Whether it be lab tables or lab benches, most laboratories use dangerous chemicals. While the types and amounts of chemicals used can vary greatly depending on the lab’s focus, accidents and mishaps related to the use and storage of hazardous chemicals are unfortunately all too common.
Below, we’ll go over some general safety guidelines, storage methods, and storage principles for the handling and storing of dangerous chemicals in any laboratory setting. Continue reading below to learn more about how to remain cautious when handling and storing chemicals and hazardous materials and find out how LabTech Supply Company, Inc. can provide your laboratory with adequate storage equipment.
Guidelines for Safe Chemical Storage
Chemical storage that is organized properly also aids in making better use of limited laboratory space. For proper and safe storage, chemicals should follow the guidelines below. By following these storage guidelines, laboratories can ensure safer chemical storage while also improving lab housekeeping and organization.
First and foremost, labeling is required on all chemical containers.
When not in use, keep all chemical containers closed. Every chemical should have a distinct chemical storage location, which should be returned after use.
To avoid clutter and spills, and to allow for adequate working space, keep chemical storage on benchtops to a bare minimum.
The storage of chemicals in fume hoods should be kept to a bare minimum and only for the duration of the experiment.
Larger chemical bottles should be kept in the back of the chemical storage, while smaller bottles should be kept in the front, where they can be seen.
Multiples of the same chemical should be stored together, older containers should be placed ahead of newer chemicals, and containers containing the least amount of chemical should be placed last.
To reduce bottle breakage and leaks, flammable liquid chemical containers should be placed in secondary containment, such as trays. Furthermore, chemicals should always be separated and stored according to their compatibility and hazard classes.
Acids should never be kept near flammable materials or flammable gases or in a chemical storage cabinet or storage area. To that end, corrosive acids that can harm the eyes or other hazardous chemicals should be stored below eye level.
Flammable liquids should not be kept in standard (non-explosion-proof) refrigerators or freezers. Other chemicals that are highly toxic or flammable, such as inorganic cyanides or other organic acids, should be kept in locked storage cabinets or storage areas.
Always have spill kits and other spill control equipment on hand in all storage areas.
Examples of Incompatible Chemicals
Some chemicals should never be mixed. In fact, these chemicals should not even be stored near each other for fear of a chemical reaction in the event of an accident. Here are some examples of dangerous combinations to avoid:
- Glacial acetic acid with chromic acid
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Metal powders
- Ammonium salts
- Acids and cyanides
- Oxalic acid
How LabTech Supply Company, Inc. Can Help
LabTech Supply Company, Inc. ergonomic lab benches and adjustable workstations are designed to withstand a wide range of laboratory chemicals and applications. We also offer a variety of ESD workbenches and phenolic resin countertops that are specially designed to meet any of your needs, regardless of the size of lab space.
We understand that laboratory space is limited, which is why we will work with you from start to finish to design the ideal laboratory furniture for your needs.
Basic Chemical Segregation
Maintaining chemical segregation requires good housekeeping. To avoid contamination from a substance being placed in the wrong container, all chemicals should be properly labeled. Similarly, ensuring that all secondary containers are thoroughly cleaned after each use will prevent cross-contamination. Nothing should ever be stored under the fume hood when it is not in use, and all workbenches should be free of chemical compounds.
When keeping chemicals separate, keep in mind that not all of them follow the compatibility matrix’s rules. For a chemical compound that falls into two or more groups, it’s a good idea to seek professional advice on how to set up chemical storage areas.
When two incompatible chemicals come into contact with each other, they produce a reaction. In turn, a reaction in an uncontrolled environment can cause serious harm or even death.
How to Properly Store Chemicals
Chemical mixtures that react violently to produce heat, pressure, fire, explosion or another type of violent reaction are considered incompatible materials and should be stored with caution to avoid uncontrolled mixing.
