materials together.
- Dangerous combinations include:
- Acids + Bases
- Flammables + Oxidizers
- Water Reactives + Aqueous Solutions
- DO NOT STORE chemicals in alphabetical order, except within a grouping of compatible chemicals.
- DO NOT STORE materials in a fumehood unless the hood is dedicated to that purpose.
- DO NOT STORE chemicals in a domestic refrigerator or freezer.
- KEEP an inventory of materials in storage and their amounts and locations.
- KEEP storage area separate from work areas and emergency exits.
- ENSURE all stored materials are properly labeled.
- ENSURE everyone is aware of emergency procedures.
- ENSURE appropriate spill control and fire protection equipment is readily available in or near the storage area.
- USE secondary containment trays to contain potential spills.
- KEEP empty containers closed. Empty containers may contain hazardous residue.
- RESTRICT access to chemical storage areas to authorized personnel only. Keep highly hazardous materials under lock and key.
- MAINTAIN good housekeeping and minimize clutter.
- INSPECT storage area and containers regularly for signs of leaks, corrosion or other damage. Report damaged containers for removal by specialists.
Examples of Hazard-Specific Guidelines
- USE only the type of container recommended by the manufacturer.
- STORE acids and bases separately.
- STORE oxidizing acids (e.g. nitric, perchloric) away from other acids.
- ELIMINATE sources of ignition.
- BOND and GROUND metal containers/cylinders.
- STORE in approved flammable storage cabinet, fridge or freezers, according to the fire code and as recommended by the manufacturer.
- KEEP away from oxidizing materials.
- SECURE cylinders to a wall or rack in an upright position.
- STORE empty cylinders in a separate location, clearly marked "empty".
- PROTECT cylinder bottoms from corrosion by keeping area dry.
- DO NOT STORE for extended periods of time.
Plan and prepare for emergencies...
Storage areas are frequent sites for spills and other emergencies. Plan, prepare and practice your emergency procedures.
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