Whether you are a chemistry student working on a project or a chemist for a company, it is important that you store lab chemicals properly so you will avoid hazardous incidents in the lab that could harm your health. If you have large quantities of hazardous chemicals in the lab that are more than a gallon in size, you need to store those in a different room of the lab apart from the other chemicals. Never store the chemicals neat heated objects or near direct sunlight as this is dangerous. Chemists must date all chemicals that they receive and open, and periodically the chemist should examine his inventory of chemicals. The things he should look out for include cloudiness, color changes, and pressure inside the container.
Additional Things to Keep in Mind
You do not want to keep chemicals in unprotected and open areas of the lab because it is dangerous when accidents or fires occur in the lab due to negligence or a natural disaster. The shelves in the lab should also have protection in the design so that the chemicals will not fall. You also should not leave any containers near the end of the shelves. You do not want any chemicals stored on the floors and if there are chemicals that you no longer need, ask your supervisor about the required method of disposal to reduce toxic waste.
OSHA Regulations on Storing Lab Chemicals
According to OSHA, all lab chemicals must be stored in a separate area that is not easily prone to flooding and they should never be stored near hallways or staircases in the building. The lab itself should have 20 feet of lights all around so that the chemists can safely do experiments and store chemicals. The ventilation in the bio storage areas should be at a certain level where it will be safe to walk in the room without having to inhale too much of the chemicals.
Acid Storage Guidelines
When you store acids, you should always label and to keep acid from accidentally spilling on your body or the surface, you should pour the acid in the container through a funnel. You want to tightly secure the lid on the containers of acid to prevent the spread of hazardous fumes throughout the lab. Because not all acids are flammable, it is important to store flammable acids in a well-ventilated room and the remaining acids in another area.
Proper storage of chemicals is important because it is a matter of life and death for those who work with or near the chemicals. Always pay attention to your company’s requirements for chemical storage and also refer to local and state regulations concerning this action. When you work with chemicals you should always wear safety goggles, a lab coat and gloves to reduce bodily harm, and a safety mask is also important. Finally, you want to ask questions if you are unsure about certain types of chemicals and how they should be stored.