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University of Tasmania

Chemical Substances Minor Storage


Guidelines
This guideline is intended for the storage and handling of minor quantities of chemicals
(excluding explosives, radioactive and infectious materials) in laboratories and other
University facilities. Contact the OH&S Unit for advice in relation to the management of
licenceable quantities and bulk storage areas.

Essential Paperwork
1.
2.

Make a register of every substance stored in the area (refer Hazardous Substances Policy and
Procedures)
Obtain from the supplier a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for each substance. Make sure the
MSDS is not out of date (i.e. older than 5 years). Place a copy of each MSDS with the area Register.

Labelling
If you decant substances, ensure the decant container is properly labeled i.e. full name of substance,
appropriate risk & safety phrases (see MSDS), dangerous goods class & subsidiary class diamond(s) (if
appropriate) and if the substance is classified as a hazardous substance by Worksafe Australia, then the
word Hazardous printed on the label. (refer Chemical Substance Labelling Policy and Procedures).

Storage Tips

Control your inventory only keep minimum amounts dont squirrel chemicals
Label shelves and cupboards with the segregation scheme so that chemicals can be put away in the
right place quickly
Remove all cardboard and other packing from storage area
Keep the outside of containers scrupulously clean and the area tidy
Ensure the store area is lockable and kept locked
Do not store liquids above solids in case of contamination in the event of a breakage
Limit the size of containers on open shelves to 5 L/kg, otherwise use a storage cabinet
Always store corrosives on spill trays kitty litter trays are inexpensive and ideal
Dont overload shelves sagging is a danger sign
Never store flammable liquids in fridges/freezers unless they have been modified (i.e. spark proof)
Do not store containers on the floor
Inspect the area regularly and dispose of outdated chemicals including all portable LPG cylinders that
are not in test (i.e. 10 years).
Use secondary containment at all times

Emergencies be prepared

Print out the MSDSs and store them where they will be accessible in an emergency
Prepare an emergency spill procedure document it and have a trial run
Assemble a chemical spill kit based on information provided in MSDSs (e.g. resealable pails,
absorbent material/blotters, gloves, eye protection, disposable overalls, apron, shovel, respirators with
correct filters/cartridges).

Chemical Storage limits


Container Sizes

Any individual container bought into a laboratory for decanting or dispensing shall not be
greater than 25L for liquids or 25Kg for solids unless manual handling facilities are provided.
The capacity of a gas cylinder used in a laboratory must not exceed 70L.

Storage of Hazardous Chemicals within a Chemical Storage Cabinet

Cabinets must be built to the specifications of AS 1940. Door closing mechanisms on


cabinets containing Class 5.2 dangerous goods (DG) must allow opening for pressure
release, e.g. a magnetic or friction lock.
The capacity of chemical storage cabinets used for chemicals of DG Classes 4.1, 4.2, 4.3,
5.1 or 5.2 must not exceed 50L. For other chemicals, the capacity must not exceed 250L.

Storage of Hazardous Chemicals outside a Chemical Storage Cabinet


Substance type or DG Class
Maximum per 50m2 (Kg or L)
Maximum container size
DG Class 3
10
5
Combustible liquids
50
20
DG Classes 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 5.1, or
20 but less than 10 of any one
10
5.2 (see note 1)
class
DG Class 6.1 Packing Group 1
10
10
(See note 2)
DG Class 6.1 Other
50
20
DG Class 8
20
20
DG Class 9 and aerosols
Liquids 50, solids 100
Liquids 5, solids 20
Hazardous substances
Liquids 5, solids 20
Combined maximum
200
Notes:
1. The quantities of Class 5.1 are the total amount of active ingredient present, to allow for
solutions of different concentrations.
2. Check the MSDS or label for Packing Group.

Cryogenic Liquids
Toxic or flammable cryogenic liquids must not be stored in laboratories, when toxic or flammable
cryogenic liquids are used in a laboratory the container must not exceed 5L and must be kept in
a ventilated extraction enclosure. Containers of non-toxic, non-flammable cryogenic liquids must
not exceed 250L.

Gases
Gas cylinders must not be stored indoors unless they are in use and reticulation from an outside
location is not practicable. Gas cylinders must be tethered even when empty. The inadvertent
release from cylinders in use in laboratories must be considered with respect to the hazards of
the gas contained. Where toxic gases are in use in laboratories the presence of the gas must be
clearly signposted at each entrance to the room.

