Storage & Handling

Safe Storage and Handling

Appropriate handling and storage practices should be employed in areas where chemicals are used or stored. Storage requirements for chemicals are based on the International Fire Code. Handling requirements can be found on the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) as well as the knowledge of the user of the material. Contact the Chemical Hygiene Officer to obtain copies of any Material Safety Data Sheets you need.

The handling practices employed depend on the specifics of the particular task including potential accidents that might occur. The following factors should be considered when planning the handling safety plan:

  • Potential exposures through skin absorption and inhalation
    • - In laboratory operations skin exposure from routine handling and splash is always a concern
    • - In maintenance operations planning is required to avoid skin exposures
    • - Engineering controls such as hoods, glove boxes, or local ventilation should be used to reduce respiratory hazards
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) should be selected based on the chemical hazards present:
    • - ANSI approved eye protection should always be used when handling hazardous chemicals. Splash goggles should be used when splash and impact potential is present.
    • - Glove selection should consider the chemical present, type of exposure (incidental or submersion), and dexterity needed.
    • - Remember that the use of PPE adds additional physiological stress on workers and only protects the worker using the equipment. For these reasons environmental controls should be used before PPE.

An essential component of any operation or experiment is the safety of project participants and persons nearby. With chemicals, there are two types of hazards:

  • Physical hazards – such as fire, explosion, or oxygen displacement
  • Toxicological hazards – such as inhalation, skin exposure, or accidental ingestion

To reduce the risk of exposure:

  • Consider the use of a lower hazard surrogate material
  • Carefully plan the experiment and keep quantities of materials to a minimum
  • Educate project participants on the risks
  • Train project participants on the execution of the work
  • Have appropriate monitors available and be familiar with their use
  • Use engineering controls, such as:
    • - Chemical fume hoods for volatile solvents
    • - Filtered glove boxes for toxic dusts and powders
    • - Paint booths, vented welding booths, and sand blasting enclosures
    • - Local ventilation for grinding, sanding, soldering, welding (if fixed ventilation is not available)

The Environmental Health & Safety is implementing the Onsite EHS software database. This database will allow you to maintain an accurate inventory of your chemicals using a bar code system. Material Safety Data Sheets will be available for each container of chemical on your inventory.

As materials are consumed you can easily remove them from inventory. New purchases can be added by following a simple process.

The database allows the owner of a chemical to “share” the materials with other campus users.

Material Safety Data Sheets

Material Safety Data Sheets provide the end user of a chemical information on the properties of the material, handling instructions, and hazards posed by exposure to the chemical. The MSDS is prepared by the distributor or manufacturer of the chemical.

Contact the Chemical Hygiene Officer to obtain copies of any Material Safety Data Sheets you need.