7 questions to ask about dangerous goods safety storage
08/06/2012 - If you store chemicals or dangerous materials, best practice and high standards must always be front of mind – see whether you check out with our handy checklist. Debra Taylor
If storing dangerous or volatile goods is part of your business, it’s essential that you know exactly what you are dealing with and that you have the right storage solution for the right materials.
Carefully ticking all the right boxes could mean the difference between injury – or worse – for workers or for the public, so sloppy work practices or sub-standard storage simply aren’t an option.
And when you think that approximately half a million consumer goods alone could potentially qualify as dangerous materials, it is no surprise that this kind of storage is highly regulated.
"Correct storage of dangerous goods in a cabinet is a win, win, win for any organisation," according to Todd Saunders from BigSafety.com.au, one of Australia’s leading online suppliers of safety equipment including flammable, corrosive, hazardous goods, pesticide, toxic and organic peroxide cabinets.
"But you must make sure they are top quality. That’s why we use Justrite cabinets, we know they will protect your team and resources, enhance productivity by keeping goods close to the point of use and prevent work site theft because they can be locked."
To make sure you have thought your dangerous goods storage through, here is a list of questions to ask yourself – and your staff.
1. Do you know exactly what chemical you are storing?
Make sure you thoroughly read the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) and that the sheets are easy to find for other members of staff.
2. Does the storage area have good ventilation?
Remember it is often the fumes, not flames, that burn when it comes to chemical hazards so you need an area where vapours cannot accumulate.
3. Do you know exactly what you have, and where it is?
Chemicals must be properly segregated and stored in their correct colour cabinet for rapid identification. Make sure everything is inventoried and listed.
4. Are you using good equipment?
Only use approved cabinets and storage – this is one area where cost should not be a driving factor! The storage you choose must be appropriately constructed and able to accommodate current and future needs. BigSafety supplies Justrite safety storage cabinets from the US, for example, because it has a one hundred year history of reliability.
5. Are your cabinets regularly checked for safety?
All dangerous goods storage must be fully operational all of the time. That means checking the fusible links on self closing doors, that the doors close completely and engage the latching system, that leak proof sills are intact, and that the shelving is stable and not overloaded.
6. Has the storage been installed properly?
Do you require anti-static wires? Have the anti-static wires been properly earthed? Is the cabinet positioned in the safest position whilst maximising workflow?
7. Are you taking your storage seriously?
It’s easy to get complacent or to be focused on other work problems but chemicals and dangerous goods can’t be taken lightly.