If you need to hire a third-party logistics provider for the warehousing of hazardousous chemicals, you should partner with a firm that is ISO certified and whose facilities use state-of-the-art methods for hazardous material storage. Your 3PL should work with their local fire departments, the EPA and OSHA to insure that they are providing the necessary safety and operational features for the safe chemical warehousing of their clients' products. In addition, your 3PL should ideally be certified by carriers such as FedEx and UPS for small package chemical shipping and fulfillment, should you also need such services.
However, no matter where you store the bulk of your chemicals, here are some general guidelines you should consider:
- All chemicals received into inventory should be dated upon receipt.
- Older stock should be used before newer stock.
- Inventory should be verified on an annual basis.
- Chemicals should be stored in separate, secure areas apart from other items being warehoused.
- Chemicals should never be stored in fume hoods or work areas.
- Storage areas as well as storage cabinets should be clearly labeled to identify the hazardous nature of products stored within.
- Unlabeled products should be properly identified and labeled before storing. Labels should specify exact contents, hazardous properties, date of receipt, and if appropriate, the date of expiration.
- Flammable chemicals should never have been stored in standard domestic refrigerators.
- Avoid storing chemicals directly on the floor, even on a temporary basis.
- Avoid storing chemicals above eye level. At eye level, storage conditions can be easily viewed and evaluated – corroded or deteriorating containers can be identified and the problem addressed.
- Shelving used in the storage area should be firmly secured to the floor and wall (s). Island shelving units should be avoided unless they can be secured to the floor and ceiling.
- Shelves should feature a lip around all sides to prevent bottles or other containers from falling.
- Wooden shelves are less efficient heat conductors and well-suited for general storage; however, metal shelving should be used to store flammable products to reduce fire risks.
- Avoid throwing chemicals below, above or near a sink or other water source. Many chemicals can be affected by moisture and can potentially become even more hazardous.
- Chemical storage areas should be located away from heavily transported areas in the building.
- All storage cabinets, lockers or closets should be locked when not in use.
- As a general rule, chemicals should be stored where it is cool and dry.
- All caps and lids to containers should be tightly sealed. Good housekeeping should be practiced at all times. No chemicals should be stored outside their proper containers.
- When storing, group chemicals in compatible families, rather than alphabetic order. Flammables should be stored with flammables and oxidizers should be stored with oxidizers.
- Extremely hazardous products should be purchased and stored in as small a quantity as possible to minimizeize danger.
- All emergency telephone numbers should be posted prominently in all chemical storage areas.
- Install smoke detectors and appropriate extinguishers in all chemical storage areas.
Hazardous materials are any materials which are capable of causing harmful physical or health effects. Hazardous materials can be grouped into one or more of the following classifications:
- Flammable liquid
- Flammable solid
- Organic Peroxide
- Compressed gas
Personnel working with any hazardous substances should be trained in the proper storage and handling of those materials, as well as in spill procedures, first aid procedures and disposal procedures.