To continue our series of advice on the storage of hazardous materials, this post is looking at the storage of poisons. Like any other hazmat substance, poisons must be stored in a dedicated cabinet and you must comply fully with the CoSHH legislation.
Using poisons cabinets
Do not cram poisons into your storage cabinet. If you don’t have enough room, you will need another cabinet. Remember, different poisons can react badly with each other. Check for storage compatibility on the safety data sheets. Where you have incompatible poisons, use separate cabinets.
Oxidising agents help fire to spread. If you have large amounts of oxidising agents such as sodium chlorate, store these separately from other poisons.
Similarly, keep any moisture-activated gassing compounds in their own cabinets, away from direct sunlight.
Poisons cabinets should be in an area with adequate ventilation and away from direct heat. The area should also be dry and frost-free.
Don’t locate your poisons cabinet in hard to reach spaces. Both you and the emergency services must be able to reach your poisons cabinets easily. If you have a business continuity or emergency plan in place, don’t forget to include your poisons management planning. Keys to poisons cabinets should always be kept secure and accessible in case of emergency.
General dos and don’ts for poisons storage
Do not put poisons cabinets in homes, shopping areas, offices, staffrooms or any area where there is human or animal food or drink.
Keep the labels on your containers facing outwards for easy referral. Make sure labels are clean and easy to read.
Only use original containers. Never decant any poison into a different bottle or container.
When you keep additional hazardous substances other than poisons, use different-coloured cabinets for their storage.
Finally, if you have to dispose of any unwanted poisons, remember you must do safely in accordance with the legislation.