Storing chemicals in laboratories requires consideration of a number of health and safety factors. In general, lab workers should store chemicals in cabinets and on shelving provided for such storage. For instance, flammable liquids should be stored in a flammable liquids storage cabinet.
The following are general storage guidelines:
- Do not store chemicals on top of high cabinets where they will be hard to see or reach.
- Keep exits, passageways, areas under tables or benches, and emergency equipment free of stored materials.
- Label all containers appropriately. The label must be legible and accurate.
- Provide a definite storage place for each chemical and return the chemical to that location after each use.
- Avoid storing chemicals on bench tops, except for those chemicals being used currently.
- Avoid storing chemicals in laboratory fume hoods, except for the chemicals being used currently.
- If a chemical does not require a ventilated cabinet, store it inside a closable cabinet or on a shelf that has a lip to prevent containers from sliding off in the event of a fire, serious accident, or earthquake.
- Observe all precautions regarding the storage of incompatible chemicals.
- Separate chemicals into compatible groups.