Ohio Wesleyan University
61 S. Sandusky St.
Delaware, OH 43015
Chemical Hygiene Officer
Hazardous chemicals can’t be stored or handled any which way. The risks of fire, explosion, or toxic exposure are as great in the storage area as in the work area. In fact, storage areas usually contain more substances, and more diverse ones, than the work area—creating even greater risks of leaks and incompatibles. That diversity also makes ignorance or carelessness in handling the chemicals extremely dangerous.
No chemical, no matter how small the quantity can be taken lightly. It’s a good idea to restrict storage area access to people who understand the hazards and take proper precautions. Everyone who does have access to the storage room—including receiving personnel—must know how to find and use the safety information on labels and safety data sheets (SDS/MSDS). They should also be aware of some commonsense guidelines of safe chemical storage.
One of the biggest risks in chemical storage is haphazard arrangement of incompatible chemicals—chemicals that can react together to create toxic smoke, gas, heat, mists, fire, or explosion. Luckily, you don’t have to be a chemist to know which chemicals to keep away from each other. Their SDSs will tell you that. But every employee with access to the storage area must recognize the risks of incompatibles and always check the SDS before storing a chemical to be sure no dangerous reactions are possible.
There are several types of chemicals that require particular caution: