As well as having appropriate chemical storage cabinets, you will also have to consider how you manage these hazardous substances. Much of this is common sense, but because we understand the importance of adhering to the COSHH legislation, we thought we’d give you a bit of advice.
Using your chemical storage cabinets
If you have to store incompatible chemicals, you will need more than one cabinet. Leaks and spills can cause dangerous reactions. Always read your chemical specification data sheets and stick rigidly to their guidelines.
Think carefully about the positioning of your cabinets. Some chemicals are sensitive to heat, so they should be stored in a cool place out of direct sunlight. Don’t forget to ensure your chemical storage area is well ventilated.
Don’t put your cabinets in an awkward-to-reach area. Over-reaching to lift heavy containers can lead to strains and dangerous spills. And remember, the emergency services must be able to get to them easily in event of a major problem.
General tips on safe chemical storage
Don’t put bagged or double-wrapped chemicals straight on to the shelves of your cabinets. Put them in trays first. Bags can tear allowing dangerous chemicals to escape.
If you have a large quantity of flammable chemicals, keep your storage cabinets in a separate, designated room which conforms to the fire safety regulations.
Use the correct cabinets for storing any hazardous materials. Make sure you know what colour cabinet is designated for what substances.
Don’t leave the keys to your chemical storage cabinets lying about. They must be kept secure at all times. Make sure your emergency plans include details of keys and key holders.
Finally, many chemicals cause pollution, particularly pesticides and biocides. Ensure your cabinet is in good condition and meets all the necessary requirements. If your chemical storage cabinets are old and in poor condition, they must be replaced. Don’t take chances – it’s not worth the risk.