Storing chemicals requires attention to detail. You should only ever store the minimum amount of chemicals necessary. It’s also important to ensure that chemicals are stored in a secure environment in the processing area and that they are returned to storage immediately after use.
If you are involved in the storage of chemicals in your business, you need to comply with Heath and Safety Executive (HSE) regulations. There are several tips to consider in order to assist you with compliance.
1. You need to store chemicals in a lockable container
Chemical stores need to ensure top security and protection from thieves, weather and any other hazards that may occur in your workplace. Ensuring that chemicals are locked away in a suitable container means that you are less likely to fall foul of dangerous incidents and helps you to avoid issues with the HSE.
Chemical boxes are available in a range of different sizes and are designed to reflect the size of chemical cans. This means that you are able to store chemicals securely while optimising the amount of storage space that you have available. Make sure that you choose chemical storage boxes that include bright colours and hazard warning signs that are easy to distinguish for any member of your workforce. You should also ensure that boxes are easy to secure to the floor of a building, or vehicle when transportation is required, and that they are ventilated.
2. You may need an environmental permit
Many businesses that produce or store chemicals require an environmental permit. It’s illegal to not have a permit in place if your businesses is carrying out certain processes involving chemicals. You can easily check permit requirements online.
3. Risk of release must be mitigated against
For obvious reasons, there are rules in place about reducing the risk of major chemical leaks. The Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) Regulations 2015 apply when large amounts of chemicals are being stored in an area where there could be a major impact on the environment should there be an accidental leak. Risks and consequences must be mitigated against. Guidance about these requirements is available to download.
4. Pesticides and biocides are subject to additional rules
When it comes to the storage and use of pesticides and biocides, there are certain specific rules that apply. These chemicals are often found in pest control products, disinfectants and wood preservatives. Often use and storage of these products has to be authorised. The HSE provides information on the topic that is useful to read if your business has any interaction with pesticides or biocides.
5. Chemical classification is important
The classification of chemicals involves finding out about how they affect suppliers, users and the wider environment. If your business is involved in the storage and supply of chemicals, it’s vital that you pay attention to classification as it can have an effect on the way you store the chemicals. Businesses are not normally required to carry on any independent testing of the chemicals which they use and supply, but they are expected to carry out in-depth research. Having the understanding that this research provides is an important first step in ensuring that people, and the environment are adequately protected against potentially serious problems that can be caused when chemicals are not stored and used in the right way. The HSE provides detailed advice about chemical classification which you can take a look at.
The storage of chemicals is a responsibility that should never be taken lightly. If chemicals are not stored securely, it’s more likely that dangerous accidents will happen. These accidents could result in serious injury, significant damage to the environment, or both. If your business is storing chemicals, they should always be kept in a locked container that is marked accordingly. You also need to be aware of the classification of the chemicals and ensure that you have any required permits in place. In order to reduce the chances of problems occurring, make sure that you evaluate, mitigate against and monitor risks.
Taking all of these actions helps to ensure that you comply with health and safety regulations. Remember that if you have any questions about safety issues, it’s a good idea to seek advice from the HSE. Doing so helps to ensure that you meet all of your obligations and do not breach any of the regulations which are in place.