Those who work with toxic chemicals and other hazardous substances must by law comply with government safety standards for the safe storage of these chemicals, in order to protect not only the health and safety of their staff and anyone who might come into contact with these substances, but also in order to prevent any environmental pollution.
Who Needs a Toxic Storage Cabinet?
Any controlled environment like a hospital or a laboratory is likely to require a way to safely store toxic materials. Hazardous storage cabinets are now an essential requirement for many modern businesses, hospitals, laboratories and even schools, with storage of hazardous substances classified as a real risk to health and safety. Sometimes these substances are in everyday use. In schools these materials can include laboratory chemicals, pesticides, fertilisers and de-icers used for grounds maintenance, chemicals used to maintain and repair school vehicles, inks, solvents and adhesives used for printing in school offices and even art supplies like paints, stains, inks, glazes and photo processing chemicals.
The Law and Storage of Hazardous Materials
Specialised toxic storage cabinets are ideal for ensuring that these substances are safely contained and segregated from other hazardous materials which could pose a risk to health in workplaces or pollute the environment. The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Legislation (COSHH) details which substances are classified as being hazardous. There are specific regulations in place to ensure compliance standards are being met for all kinds of hazardous storage. This includes all kinds of explosives, chemicals, pesticides, flammable materials and corrosives.
Keeping Toxic Substances Apart
With any dangerous material, it’s important that substances can be easily and quickly identified in an emergency situation. Different kinds of hazardous substances should be stored separately in appropriate toxic storage cabinets so that they don’t have the opportunity to mix in the event of extreme conditions like fire. Colour coded steel cabinets are usually available in order to separate flammables, acids, COSHH hazards and pesticides.
The Specialised Design of Toxic Storage Cabinets
Flammable storage cabinets are designed to hold flammable materials and vapours away from sources of ignition and to withstand 30 minutes of fire. They come with perforated shelves meaning any spillages drain into a sump tray which is located at the foot of the cabinet. Not only should hazardous materials be safely stored away but cabinets should be easily identifiable in the event of a fire in order that they can be quickly seen and identified by the fire service.
Highly flammable liquids with a flashpoint below 32 degrees centigrade can only be stored in quantities of 50 litres of less and must be stored in flammable storage cabinets that are conspicuously marked with the approved labels indicating their contents. Entry to HFL storage locations should only be given to authorised key holders.
Chemicals and pesticides can be safely contained in a toxic storage cabinet. These cabinets contain vents which prevent a dangerous build-up of fumes, and have sumps that will collect any spills or leaking chemicals.