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Guidelines on Storage of Hazardous Chemicals

Guidelines on Storage of Hazardous Chemicals

If your workplace activities require the use of hazardous substances, there are a number of regulations that outline safe storage requirements. These guidelines are provided and enforced by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH), a law enacted in 2002 that aims to protect employees from suffering from occupational harm.

It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that the regulations provided by COSHH are implemented and upheld across the organisation. A key aspect of the COSHH regulations is the safe storage of hazardous substances.

Here, the experts at SafetyBuyer detail the guidelines to store hazardous substances safely, the legislation that covers the storage of hazardous materials, and the importance of control measures for storage.

How do you store hazardous chemicals?

The best way to store a hazardous substance will depend on a number of factors. It is first vital to read and understand the safety data sheets developed by the substance’s manufacturer, which detail the type of chemical and how it must be stored and handled.

The safest way to store chemicals will be to comply with the safety information attached to the substance, and find a storage solution that cannot be compromised by it.

As such, the important aspects of a safe storage solution need to meet the criteria below.

What are the guidelines for storing chemicals safely?

The following guidelines outline the best practices to store chemicals safely, as recommended by COSHH. A storage area should comply with the following:

  • Have a visible safety data sheet
  • Restricted access to the chemical storage
  • Impervious floor and surfaces that are resistant to the chemical
  • Easy to clean
  • Incompatible chemicals should be stored appropriately, and these areas clearly defined
  • Good ventilation
  • Smaller range of chemicals stored in the same area
  • Emergency procedures
  • Spill clean-up kits in the vicinity of storage and across the workplace
  • Control procedures in place, regularly checking for leaks and immediate cleaning actions
  • Personal protective equipment accessible when necessary
  • Training and supervision provided and refreshed

What legislation covers the use of storage and handling chemicals?

The law that governs the appropriate containers that should be used for dangerous substances is COSHH 2002. It tells owners, operators, and contractors to comply with the regulations in order to protect workers’ health.

The regulations consolidate good control practices and strengthen existing workplace safety guidance, help employers to understand the risks associated with dangerous substances, and explain ways to deliver training and supervise activities involving a harmful substance.

The guidelines outlined by COSHH are not legally enforceable, but following them will usually be enough to comply with the law, so it is important to understand the health regulations in place and the risks posed to health and safety when working with hazardous materials.

Where is the safest place to store hazardous chemicals?

The designated area must be easily accessible to facilitate the handling of the substances, but special considerations must be made for the emergency and spill control measures. Any substances stored on-site that pose an environmental hazard must first be subject to a COSHH risk assessment, in order for a plan for its containment to be developed.

Such a risk assessment should be thorough enough to identify hazards and implement cleanup procedures. A key way to facilitate this will be to install high-quality spill response kits throughout the premises.

In order to give yourself the peace of mind that your premises meet the highest standards of occupational safety, you should implement COSHH-compliant cabinets and cupboards designed for the highest level of hazardous substance storage.

Prepare your premises for dangerous chemical storage

SafetyBuyer has a range of COSHH-level cabinets to suit every need. Whatever space your workplace has and whatever your needs for handling and storing dangerous substances, we have you covered. Visit the COSHH Cabinets page here for the complete range.


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