Safety labels and waste tags are available in the following locations on campus. If you find that a specific location is low on a specific item that you need, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Proper labeling and storage of chemicals is essential. Please follow the guidelines below regarding proper labeling and storage of chemicals:
- Segregation of Incompatible Chemicals
- Refrigerating Flammable Liquids
- Storing Liquids and Solid Chemicals Together
- Hazardous Liquids
- Liquid Nitrogen
- Solid Chemicals
- Chemical Containers and Screw Tops
- Floor Storage, Fume Hoods and Work Areas
- Shelved Items
- Fire Code Limits on Storage of Flammables
All chemical containers should be labeled with full chemical names, chemical hazards, date received (and date opened) and initials of the responsible party. The chemical hazard(s) can be found on most Safety Data Sheets in Section 3.
- Hazard label options include: Flammable, Corrosive, Toxic, Reactive (Air / Water / Oxidizer or “Time Sensitive” Please check or list all that apply.
- Write the “date received” and “date opened” on the original manufacturer’s container. If a chemical has been placed in a different container, write the date of transfer.
- Include the initials of the responsible party, either the Laboratory Supervisor’s or the lab technician using the specific chemical.
Hazardous and non-hazardous stock solutions must be labeled as well. Safety staff can provide orange (hazardous) and green (non-hazardous) labels to use when label these types of solutions that do not have a manufacturer's label on them.
A secondary container is a catch basin or bin that can contain drips and spills of the chemicals stored inside of it.
If a chemical cabinet is being used to store an assortment of chemicals from one hazard class (such as "Corrosives"), be sure to segregate chemicals that are not compatible, such as separating "Inorganic Acids" from "Organic Acids" .
If a secondary container is being used to store an assortment of chemicals from one hazard class, such as storing a caustic amine (often both corrosive and flammable) from those chemicals that are only "Caustic", use smaller secondary containment bins inside the larger secondary container.
Another way to label chemicals properly is to attach a list of chemicals to the outside of the secondary container showing all of the chemicals that can safely be stored together in that particular bin. You can find lists of compatible chemicals on the Hazardous Chemicals of Concern (see pages 3-6 of the Chemical Use Planning Form). Train all lab workers to understand which chemicals can be safely stored together by discussing safe compatibility of chemicals by hazard class.
High hazard areas in the laboratory, such as ethidium bromide or acrylamide work stations, high voltage areas, and human material work stations, should be labeled. Signs for this purpose are available from Safety staff at email@example.com
All chemical storage cabinets should be clearly labeled to identify the hazards inside (e.g. Flammables, Corrosives, etc. Signage and labels for this purpose are available from Safety staff at firstname.lastname@example.org
All hazardous chemicals must be stored in secondary containment. Hazardous chemicals should be segregated in separate cabinets by hazard. If space does not allow, incompatible chemicals may be stored in the same cabinet when secondary containment is used to prevent any spilled materials from contacting incompatible containers in the same cabinet. To assist in proper segregation of chemicals, the following two guides may be used:
NOTE: When segregating acids and bases, be aware that if they are stored in the same cabinet, the off-gassing from the containers will cause any metal inside the cabinet to rust. Over time, this may lead to shelving brackets to rust through and hinges damaged.
Still have questions on how to properly segregate and store your chemicals safely? Contact Safety staff (email@example.com) for assistance.
Flammable liquids that require refrigeration must be stored in a refrigerator or freezer specially designed to prevent flammable vapors from igniting.
When storing flammable liquids, please observe the following guidelines:
- Never store flammable materials in household appliances (Kenmore, GE, Amana, etc.). Explosions, injuries and costly laboratory fires can result. Contact laboratory safety vendors to purchase the appropriate refrigerator or freezer based on the materials you need to store.
- If a flammable refrigerator or freezer is needed, purchase one that is UL listed, intrinsically safe, and specifically labeled for “flammable materials storage.” A flammable liquid is defined as having a flash point of less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius.
- Ultra low freezers (less than -40 degrees Fahrenheit) generally cannot be approved for storing flammable materials.
- Do not purchase an “explosion proof” unit. These are often unnecessary and very costly.
If non-hazardous liquids and hazardous solids are stored together, liquid chemicals must be kept in secondary containers. This helps to prevent any potentially mixing of incompatible chemicals.
All hazardous liquids should be stored in secondary containers and with compatible chemicals. All hazardous liquids should be stored at or below eye level; this means that the shortest person in the lab area will be able to stand flat-footed and see the top plane of the shelf on which the hazardous chemicals are stored.
Be sure to check out the Cryogen section of our website. Store liquid nitrogen and dry ice only in ventilated rooms. Both substances can displace oxygen in the air without any warning signs. Rooms with only an entry door as a source of fresh air are very dangerous locations for these substances. Shared dewars of liquid nitrogen accessible to many people must have proper PPE available to those who may dispense from it. Liquid nitrogen areas must also have specific hazard warnings and appropriate signage. Oxygen monitoring is recommended for these areas.
Solid chemicals, such as non-hazardous salts may be stored alphabetically on shelves or in cabinets. Separate solid Oxidizers and solid Toxics into their own secondary container and label clearly as "Oxidizers" or "Toxic".
Screw top lids that fit correctly prevent drips and spills. Please keep in mind the following when securing chemicals with screw tops:
- Do not use ground glass stopper bottles for the storage of hazardous chemicals.
- Do not use open beakers to store chemicals or waste.
Waste technicians will not pick up any waste containers that do not have screw top lids that fit properly. We cannot transport these types of containers safely in our permitted vehicle.
Stock chemicals (or waste) chemicals should not be stored on the floor. Chemical fume hoods are work areas only and are not to be used for chemical storage. Containers stored in the fume hood can block the rear baffles and prevent proper airflow inside the fume hood.
All shelved items must allow for at least 18" of vertical clearance from overhead sprinklers. Any shelved item that is not along the perimeter of the laboratory must be 18” below the plane of the sprinkler installation, and 2 feet below the ceiling. This enables overlapping water streams and proper fire suppression.
NFPA Fire Codes limit the amount of flammable liquids that can be stored in lab areas. The Jeffords Building, for example, was designed with Fire Zones that have a 5-gallon limit for storage of flammable liquids in the laboratories.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with specific questions about chemical storage or flammable limits in your campus building.