How to Safely Store Chemicals at Work Sites

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( — October 20, 2019) — Worksites and businesses that use chemicals are legally bound to follow strict safety rules. However, you may need to go beyond the minimum requirements to make sure that employee and buildings are completely safe. Keep in mind the usual hazards of improperly stored chemicals, such as fires. Spills, especially acids, can cause structural damage even without the flames. Here’s what businesses and managers can do to ensure chemicals are stored properly:

Use the Right Storage Material

Different types of chemicals require storage units made with different materials. Acids, for example, require plastic-type containers, and not metals. The material would depend on what you need contained. It’s easy to go wrong here. Don’t mistake that one container labeled safe for a particular chemical would universally suit other chemicals as well. Do your research and find out which types of containers are best for storing the type of chemical your company has in hand. 

Keep Cans in Fireproof Storage Units

It’s highly recommended to purchase flammable liquid safety cabinets to store cans or containers of chemicals. This will help reduce the risk of accidents. More importantly, in the case of an incident like a blaze, the storage cabinet would prevent the flames from reaching the chemicals and worsening the inferno. Not all jurisdictions require this by law, but businesses should upgrade security with equipment like these. 

Restrict Access to Storage Areas

Don’t allow employees to freely walk in and out of areas where flammable chemicals are stores. This is would only increase the risk of an accident. An employee could knock over a can of dangerous liquid, or a smoker could spark a disaster. It’s hard to predict what could go wrong. For that reason, keep chemicals stored in a locked area. Only allow access to employees who need to use them for a particular project. 

Keep Flammable Chemicals in a Ventilated Area

One of the recommendations offered for fire protection in Toronto is keeping flammable chemical containers in well ventilated areas. Proper ventilation can prevent hazardous gases created by evaporating chemicals from accumulating. It allows noxious fumes to escape, reducing the risk of a blaze. In case an accident happens, the right ventilation could help carbon monoxide escape. Follow the regulations in your areas to install ventilation in chemical storage areas correctly. 

Labeling Could Save Lives

Chemical containers require appropriate labeling, preferably with the name of the chemical on it. It’s recommended to label all liquid containers at a worksite. This means even the water cans require a label. It would help workers distinguish which container has what. Don’t leave anything to speculation, not even for water. As worksites tend to have many types of containers on hand, it’s easy to confuse one unit with the other. Labeling can help avert a disaster caused by a simple mistake. 

Regulatory agencies additionally recommend that companies develop strong policies and guidelines for handling chemicals, especially the potentially hazardous types. All workers who come near harmful chemicals must be trained in how to handle the containers. It’s best if everyone on the worksite is well trained. Follow the above guidelines in addition to ensure utmost safety at your worksite.