The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Improper chemical storage can have dangerous consequences for your laboratory. If you’re just starting to acquire chemical materials, you may not be familiar with some of the dangers. Here are some of the risks of improper chemical storage to be aware of and how to avoid them.
Improperly Organized Chemicals Can React
Without careful organization, chemicals can react within each other’s vicinities. For example, when storing chemicals in alphabetical order, you can accidentally create chemical interaction hazards between incompatible materials. Instead of organizing by name, group your chemicals and materials by their properties. Storing chemicals by their hazards, such as flammable chemicals, minimizes the chance of reactions that could occur and cause explosions, gas leaks, and other accidents in your laboratory. Also, regularly check your storage containers for signs of damage, leaks, and failure.
Flammable Materials Can Increase Fire Risks
Flammable materials have extremely strict storage rules and standards in laboratories and industrial sites. Because of their flammable properties, these chemicals are sensitive to heat, so you must store them in well-ventilated, cool environments. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that flammable materials be kept in designated storage containers with proper safety labels. This is to ensure that no one in your laboratory accidentally mistakes a flammable material for a standard chemical. Keep fire and heat sources far from these containers, and ensure your employees use caution when handling them.
Reduce Employee Risk with Proper Training
Without the proper employee training, your lab technicians could be on completely different pages about proper laboratory storage procedures. This could lead to accidents and injuries involving your laboratory staff. Therefore, teach your entire lab staff about these chemical storage risks and your standards for storing acids in your laboratory. Ensure your lab workers know the designated areas for all hazardous chemicals and other materials and the proper steps to handle them. Training also provides an opportunity for technicians to understand the importance of PPE and when and how to wear it.
Now that you know some of the risks involved with improper chemical storage in the lab, you can use these safety tips to avoid them. Create a safe and secure environment for your lab workers by respecting chemical materials and their unique storage needs.