20. Safe Storage of Chemicals

Chemicals must be stored safely in the lab. If you are unsure of how to store chemicals safely contact your WHMIS Designate and he/she will obtain videos and information on the safe storage of chemicals. Sort chemicals into their hazard groups and be sure that within their grouping you do not have incompatible chemicals stored together. Liquid chemicals which are stored below the fume hood can be sorted by using rectangular Nalgene containers to keep them physically separated from each other.  Below are some safety considerations when buying and storing chemicals:

  • Do not purchase more chemicals because bulk buying is cheaper, purchase only what your lab will use quickly. Chemicals can degrade over time and break down into hazardous by-products. There are certain chemicals which cannot be easily disposed of so if you purchase these items you will be responsible for their disposal. Such chemicals are usually ones that are restricted for transportation.
  • Write the date that you receive a chemical on the bottle when you receive it; this will enable you to see how old the chemical is or, how fast your lab uses a particular chemical.
  • Lecture size gas cylinders can be difficult to dispose of; please be sure to purchase from a supplier who will take the bottles back. EH+S cannot dispose of lecture bottles, therefore they will not accept them as chemical waste.
  • Do not store chemicals above eye level.
  • Do not store chemicals in direct sunlight
  • Do not store chemicals in offices or other personal areas such as lockers.  Removal of chemicals from a lab could be considered theft.
  • You cannot store the 20 or 25 litre drums of flammable chemicals in your lab or in an approved fire cabinet. This size of a container must be stored and dispensed in a Flammable Storage Room and the Department of Earth & Atmospheric Science does not have a Flammable Storage Room. There are limits on the amount of Class I, Class II and Class III flammables that are allowed to be stored in a laboratory.
  • Contact EH&S for more information about the proper storage of chemicals in your lab.

 Maintaining good lab records are the key to a successful and safe lab!