Chemicals are stored according to compatibility

Storage of chemicals in the laboratory must be done according to compatibility to assure safety of lab personnel and prevent accidents. To prevent unintended reactions between incompatible compounds, chemical containers need to be segregated into compatible groups when in storage. The use of secondary containment (such as bus tubs, buckets, etc.) under containers is encouraged.

References:

  • NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules. April 2019.
  • MSU Chemical Hygiene Plan, Appendix B OSHA Standard 1910.1450 App A.

Corrective actions:

MSU and NIH have extensive guidelines about storing chemicals that should be followed by laboratories. If you have questions, contact MSU EHS at 517-355-0153.

General guidelines:

1.  Chemicals should be separated and stored according to hazard category and compatibility.

2.  SDS and label information should be followed for storage requirements.

  • Toxic or corrosive chemicals that require vented storage should be stored in vented cabinets instead of in a chemical hood.
  • Peroxide formers should be dated upon receipt, again dated upon opening, and stored away from heat and light with tightfitting, nonmetal lids.
  • Open shelves used for chemical storage should be secured to the wall and contain 3/4-inch lips. Secondary containment devices should be used as necessary. Storage of chemicals at the lab bench or other work areas shall be kept to a minimum. Minimize storage of chemicals or apparatus in the hood.
  • Oxidizers, reducing agents, and fuels should be stored separately to prevent contact in the event of an accident.
  • Chemicals should not be stored in the chemical hood, on the floor, in areas of egress, on the benchtop, or in areas near heat or in direct sunlight.
  • Laboratory-grade, flammable-rated refrigerators and freezers should be used to store sealed chemical containers of flammable liquids that require cool storage. Do not store food or beverages in the laboratory refrigerator.
  • Highly hazardous chemicals should be stored in a well-ventilated and secure area designated for that purpose.
  • Flammable chemicals should be stored in a spark-free environment and in approved flammable-liquid containers and storage cabinets. Grounding and bonding should be used to prevent static charge buildups when dispensing solvents.
  • Chemical storage and handling rooms should be controlled-access areas. They should have proper ventilation, appropriate signage, diked floors, and fire suppression systems.
  • Chemicals should not be stored on high shelves, and large bottles should be stored no more than two feet from floor level.

When certain hazardous chemicals are stored or mixed together, violent reactions may occur because the chemicals are unsuitable for mixing or are incompatible. Classes of incompatible chemicals should be segregated from each other during storage, according to hazard class. Use the following general guidelines for hazard class storage:

  • Flammable/Combustible Liquids and Organic Acids
  • Flammable Solids
  • Mineral Acids
  • Caustics
  • Oxidizers
  • Perchloric Acid
  • Compressed Gases

For chemical compatibility, see Compatibility table available on EHS website (PDF) or contact EHS for a consultation.