15 Mar 2019
Corrosive materials are substances that can dissolve other materials through chemical reaction. Some corrosive materials are mild, such as those found in drain unblockers or bleach, with others having massive effects on solids such as metal, wood, and stone. Hazardous chemicals that are corrosive to metals can cause damage to plant and equipment, such as containers, pipes, fixtures and fittings. If it is not nproperly handled, it can spill on to exposed flesh and cause serious harm.
Corrosive materials need to be stored and handled in a safe and secure manner. The Australian Standard AS 3780-2008 - The storage and handling of corrosive substances outlines the requirements for safe corrosive material storage. Safety Data Sheets as prepared by manufacturers or importers of corrosive materials can also lend an insight into how dangerous a certain material is, and the correct course of action to store it.
Here is a quick guide to storing corrosive materials, though every new corrosive material should go through a rigorous risk assessment before deciding the appropriate storage container.
Handling corrosive materials
Before handling corrosive materials, you should always check containers for leaks or damage. If you are handling barrels, employees should transport them using drum cradles or caddies. They should not be manually handled. The types of substances we’ll cover are Class 3 Flammable Liquids; Division 5.1 Oxidising Agents, and Division 5.2 Organic Peroxides.
Pictured: Ergonomic Drum Hand Trolley
Where to store corrosive materials in your workplace
For interior storage, you should place a cabinet for corrosive material storage far out of the way of high foot traffic or high-density areas. They should not slow down or obstruct a fire escape route. They should be located near a chemical wash station or hand-wash station at the very least. If your workplace has more than one location for corrosive substance storage, the quantity you may store must not exceed 1000L. They must also be separated by at least 5m. No more than 250L should be of Packing Group II, and no more than 50L shall be of Packing Group I.
Pictured: Emergency Eye / Face Wash Showers
Best corrosive material storage design practices
Corrosive material cabinets need to have safety at the forefront of their construction. It should minimise risk as much as possible to people and the environment. They should have self-closing, close-fitting doors that close using at least two catching mechanisms, without moving inward. The base of the cabinet should be a spillproof, water-tight sump of at least 150mm deep. It should also catch at least 25% of the materials in the cabinet, if spilled. Shelves should facilitate air movement, and the entire construction must, of course, be corrosive material resistant. If the cabinet itself is not resistant, it should be protected with a resistant lining or coating.
Pictured: Poly Corrosive Storage Cabinets
Always use personal protective equipment
Working with corrosive substances requires the wearing of PPE such as gloves, overcoats, boots, aprons, hoods, and other corrosive resistant cladding. The eyes should be protected with goggles. If fumes are present, handlers should wear masks to prevent inhalation.
To find a wide range of cabinets built for storing corrosive substances safely, contact Backsafe Australia.
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