How to Properly Store Chemicals in Your Lab
If you work in a lab, chances are you will be using chemicals. Unfortunately, accidents caused by the improper storage of chemicals are all too common. No matter what kinds of chemicals you use or how much you have in the laboratory, proper handling and storage of chemicals is absolutely vital. Keep reading to learn some essential safety tips to put away your lab chemicals appropriately.
Protecting yourself is perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind when you are planning to reorganize your laboratory. Before you begin moving bottles of chemicals around the lab, it is crucial to have the right personal protective equipment (PPE). This includes eye protection, chemical-resistant gloves, closed toe shoes, and a lab coat or chemical apron.
Next, look around the lab and try to identify any potential tripping hazards and busy workstations. Ensure the walkways, exits, and emergency equipment are accessible and easy to get to. Lastly, make sure you have a full spill kit on hand, complete with absorbent materials, neutralizing agents, cleanup tools, and waste containers. Once you guarantee the area is prepared, you can begin moving and organizing the chemicals so that they are stored properly.
Chemical Storage Dos
Whether you are setting up a lab for the first time or simply reorganizing, you must be attentive and careful throughout the process. Use these tips to store your chemicals safely:
- Create a specific storage area for every chemical and make sure it is returned to the same spot after it has been used. Separate the chemicals according to their compatible groups. If you must store incompatible materials together, follow all the related safety precautions.
- Only store flammable liquids in approved flammable liquid storage cabinets. Store volatile toxics and odoriferous chemicals in ventilated cabinets.
- Make sure all of the containers are in good condition, so you don’t experience any leaks in the lab. If you notice that a bottle is broken, visit a chemical supplies store near me so you can replace it with a functional one. Seal every container tightly so vapors do not escape. Be sure to label all the chemical containers as well.
- If a chemical needs to be refrigerated, only use a designated refrigerator. Label this fridge with a sign that says “Chemical storage only, no food.” Avoid storing flammable liquids in a refrigerator unless the appliance was specifically designed for this purpose, as with a spark-free refrigerator.
Chemical Storage Don’ts
Here are a few things you should avoid doing when you are storing chemicals in your laboratory:
- Don’t store chemicals in direct sunlight or close to heat sources.
- Avoid storing heavy or unwieldy containers on high shelves or in high cabinets. Store them instead at arm level or below.
- Don’t store chemicals on top of cabinets. Don’t store any bottles on the floor either.
- Avoid storing chemicals indeterminately. Over time, liquids can evaporate, and powders can harden. Be sure to follow all of the manufacturers’ suggested expiration dates. If you come across a chemical that is expired or has degraded in any way, dispose of it properly.
If you need new supplies for your lab, be sure to reach out to us at Hi Valley Chemical today.
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