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Storage of
Research Chemicals

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.
Blue barrels in the warehouse, Storage stock, Chemical warehouse. 3D illustration

Chemical Segregation

Chemicals should always be segregated according to their specific hazard(s) to prevent unintended reactions. Begin by categorizing and separating chemicals by the following categories.
Medical Virology Research Scientist Works in a Hazmat Suit with Mask, She Uses Micropipette. She Works in a Sterile High Tech Laboratory, Research Facility.

Multiple Hazard Classes

Many chemicals belong to more than one chemical family or hazard class. In many cases, chemicals need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Ideally, guidelines for each category should be observed, but this may not be possible in all instances.

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