Safely store & handle hazardous materials in industry

Almost all businesses will have some form of chemical on site but failure to understand the risks associated with these chemicals can lead to costly clean-up, property damage, employee injury or even death. 

Used properly, most products can be both safe and effective. So how can you protect your employees who are required to use chemicals as part of their daily work? Here are some simple tips:

5 steps to ensure workplace safety

1. Identify the chemicals used on site

Make a list of all chemicals used and stored on site. 

2. Identify the storage of chemicals used on site

Add information about the quantity of chemicals stored, where they are stored, and what they are stored in to your inventory list. 

3. Request Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs)

If not already provided, request Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) from the chemical supplier for all chemicals stored on site. An MSDS is intended to provide employees and emergency personnel with procedures for handling chemicals in a safe manner and includes information such as melting points, boiling points, flash points, toxicty, health effects, first aid, reactivity, storage, disposal, protective equipment, and spill-handling procedures. 

Keep a log of all MSDSs for training employees and for quick reference in the event of an emergency. 

4. Label all chemical containers

Ensure all chemical containers are labelled with the following information:

  • Name of the chemical
  • Concentration of the chemical
  • Information about hazards associated with the chemical
  • Emergency information
  • The manufacturer’s name
  • The date of manufacture (chemicals can degrade over time)

5. Identify the safe handling of chemicals

Recognise safe handling practices for the use of each chemical stored on site. 

  • Follow safe handling instructions and identify personal protective equipment to be used while handling each chemical
  • Be aware of instructions regarding the mixing of chemicals
  • Always wash thoroughly after handling chemicals
  • Don’t eat, drink, or smoke when handling chemicals
Safety tips for storing chemicals

Chemicals must always be stored in a safe place with similar type chemicals. Most chemicals will belong to a specific category, and you need to make sure that only chemicals from the same category are stored together.

Flammable chemicals

Flammable chemicals must be kept away from heat and substances that might cause them to ignite or explode. In most workplaces, flammable chemicals are stored in a separate fire resistant cabinet that has been specially designed for them.

Oxidising chemicals

Oxidizing chemicals quickly and easily react with other chemicals so they should only be stored with other oxidizing chemicals.

Corrosive chemicals

Chemicals such as acids and alkali can corrode substances. They can also react violently and explosively if they come into contact with other types of chemicals. For this reason they should be stored in their own dedicated safety cabinet. 

Safety tips for working with chemicals

Keeping your employees and your facilities safe during daily work activities should be your highest priority. Even with all the necessary measures in place however, accidents may still happen. Here are some tips on how to limit the possibility and the actions to take if an accident does happen.  

Drum & IBC Storage

When storing oils, greases and chemicals in drums and IBCs, spill pallets must be used to reduce the risk of leaks and spills spreading and causing contamination. DENIOS spill pallets offer the necessary protection for storing water hazardous substances in accordance with HSE legislation and Environment Pollution Prevention Guideline PPG 26 regulations and are available in steel, stainless steel and polyethylene. The correct choice of material for the sump pallet will provide optimal resistance against the hazardous substance stored.  

For storing larger quantities of hazardous materials, chemical storage containers should be installed. Available in various sizes and dimensions for different applications, DENIOS storage containers are the ideal solution for safely storing large quantities of hazardous materials. 

Storing small volumes of chemicals & flammables

For storing smaller volumes of oils, greases and chemicals such as maintenance products in production areas and workshops, chemical and dispensing safety cabinets should be installed. Dispensing cabinets offer an ideal solution for decanting hazardous substances safely in tough, challenging environments. Cabinets can be individually fitted out with shelves, spill pallets and other accessories and supplied with folding or wing doors to suit individual requirements.  

When storing solvents, paints and flammables fire rated safety cabinets should be installed according to BS EN 14-470-1. This safety standard minimizes the fire risks associated with storing flammable substances, protects the cabinet’s contents in the event of a fire, minimizes the amount of vapours released into the working environment and retains accidental spillage within the cabinet.

Reducing fatigue in employees

Employees who stand for long periods of time often develop aches and pains in the back, neck, legs or feet. Anti-fatigue mats may be a simple yet effective solution. DENIOS anti fatigue mats are soft, slip-resistant and made from durable polymer, and provide a cushion for workers to stand on and also help to keep floors clean and dry.

Anti fatigue mats also provide many ergonomic benefits for workers including decreased shock, stress and pressure on feet and joints. Anti-fatigue mats also provide slip resistance. Slips, trips, and falls can cause sprains, strains, and even fatalities so it's very important to prevent them. Anti-fatigue mats can therefore minimise lost time and worker compensation costs by preventing injuries and pain due to prolonged standing.

Spill response

When storing and handling hazardous materials leaks and spills are possible. Absorbents and spill kits should be on hand to contain the spill immediately to prevent contamination with water, help prevent possible slips and trips and also reduce high disposal costs.

DENIOS offer a wide range of absorbent materials for this eventuality including spill kits, absorbents mats, rolls, snakes and granules all available in three versions for oil spills, chemical spills and general spills. 

Immediate first aid

In areas where hazardous materials are stored there is always a risk of an accident if the materials are handled incorrectly. Measures can be taken however to minimize these risks and ensure employees are best protected. 

Protecting eyes and the body is especially important when handling hazardous materials. Should an accident occur despite all other safety precautions, eye wash stations and emergency combination showers are a necessity to offer immediate aid and prevent permanent damage. Emergency showers and eye wash stations should be installed in any work area where hazardous substances are used. 

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All our handling and storing equipment can be found on line in our shop. 

Any questions? 

Our experts will be happy to help with any questions you have about the safe handling and storage of hazardous materials. 

Call us free on 0808 178 07 23