Lab Safety Guide Logo

 

 

Emergency Guide

[ Fire Emergency ] / [ First Aid ] / [ Chemical Spill ] / [ Storage]
 

General Storage Rules

-  Minimize the amount of chemicals stored in the laboratory.
-  Use safety cans to store flammables when possible.
-  Use OSHA's Standards approved fireproof cabinets for storing flammables.
-  Make sure that all containers are properly labeled.
-  Do not store flammables where they are exposed to direct sunlight.
-  Periodically check that the storage areas are adequately ventilated.
-  Do not fill closed lid containers to the top.

Storage Rooms

Each storage room must be constructed in a manner such that it has at least 2 hour fire rating. An automatic exhaust and a sprinkler system must be installed in each storage room. All electrical equipment in all flammable liquid and all flammable gas storage rooms such as motor controllers, thermal cutouts, switches, relays, the switches and contactors of autotransformer starters, resistance or impedance devices or other devices which in their normal operation tend to create arcs, sparks, or high temperatures, shall not be installed unless such devices are of a type approved for use in explosive atmospheres. Lamps in fixed positions are to be enclosed in a manner approved for explosive atmospheres and must be properly protected by substantial metal guards where exposed to being broken. Lamps cannot be of a pendant type unless the lamp is supported by hangers of rigid conduit or flexible connectors approved for explosive atmospheres. All rubber covered wired used must have insulation no less than three sixty-fourths of an inch thick.

Flammable Liquids

Generally, flammable liquids and volatile flammable oils (VFOs) are stored in metal containers. However, they may be stored in approved glass containers when there is a concern for maintaining the purity of the liquid. They may also be stored in glass containers when the liquid would cause the metal to corrode. The maximum capacity of these glass containers is one gallon. Containers used to store VFOs must be placed in steel storage cabinets.

Flammable Gases

Limited amounts of flammable gases may be stored in the laboratory when the gas is used for part of an ongoing operation only. Under NO circumstances may the flammable gases be used or stored below grade level. The flammable gases must be stored separately from chemicals, acids, and oxidizing agents.

Compressed Gases

Compressed gas cylinders are often used in the laboratory. All compressed gases are potential hazards because of the pressure within the cylinder, their flammability, and/or their toxicity. Severa1 safety procedures must be followed when dealing with compressed gases.

-  Cylinders must be secured in an upright position using a belt or a chain. In no case may the cylinder be secured to plumbing or electrical conduits. All cylinders are color-coded. This color code is used to identify the contents of the cylinder. -  Never change the color of cylinder. The valve protection caps must be replaced when cylinders are not in use. Care must be taken when handling the cylinders to prevent physical damage. Cylinders should be transported using suitable handtrucks and should never be rolled or dragged.
-  When cylinders are stored they must be separated according to their contents. -  Full and empty cylinders must be stored separately. All cylinders must be tagged to indicate whether they are full or empty. Cylinders not in use should be removed from the laboratory. The number of cylinders used in the lab should be limited to minimize fire and toxicity hazards.
-  Using compressed gases should be conducted in well-ventilated areas.
-  No smoking is permitted at all by stored gases.
-  The conditions of the cylinders, valves and related equipment must be checked regularly for leaks and physical damage. A soap and water solution test should be used to check for leaks. 
-  Cylinders must pass hydrostatic pressure test within the past 10 years.
-  No flammable gas cylinders stored/used below grade level special approval from New York City Fire Department.

Corrosive Acids and Bases

Area used to store corrosive acids must be carefully designed to make sure that of nitric acid will not come into contact with bare metal or cellulosic materials. Strong organic acids should be stored separately from mineral acids. The perchloric acids must be stored in glass containers separated from the organic materials. Containers of sodium bicarbonate or other suitable neutralizing or absorbing agents must be provided in these storage areas.  They can be poured onto acid spills to help neutralize and contain the spill. These agents must be positioned in a location that remains accessible at all times. Strong acids must be stored separately from strong bases. Care must also be taken to make sure that the acids are not stored near substances which react with them to evolve heat, hydrogen or explosive gases.

Water Reactive Chemicals

Water reactive chemicals must be stored in enclosures or receptacles that protect the chemicals from contact with water. It is essential that these materials are kept dry at all times and should not be stored directly under sprinkler heads.

Organic Peroxides

These chemicals are hazardous because of their extreme sensitivity to shock, sparks, or other forms of accidental ignition. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for storing and handling peroxides. The peroxides should be stored at the lowest possible temperature consistent with solubility or freezing point.  Never tore peroxide below its freezing point, as its shock sensitivity will be increased. The peroxides must be store in a location that will protect them from friction, grinding, and all forms of impact. This is especially important for solid peroxides. Use only the amounts of peroxides required to complete the task. Do not return the unused peroxides to the container. Caution must be used when mixing the peroxides. A ceramic or wooden spatula should be used during mixing. A metal spatula must never be used. Smoking, open flames, or other sources of ignition are not permitted near peroxides.