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Introduction: Proper chemical storage is essential in assuring a safe work environment. This guideline will help you store chemicals safely in your workplace. General Guidelines: 1. Segregate incompatible chemicals. Do not store chemicals Alphabetically, except within a hazard class. Hazard classes that should be stored separately include: Radioactive Materials Pyrophoric Materials Flammable Materials Oxidizing Materials Water Reactive Substances Oxidizing Acids Inorganic Acids Organic Acids Caustics Poisons
2. Do not store excessive quantities of chemicals in research laboratory. Purchase the minimum amount required and dispose of unneeded chemicals in a timely fashion. 3. Date bottles of chemicals when they are opened. Peroxidizable chemicals such as isopropyl ether should be tested periodically or discard according to the time limits. Discard any chemical of dubious purity (by the usual waste disposal procedures) if it cannot be purified safely. 4. Store reagents on shelves or in cabinets. Store large bottles of chemicals on the lowest shelves of any chemical storage area. Do not allow bottles to extend over the edge of a shelf. 5. Do not store chemicals on bench tops. They are more readily knocked over and are unprotected from potential exposure to fire. -1-
6. Provide physical segregation (sills, curbs, trays) or separation between hazard classes. 7. Keep flammable materials by themselves in approved storage cans, cabinets, or rooms. Store oxidizers well away from flammable materials. 8. Store large bottles and containers close to but not on the floor. Store acids and caustics below eye level. 9. Shelves should be securely fastened to the wall and should have lips or restraining cord to prevent bottles from falling. 10.Secondary containment such as polyethylene or stainless steel trays as appropriate should be provided for spill protection. 11.Chemical containers should have the chemical name, a warning label identifying the major hazards, and information about handling precautions. Storage areas should be labeled with hazard class. 12.Hoods should not be used for chemical storage. Hood storage interferes with air flow in the hood, causes clutter, and increases the fuel load in the event of a hood fire. If small quantities of chemicals are stored in the hood, they should be placed on an elevated shelf. 13.No chemicals (either reagents or waste chemicals) should be stored on the floor. Floor storage presents a major safety hazard because bottles can break if knocked over or struck together. 14.Chemical requiring refrigerated storage should be properly labeled and sealed to prevent escape of any vapors. Use only refrigerators designated for chemical storage. Flammable liquids must be stored only in explosion-safe refrigerators. Do not refrigerate chemicals unnecessarily. 15.Seal caps of open bottles of volatile chemicals using parafilm. This will prevent odor problems and deterioration of air/moisture sensitive reagents. -2-
16.Inspect storage areas periodically for damaged containers such as cracked bottles or caps or rusted cans. Replace loose or deteriorating labels. 17.Store acids separate from bases. Store ammonium hydroxide in a separate cabinet, preferably ventilated. 18.Store oxidizers, including oxidizing acids such as nitric and perchloric acids separate from oxidizable compounds such as acetic acid. Perchloric acid must be stored where it cannot contact organic materials. 19.Store highly toxic chemicals in unbreakable secondary containers labeled with description of the contents. Cyanides and sulfides must be kept safe from any contact with acids. Store cyanides in a closed cabinet, not in a location visible to passerby. Dispose of cyanides for which you have no current use. 20.Store pyrophoric materials separate from flammable materials, in dry, inert atmosphere such as a nitrogen-filled desiccators or a glove box. 21.Store flammable and combustible liquids in approved flammable liquid storage cabinets. No more than 3 cabinets may be located in a single fire area (laboratory). Never locate the flammable storage cabinet by an exit door. 22.The flammable storage cabinet must be clearly labeled with a sign which reads; "Flammable - Keep Fire Away". 23.Quantities of flammable liquids greater than one liter should be stored in approved safety cans. 24.Acids should generally not be stored in a flammable storage cabinet due to the corrosion of the cabinet and incompatibility with organic solvents. -3-
Basic Chemical Segregation:
Class of Chemicals Compress Gases Flammable Recommended Storage Method Store in a cool, dry area, away from oxidizing gases. Securely strap or chain cylinders to a wall or bench top. Store in a cool, dry area, away from flammable gases and liquids. Store in a cool, dry area, away from flammable gases and liquids Store in separate acid storage cabinet Store in a separate storage cabinet Store in a secure location away from all other chemicals In grounded flammable storage cabinet. Store in a separate dry, cool area away from oxidizers, corrosives, flammable liquids Store on general laboratory benches or shelving preferably behind glass doors, or below eye level. Store in a spill tray inside a noncombustible cabinet, separate from flammable and combustible materials Store separately in vented cool, dry, in unbreakable chemically resistant secondary containers. Store in dry, cool, location, protect from water Examples Incompatibles Oxidizing and toxic compressed gases, oxidizing solids
Methane, Acetylene, Propane
Compress Gases Oxidizing Compress Gases Poisonous Corrosives acids
Oxygen, Chlorine, Bromine Carbon Monoxide, Hydrogen Sulphide Mineral acids Hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, nitric acid, perchloric acid, Ammonium hydroxide, sodium hydroxide Ammonium nitrate, nitro urea, picric acid, trinitroaniline, trinitrobenzene, Acetone, benzene, diethyl ether, methanol, ethanol, toluene, glacial acetic acid Phosphorus Agar, sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate, and most non-reactive salts Sodium hypochlorite, benzoyl peroxide, potassium permanganate, potassium dichromate, Cyanides, heavy metals compounds Sodium metal, potassium metal, lithium metal
Flammable and/or oxidizing gases Flammable liquids, flammable solids, bases, oxidizers Flammable liquids, oxidizers, poisons, and acids. Flammable liquids, oxidizers, poisons, acids, and bases. Acids, bases, oxidizers, and poisons.
Corrosives Bases Explosives
Acids, bases, oxidizers, and poisons. See MSDS
General Chemicals Non-Reactive
Separate from reducing agents, flammables and combustibles.
Flammable liquids, acids, bases, and oxidizers. Separate from all aqueous solutions, and oxidizers.
Water Reactive Chemicals
General Rules for Safe Transport of Chemicals: 1. Use a hand-held rubber safety bottle carrier for liquids and hazardous solids in glass containers. 2. Do not attempt to carry an armful of bottles. Use a cart with side panels if transporting several chemicals at once. Do not allow containers to collide with each other during transport. 3. Never pick up a bottle by the cap or lid. 4. Wear eye protection while transporting chemicals. 5. Plan to transport the extremely hazardous chemicals during times of reduced traffic in the halls. 6. Place bottles of extremely toxic or carcinogenic chemicals in an unbreakable outer container before transport. 7. Extremely hazardous materials should be sent in an empty elevator to a second person waiting at the desired floor. ***********************************************************
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