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You are here:    Home  >>  News Items  >>  The handling and storage of chemicals in laboratories
The handling and storage of chemicals in laboratories
      
Many local authority regulations have specific requirements that affect the handling and storage of chemicals in laboratories.
      
General Considerations
      
In general, store materials and equipment in cabinets and on shelving provided for such storage.
      
Avoid storing materials and equipment on top of cabinets. If you must place things there, however, you must maintain a clearance of at least 18 inches from the sprinkler heads or (if no sprinkler heads are present) 24 inches from the ceiling.
Be sure that the weight of the chemicals does not exceed the load capacity of the shelf or cabinet. Some incidents where shelving or a cabinet collapsed due to overload are described in Anecdotes.
Wall-mounted shelving must have heavy-duty brackets and standards. This type of shelving is not recommended for chemical storage.
Cabinets for chemical storage must be of solid, sturdy construction, preferably hardwood or metal.
Do not store materials on top of high cabinets where they will be hard to see or reach.
Do not store corrosive liquids above eye level.
Provide a specific storage location for each type of chemical, and return the chemicals to those locations after each use.
Avoid storing chemicals in the workspace within a laboratory hood, except for those chemicals currently in use.
If a chemical does not require a ventilated cabinet, store it inside a closable cabinet or on a shelf that has a lip to prevent containers from sliding off in the event of an accident or fire.
Do not expose chemicals to heat or direct sunlight.
Observe all precautions regarding the storage of incompatible chemicals.
Use corrosion resistant storage trays or secondary containers to collect materials if the primary container breaks or leaks.
Distinguish between refrigerators used for chemical storage and refrigerators used for food storage.
Do not store flammable liquids in a refrigerator unless it is approved for such storage. Such refrigerators are designed with non-sparking components to avoid an explosion.
Chemical storage cabinets located outside the laboratory (e.g., in hallways) should be labeled with the name of the laboratory group that owns and uses it.
      
      
      
Reproduced courtesy of web.princeton.edu
      
      
      
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