Storage of Research Chemicals
The safe storage of hazardous chemicals is an essential part of laboratory safety. Chemical storage is complex—there is no one-size-fits-all plan to store chemicals—but there are regulations, campus requirements, and best practices that can guide the process. The general concept is to prevent chemicals from causing harm to people, property, other chemicals, or the environment.
In order to fully understand the hazards associated with stored chemicals you first need to know what chemicals are being stored. Safe storage begins with an up-to-date inventory of chemicals and knowledge of the hazards posed by each chemical
General Storage Requirements
All chemicals must be stored in a safe, secure location.
Shelves should be level, stable, and secured to the wall or another stable
Store chemicals away from direct sunlight, sources of heat, and egress pathways
Hazardous chemicals must be stored below eye level.
Do not store chemicals on the floor, window ledges, or balconies.
Keep containers closed unless you are dispensing a chemical or adding to the container.
Provide secondary containment for liquids whenever possible. Dishpans or polyethylene trays work
Don’t store chemicals in a sink or fume hood, except for certain toxic gases that are so dangerous they can only be stored in a gas cabinet or fume
Label containers, and be sure container is compatible with the chemical
Use rated storage cabinets or safety cans whenever possible—required for >10 gal. of flammables.
Cold rooms, refrigerators, and freezers have additional requirements, particularly for flammables.