Chemical Storage Segregation of Incompatibles


Intervening spaces between incompatibles must be sufficient to prevent mixing should two
containers break at the same time; or have separated spill catchments.
For chemicals with more than one Class, assign to the class representing the greater hazard
or, create a separate subclass in a separate cabinet, cupboard or shelf.
Incompatibilities may exist within the following classifications. Further information should be
sought to ensure suitable segregation of incompatible substances.

Class 3 Flammable Liquids


Flammable liquid storage cabinets or cupboards must not be used for storage of
any other Class of dangerous goods. If stored on an open shelf keep on a
separate vertical shelf unit & horizontal shelf. Keep cabinets 5 m apart & at
least 3 m from power points/ ignition sources.
Flammable liquid storage cabinets must comply with AS 1940.
Install a fire extinguisher (dry chemical or CO2) & warning sign (Danger,
flammable liquid, no smoking, keep fire away") where > 100 L stored

References: Dangerous Goods (General) Regs 1998, Workplace Health and Safety Regs 1998. Australian
Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods, AS/NZS 2243.10 Safety in laboratories Part 10: Storage of
chemicals, AS 1940 The storage and handling of flammable and combustible liquids, AS 3780 The
storage and handling of corrosive substances.

Class 4 Flammable Solids


Class 4.1 Flammable solids e.g. metal powders
Storage cabinets or cupboards used to store Class 4.1 dangerous goods must
not be used for storage of any other Class
Class 4.2 Spontaneously Combustible Substances e.g. white phosphorus
Cabinets or cupboards used to store Class 4.2 dangerous goods must not be
used for storage of any other Class. Significant incompatibility exists with
flammable liquids and oxidizing agents.
Class 4.3 Substances that emit Flammable gases on contact with water
e.g. calcium carbide, sodium metal
Cabinets or cupboards used to store Class 4.3 dangerous goods must not be
used for storage of any other Class. Significant incompatibility exists with
flammable liquids, oxidizing agents and water.

Class 5 Oxidising substances and Organic peroxides


Oxidising agents intensify fires, may ignite spontaneously if damp or explode if heated. If
stored on open shelves, keep containers on a totally separate vertical shelf unit and horizontal
shelf away from all Class 3, Class 4, Class 6.1 and Class 8 dangerous goods.
Class 5.1 Oxidising Substances e.g. nitrates
Class 5.1 dangerous goods must be kept in a chemical storage cabinet,
suitable refrigerated storage or cupboard dedicated to the storage of Class 5.1
dangerous goods. Incompatibilities exist within Class 5.1 refer to MSDS or
supplier for more information.
Class 5.2 Organic Peroxides e.g. MEKP
Class 5.2 dangerous goods must be kept in a chemical storage cabinet,
suitable refrigerated storage or cupboard dedicated to the storage of Class 5.2
dangerous goods.
Make sure an eye wash unit is located nearby

Class 6 Toxic and Infectious Substances


Class 6.1 Toxic substances e.g. cyanides, phenol, many herbicides &
pesticides
Store toxic substances in a locked and well ventilated area.
Have appropriate antidotes on hand if required.
Keep outside of containers scrupulously clean.
Incompatibilities exist between Inorganic cyanides and acids.

Class 8 Corrosives
Class 8 Corrosives include acids and alkalis e.g. nitric acid, sodium
hydroxide.
Store in dedicated corrosives cabinets that comply with AS 3780.
Separate acids from alkalis, hypochlorites, cyanides and Class 4.3
dangerous goods.
Separate oxidizing acids from combustible materials.
Separate incompatible acids
Perchloric & picric acid need special handling seek advice.
If stored on open shelves, keep containers below 1.5m on separate shelf
unit away from all other dangerous goods classes. Store on suitable trays
that will contain 110% of the volume of the largest container.
Refer to MSDS for specific incompatibilities
Make sure an eye wash unit is located nearby

Other substances
Hazardous substances that have particular hazards but are not dangerous goods e.g. some
carcinogens, should be stored separately according to any recommendations by the supplier
and good practice. The shelf or cupboard they are stored on or in should be clearly labeled.
References: Dangerous Goods (General) Regs 1998, Workplace Health and Safety Regs 1998. Australian
Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods, AS/NZS 2243.10 Safety in laboratories Part 10: Storage of
chemicals, AS 1940 The storage and handling of flammable and combustible liquids, AS 3780 The
storage and handling of corrosive substances.