For most companies, chemicals have an important role to play in their daily business operations. Whether these are proprietary substances that are used in manufacturing processes or solvents used for degreasing or cleaning, these hazardous materials can always be found in the workplace.
The most significant measure is to be able to mitigate the risk of chemical exposure to the environment or the employees is to practice proper handling and storage.
For chemicals that are highly hazardous, it is best to have them stored of people’s reach in a suitable chemical storage cabinet and have trainer personnel handle them when necessary.
Identify the Chemicals
Before you hurry into buying, you need to determine the varieties and types of chemicals that are used in the facility. Every chemical that is used in the operation needs to have a material safety data sheet.
This data sheet has the information on proper handling and storage requirements for every chemical in the operations.
There are different factors that should be considered once you have understood the attributes of chemicals that you are storing. Some of the typical considerations are: ignition control, temperature control, chemical segregation, proper ventilation, and chemical identification.
Making sure that chemicals are segregated is very important to ensure the safety of the employees. Proper segregation guarantees that incompatible materials would be able to avoid inadvertent contact. Combustion, fire, toxic or noxious gases, and violent chemical reactions are the consequences of chemical segregation that is improperly done.
Acids should never be stored with bases while oxidizers should not be kept with organic materials or any reducing agent. The best practice is to separate storage areas or include a physical barrier.
Storage Cabinet Considerations
When selecting a chemical storage cabinet to segregate chemicals, you need to consider the compatibility of the chemicals with the materials used in the construction of the cabinet.
Also, corrosive properties of these chemicals should also be considered when searching for metal cabinets. For instance, corrosives like caustics or strong acids are likely to corrode the majority of cabinets that have metal construction. Chromic acid, sulfuric acid, acetic acid, nitric acid, and hydrofluoric acid, as well as common bases like potassium hydroxide, ammonium hydroxide, and sodium hydroxide should not be store in metal.
Epoxy painted or non-metallic cabinets are the better choice for these substances. These will provide them with a greater service life for strong corrosives.
In case of flammables, the recommended choice is metal storage cabinets. There are also types of cabinets that are exclusive only for flammables that will minimize the risk and damage to the facilities and employees in case of a spill or accident.
Additional Safety Considerations
There are additional considerations when it comes to selecting a storage cabinet such as the size of the storage area, as well as the quantity of the chemicals.