Storing and managing dangerous chemicals properly in the workplace is important for every business. Not only will it improve the safety of your employees, but also save you a lot of money on repairing or renovating when accidents happen. In this guide, we will show you how to store workplace chemicals safely.
Step 1: Understand the chemicals: The first and probably the most important step in managing dangerous chemicals in your workplace safely is to understand their properties and risks. Are the substances corrosive, toxic, or flammable? Are they self-reactive or do they react to sunlight? To answer these questions, it is essential to carefully read the Safety Sheets provided by the suppliers, importers or manufacturers. These documents will specify how to store the chemicals correctly and any environmental conditions or incompatible substances that might lead to an adverse reaction such as an explosion or fire.
Step 2: Assess the possible risks: Once you’ve identified each substance and understand why they are dangerous, it’s time to take a closer look and find out any possible risks when using. Something you should consider includes:
– Explosions, fire or gas leaks
– Corrosives react with metal and damage plants or buildings
– Acute toxic liquids spill and contact employees
– The development of cancers due to constant exposure to toxic chemicals
Step 3: Control each risk systematically: To control the hazards and risks of chemicals in your workplace, you should apply an international standard known as the Hierarchy of Control. Basically, there are five measures to minimises these risks, including:
– Elimination: stop using the chemicals
– Substitution: use different substances which are less harmful
– Engineering control: design a safer workplace to minimise exposure to chemicals
– Administrative control: implement safe methods for workers
– Protective equipment: provide protective equipment to protect your workers
Step 4: Store the substances properly: Once you’ve understood the properties and associated risks of each chemical, now you can take preventive measures to store these dangerous chemicals in a compliant and safe way. When it comes to storage methods, you should begin with hazard classes such as explosive, oxidiser, or flammable and choose the right option. Make sure to read the manual guide carefully as it will show you precisely whether you should store the chemicals outdoors or indoors, how much space and ventilation they require, or whether they should be separated from external conditions like sunlight or wind.
Step 5: Sustain compliance with the right system: As your workplaces will constantly change with the introduction of new substances or new operating procedures, it is essential to keep a safe compliant to ensure the safety standards. Don’t change these policies too often because it might increase the risks of accidents in your commercial facilities, simply ensure you have bunded storage containers and other equipment that last.