Hazardous Chemical Storage Guidelines

  1. Storage cabinets and shelving must be made of materials compatible with the chemicals being stored.

  2. Use of compatible, corrosion-resistant storage trays (i.e. polypropylene) is recommended as secondary containment to catch spills, leaks, or drips from primary storage containers.

  3. Leaking storage containers must be replaced and the chemical transferred to a new container or over-packed into a secondary container.

  4. Avoid storing chemicals on top of cabinets or on shelves higher than 5 feet (1.5 m). Use a step stool when retrieving materials stored above on overhead shelves.

  5. Maintain at least 18 inches of clearance from area fire sprinkler heads to allow for proper functioning of the sprinkler system in the event of a fire. [NFPA Standard 13].

  6. Store heavy materials on lower shelves.

  7. Keep exits, passageways and areas near emergency equipment clear of clutter to allow for quick egress from the area and access to essential equipment in case of emergency.

  8. Label all hazardous chemical storage containers (see NMSU Chemical Container Labeling procedures).

  9. Provide a definite storage place for each chemical and return the chemical to that location after each use to assist in maintaining a clean work environment and to ensure that segregation of incompatible chemicals is maintained.

  10. Avoid storing chemicals on benchtops or in fume hoods, except for chemicals being actively used, to avoid clutter.

  11. Avoid storing chemicals in chemical hoods, except for those chemicals being actively used, to avoid clutter and to maintain adequate airflow in the hood.

  12. Provide ventilated storage near or beneath laboratory chemical fume hoods and store volatile toxic or odoriferous chemicals in ventilated cabinets.

  13. Ensure storage containers of corrosive, flammable, or toxic chemicals are sealed to minimize the vapors escaping.

  14. Chemicals that do not require ventilated storage cabinets should be stored inside closable cabinets or on shelves with a lip designed to prevent containers from sliding off in the event of a fire, accident, or earthquake.

  15. Do not stored chemicals close to a heat source or in direct sunlight.

  16. Store chemicals in a secure area or lockable storage to prevent unauthorized access to the materials.