Storing chemicals and flammable materials requires careful consideration. If you use chemicals on a small scale, it’s essential that you address the various risks. Luckily, our friends over at the Health and Safety Executive have come up with some sensible guidelines on how to store hazardous materials safely.
Now, many of us switch off when we sense the looming shadow of ‘health and safety’ but stick with us, because this is really important. Here are the highlights from the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) and how to implement them using cabinets in your workplace.
- Contain your chemicals
Like squabbling children in the playground, keep separated the chemicals that might react.
How? Firstly, keep each hazardous product in a separate, appropriate and enclosed container. (Don’t try this with squabbling children.)
When thinking about where you place them in your cabinet, store heavier items and corrosive materials on the bottom shelves.This will limit the risk of unapproved mingling. You could even go a step further and consider using completely separate cabinets for different hazardous materials that might not get along.
- Solids and liquids
- Flammable and non-flammable liquids
- Acids and alkalis
- Restrict access
It’s essential that only authorised, trained personnel can access your stored hazardous materials.
How? Invest in a specially designed hazardous materials cabinet with a lock…and keep it locked. Only give keys to the trusted staff that require access and breathe a sigh of relief that your chemicals are out of harms’ way.
- Avoid chemical confusion
Make sure staff know exactly what they’re dealing with when they open the cabinet doors.
How? Fully and clearly label each individual container within your cabinet, and store with the labels facing outwards. List the risks and handling procedures to prevent accidents.
Make sure the cabinet itself stands out too. Choose a brightly coloured cabinet and/or stickers that indicate hazardous materials.
- Confine spills
Don’t let leaked chemicals from broken containers spill all over your workplace.
How? Choose a hazardous materials cabinet that includes a leak proof sump and lipped trays. This will stop any accidental spillages from seeping out of your cabinet and wreaking havoc about the workplace.
- Cleaning and administration
Avoid mystery spillages and chemical misidentification while ensuring your cabinet is efficient to use.
How? Keep your cabinet clean, organised and not over-filled with containers. If there are any spillages, clear them up immediately by absorbing liquid with granules and disposing of them responsibly.
- Keep the cabinet area well ventilated
Escaped chemical fumes can be a real hazard, whether they pose an ignition risk or are dangerous if inhaled. Promote airflow around your cabinet to stop these fumes from building up.
How? Keep your cabinet away from other objects, in a well ventilated area with a through draught.
At Key, our range of hazardous storage cabinets take all of the above into consideration. They help you to comply with COSHH, HSG51 and DSEAR regulations, making for a safer workplace.
If you’d like to find out more, view our product pages for details, or get in touch with our sales team on 0800 652 6000. We’d be happy to discuss your requirements and help you choose the right storage cabinet for your business.