Storing Cleaning Chemicals Safely

No matter whether you are working in a business environment that requires certain cleaning chemicals, or are using them at home, it is vital to think safety first with regards to chemicals.

Case Chemicals recommend following the below steps that can be taken into action for the correct safe storage of cleaning chemicals.

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Chemical transportation and storage

Chemical transportation and storage must be done carefully through detailed instructions.These instructions can often vary depending on the substance that is being transported.

Both employer and employee must be aware of said instruction, as they will both be responsible for storing and transporting the chemicals safely.

Hazardous chemical storage

Regarding hazardous chemicals; if they are not stored correctly these could result in accidental inhalation or ingestion, contamination, fires, spills etc.

Prior to storing any hazardous chemical, it is advised to not only check the label for advice about storage but:

– assess the quantity of the substance to be stored

– asses how long the substance will need to be stored for

– identify the toxicity and stability of the substance

– check the state of the containers (using only original containers – never food containers)

– check the state of the labels (replace them if they have peeled off)

– consider storing chemicals in depot with a bund or some other spill containment system (where possible)

Storing hazardous chemicals

Once the above list has been completed, you will be ready to store the chemicals where you should:

– ensure safe design, installation and location of storage and handling systems, for example, racking systems, tanks etc.

– separate incompatible substances to prevent reactive chemicals interacting

– control potential ignition sources around flammable substances

– have appropriate safety signage and placards

– be prepared for spill containment and have clean up systems

– have emergency plans in place to deal with an incident involving the hazardous chemicals

– have the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and store it correctly

– have fire-fighting equipment that is easily accessible

– secure chemicals from unauthorised access

Transporting hazardous chemicals

There is a possibility that dangerous goods and/or hazardous chemicals in the workplace will need to be transported in the future.

Below is a checklist that can be referred to when transporting hazardous chemicals:

– avoid transporting with food, water or any other reactive chemicals

– follow the separation and segregation rules for transporting mixed classes of hazardous chemicals (those classified as dangerous goods)

– secure hazardous chemicals on the vehicle so they can’t move or fall

– keep a record of the chemicals you are carrying

– separate foodstuffs from chemicals

– make sure you have the required signs and equipment for the vehicle

– make sure the driver of the vehicle has the correct licence and is trained in emergency procedures

Follow these tips for the storage and transportation of any chemicals to avoid accidents!

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Chemical reactivity in process hazard analysis

Chemical reactivity is the reaction between one chemical and other chemicals and/or materials.

Different to other hazards that can be caused by chemicals, chemical reactivity is not solely an intrinsic property of the chemicals that are involved – there is also the factor of the conditions where the chemicals are being used.

Hazards from chemical reactivity can be listed as below:

Self-reacting/unstable chemicals – It is possible for a single unstable compound to undergo something called uncontrolled decomposition, rearrangement, or polymerisation.
Organic peroxides are an example as they can actually pose fire and explosion hazards.

Runaway reactions – Intended reactions of chemicals to produce a desired product can become uncontrollable.
As an example, the chemical reaction of phenol with formaldehyde to produce phenolic resins is subject to run away.

Incompatibilities – It is possible for the mixture of two chemicals to make an unintended chemical reaction.
Process chemicals are more likely to react with materials present in the process such as water, air, materials of construction, utility fluids, lubricating oils etc.

Process hazard analysis

Process hazard analysis (PHAs) are usually conducted as a means of identifying potential hazard scenarios and identify any risks to determine whether any additional risk-reduction measure will need to be taken.

PHA should identify reactivity hazard scenarios for every process in a facility where process chemical reactivity hazards are most likely to happen.

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