Want to watch this video? Sign up for the course here. Or enter your email below to watch one free video.

Unlock This Video Now for FREE

This video is normally available to paying customers.
You may unlock this video for FREE. Enter your email address for instant access AND to receive ongoing updates and special discounts related to this topic.

When chemicals are in the workplace they need to be stored safely according to the manufacturer’s instructions and rules or regulations. Where they are stored will depend on where they are needed and the risk assessments. Chemical substances could pose additional risks like fire, so the storage must suit those hazards too. It maybe they need to be in a locked cabinet or store room to avoid access to unauthorised people or the public. 

You should look at the safety data sheet for more information on the correct storage of chemicals and the risks they pose. Safe storage may be to segregate chemicals that might react together, and contain any spills or leaks from burst containers.  You should keep apart: Solid and liquid products; Flammable and non-flammable liquids; Acids and alkalis; and waste products from other products. 

The HSE state some guidance on the storage of chemicals: 

  • Ensure that only trained workers have access to stored chemical products
  • Keep the storage container locked
  • Provide good washing facilities
  • Keep the store area well ventilated. Where there is a risk of fumes there should be 5-10 air changes per hour with a through draught
  • Keep a spill clean-up kit nearby. Ask your supplier for advice
  • Store products containing chemicals securely in a cool, dry, dark place, capable of keeping in spills. Don’t store far more than you need
  • Store containers so their labels face forwards
  • Keep records of what is stored
  • Store heavier items and corrosive chemicals on lower shelves
  • Ensure that containers are easy to pour from, don’t dribble, and don’t trap liquid in a rim
  • Try to buy solid chemicals in tablet form, or in a wide-necked container such that it is easy to scoop out granules
  • Never store chemicals in open container
  • Never decant concentrate into an unlabelled container and never re-use a concentrate container. - Dispose of used containers safely or return it to the supplier
  • And finally, don’t store more than 50 litres of flammable liquid indoors and use a flammables store. 

When planning the storage of chemicals, you also need to think about the personal protective equipment or PPE that should be used when handling and storing chemicals. Follow the instructions on product labels and ask your safety-clothing supplier to help you get the right PPE. You may need respiratory protective equipment (RPE) in case of a spill. If you find any problems with the way any chemicals are stored or handled, tell your supervisor. Don’t just carry on working and hope that someone else with do it. If there are any spills or leaks, clean them up spills straight away. You can use special granules to adsorb spills and then put them in a lidded bin using appropriate PPE. And finally, there should be controls in place for chemical storage and these controls should be checked to confirm they are being used properly.