Accidents are always a risk in a warehouse, and this is particularly true when you’re handling or storing hazardous goods. Warehouse managers must impose safeguards to reduce the chance of leaks and spills that can cause damage to the environment and to the people working with them.
It is essential that you always know what chemicals are being stored in the warehouse. Take an inventory and list the amounts being used and the risks associated with them.
Carry out risk analysis to ascertain whether a certain chemical is actually needed. There are instances where a different, less hazardous substance could be used.
Here are some of the precautions that need to be taken when storing:
• Training staff how to handle and store hazardous substances properly
• Ensuring the correct use of safety measures when handling dangerous substances, such as protective clothing or guaranteeing sufficient ventilation
• Using the information on safety data sheets to store chemicals according to the manufacturer’s instructions
• Preventing the possibility of leaks of hazardous substances
• Quickly removing any leaks or spills that happen
• Stacking incompatible goods away from each other
• Storing chemicals away from gas cylinders
• Keeping equipment on hand at all times ready to clean up spillage
• Placing flammable materials in fireproof, separate spaces
• Ensuring storerooms for chemicals don’t have open floor drains. If a floor drain is present, it should come with some form of protection to stop leakage.
• Refrigerators and freezers needed for storing chemicals should be industry standard and not ones intended for food or drink.
Other things to consider
Investing in a solid industrial shelving system is also paramount. This allows you to store things such as liquids above ground level and away from traffic routes where they could get damaged. Industrial shelving in Ireland can be found at https://www.rackzone.ie/shelving/industrial-residential-shelving.
Chemicals should always be stored in their original containers. In the cases where a smaller amount is needed, the labelling of the new packaging should always match the original.
Smoking should only be allowed in safe and specially appointed areas. Those who smoke should always wash their hands before smoking. Similarly, food and drinks shouldn’t be eaten or kept in a warehouse where hazardous substances are present.
Excess chemicals or other hazardous waste should be removed in accordance with the information on the safety data sheet.