Segregated storage is required for a variety of chemical classes, including:
- Highly-flammable liquids
- Highly-flammable gases
- Combustible materials
- Chlorinated solvents
- Noxious chemicals
- Toxic poisons and other mixtures
- Oxidizing reagents
- Highly reactive compounds
- Regulated chemicals
- Radioactive materials
- Carbon dioxide
When it comes to designing your lab’s chemical storage areas, chemical compatibility should be a top priority. While it’s usually sufficient to divide chemicals into generic hazard groups, be cautious and double-check anything you’re not sure about to avoid flammable liquids and other flammable materials that may be stored together in your storage cabinet.
Because a hazardous chemical is incompatible or unsuitable for mixing, violent reactions can occur when they are stored or mixed together. During storage, incompatible materials should be separated into groups based on their hazard class.
LabTech Supply Company, Inc. Can Assist with Chemical Segregation
Choosing the right storage equipment for your laboratory workspace necessitates thorough research and planning. Before making a final decision, consider the practicality, effectiveness, and storage ability of each piece of equipment and furniture.
Understanding the differences between some of the most common storage equipment can go a long way toward assisting you in making the best long-term decision for your laboratory environment.
Our team at LabTech Supply Company, Inc. is happy to assist you at every stage of the process to ensure your work environment’s furniture and storage equipment is suitable for your needs.
To learn more about how we can help you improve your work environment and storage equipment, contact us today.
Suggested Storage Time Limits for Common Peroxidizable Compounds
Peroxidizable compounds can build up in the chemical container under normal storage conditions and explode when exposed to heat, friction, or mechanical shock. When a peroxide-forming chemical is concentrated through distillation or evaporation, the risk increases.
Peroxides have a tendency to explode violently, posing a serious risk of serious injury or death to laboratory workers. It is critical that all researchers learn to recognize peroxidizable chemicals and handle them safely.
Any peroxide-forming chemicals must have a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) or safety data sheet that has been reviewed and approved by an environmental health and safety official. If you are unsure about this process, please contact a local health and safety official for assistance in developing a specific SOP before using it.
The following is a list of chemical compounds that will form explosive peroxides under the right conditions, which can be detonated by shock or heat.
Most Dangerous Types of Peroxidizable Compounds
Peroxide formation hazard begins during storage — should be discarded after three months:
- Diisopropyl ether
- Divinyl acetylene
- Isopropyl Ether
- Potassium metal
- Sodium amide
- Vinylidene chloride
Dangerous Types of Peroxidizable Compounds
Peroxide formation hazard begins during storage and on the concentration of compound — should be discarded after one year:
- Diethyl ether
- Ethylene glycol dimethyl ether
- Methyl acetylene
- Methyl cyclopentane
- Methyl isobutyl ketone
- Vinyl ethers
Peroxide formation causes initiation of hazardous polymerization — should be discarded after one year:
- Acrylic acid
- Methyl methacrylate
- Oxalic acid
- Vinyl acetate/ethyl acetate
- Vinyl acetylene
- Vinyl chloride
- Vinyl pyridine
Customize Your Lab Storage Equipment with LabTech Supply Company, Inc.
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A good laboratory should have a well-planned and efficient layout with laboratory furniture that promotes a safe and healthy work environment. At LabTech Supply Company, we make finding lab storage equipment simple and hassle-free
Consult with LabTech Supply Company, Inc. for Safe Storage of Your Lab’s Chemicals
Safe chemical storage in your lab may necessitate the use of specialized equipment and design to ensure that incompatible chemicals are kept separate at all times.
If you’re in need of proper storage equipment for dangerous flammable liquids or hazardous chemicals in your laboratory, LabTech Supply Company, Inc. can help.
At LabTech Supply Company, Inc., we remain committed to maintaining the highest industry standards to ensure the absolute safety of all laboratory environments. With over 30 years of sales and design experience in the laboratory design industry, we ensure that our laboratory furniture performs as expected.
Are you looking for better ways to ensure the safe storage of chemicals in your laboratory?
To learn more about our line of proper laboratory storage equipment and furniture and how it can improve your laboratory’s work environment, contact LabTech Supply Company, Inc. today.