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Workplace Safety

A Primer for Handling and Storing Hazardous Chemicals in The Workplace

By January 6, 2015No Comments

Chemicals in the workplace are ubiquitous as they help workers complete their work, The benefits of using chemicals also has some drawbacks as some chemicals are hazardous and cause injury or illness. They need training that teaches them chemical safety at the proper level for their risk exposure.

Handling Hazardous Chemicals

This post offers some simple ways for handling a vexing problem for many companies. Storage and handling of hazardous chemicals.

Hazardous chemicals are chemicals that if spilled on the skin can damage it (acids are an example). Other chemicals may injure a worker who breathes in a chemical vapor. This could be blowback from a spray can – perhaps changing the process so that instead of spraying which releases all sorts of contaminants into the air, dip parts. Chemicals that splash in the eyes can damage eyesight of leave an employee blind. Safety glasses protect staff from this type of injury. Facilities in which eye incidents happen often should have emergency eye wash stations used in conjunction with goggles.

Storage of Hazardous Chemicals

Wes Maertz, CSP, technical safety specialist, Grainger, Lake Forest, IL. remarked recently that

“Chemicals have become a part of our lives, but we often forget that they are harmful if not stored properly. Safety experts estimate that about 1,000 new chemicals come to market every year.”

Adding that to the estimated 1.5 million chemicals used in the US helps people realize the importance of handling and storing chemicals the right way.

Minimizing the risk of a chemical accident or incident that harms employees and even communities surrounding the company starts with reducing the stock of chemicals kept in-house. Storage of the remaining chemicals is more difficult than most people believe. A single storage room is not the solution – you cannot simply place chemicals in a storage by alphabetical order and hope that alone minimizes risk. Like people forming groups at a party, separating and storing chemicals according to their compatibility is a must.

Not sorting them properly and storing incompatible chemicals together in one area often leads to serious consequences. These include:


•Formation of toxic gas


How to store instructions are on the products Safety Data Sheet (SDS), label or other reference material on the chemical. OSHA regulation 29 CFR 1910.1200 mandates that every product has an SDS. For some materials, storage behind a wall or in another room is the right way – this information is on the label and the SDS.

Taking measures to protect employees, and properly store chemicals shows good business sense with an exceptional return on investment.