In science, there are few things more important than safety. In addition to lab coats, gloves, masks, and goggles, scientists must also consider the importance of proper chemical storage.
Even the most mundane chemicals and materials need to be properly stored to avoid cross-contamination.
Why Should You Store Your Chemicals Properly?
There are far more answers than you’d think to the question.
In addition to safety, scientists should also consider the risks of cross-contamination.
Even the slightest pollution can alter highly sensitive results, which renders any tests useless.
The Importance of Proper Chemical Storage as a Safety Measure
The most obvious reason for proper chemical storage is safety. Without well-ventilated storage cabinets, highly flammable or toxic chemicals can create a dangerous environment when accessed.
Conversely, poorly secured cabinets present a hazard to the public, as hazardous materials may be stolen and spread to inappropriate locations.
Legal Requirements for Chemical Storage
While the legal requirements surrounding chemical storage are geared toward safety, they’re an entirely separate concern. When a facility fails to properly store its hazardous materials, it’s putting itself at risk.
The owners face multiple fines and legal ramifications, while the workers may lose their jobs.
Depending on the material, the legal consequences of failing to properly secure sensitive chemicals will vary. In some cases, laboratory owners will be faced with serious fines.
For severe infractions, negligent parties may face jail time.
Organization and Functionality
Laboratories should also consider the functional applications of chemical storage. While smaller labs may be able to shelve their chemicals, larger operations will have a wide variety of chemicals.
This means that workers will need to check different substances, and having each substance properly organized will dramatically improve a lab’s functionality.
Proper storage provides workers with designated spaces for each chemical. If a worker is looking for a certain substance, they will know its exact location without searching.
When work has concluded, the materials can be returned to the same spot without fuss or mess.
This streamlined system reduces wasted time. In larger labs, which are subject to near-constant activity, a proper organization can also reduce spills and accidents.
Chemical Storage and Security
Finally, chemical storage is essential for a lab’s integrity. Regardless of the type of chemical being stored, its purity will impact the results of important testing.
Moreover, particularly sensitive chemicals and samples are private and require the use of biosafety cabinets.
The Consequences of Poor Chemical Storage
What happens when chemicals are not stored properly?
There are a variety of consequences, and none of them are desirable.
One of the most dangerous outcomes of improper chemical storage is a hazardous situation. While many chemicals can be wiped up without a fuss, many more have the potential to cause severe harm.
Airborne fumes can sicken workers, and acidic substances can inflict disabling burns. Flammable substances may result in a destructive fire, which destroys the entire facility.
To avoid these situations, labs must pay special attention to their chemical storage solutions. Tanks should be inspected regularly, and all piping should be tested regularly for leaks.
In extreme situations, hazardous chemicals may leak outside of the facility. At this point, the laboratory’s poor storage decisions have become a widespread environmental problem.
The responsible companies will ultimately face massive fines and legal ramifications, which may shutter the business.
Improperly stored chemicals also pose a functional risk.
When a facility fails to properly store and label its chemicals, workers are forced to seek out each substance. This adds an untold amount of time to each test and severely hampers the efficiency of a lab.
Designating storage locations and properly labeling each chemical resolves these issues.
Finally, should a disaster occur, laboratories without proper chemical storage will face a great number of legal repercussions. Workers will be able to pinpoint the administration’s failure to comply with basic guidelines, which means that the company will be at fault for any wrongdoing.
Ultimately, this means that the laboratory and its administrators will be on the hook for any problems that occur. An individual injury may cost thousands, and widespread incidents can easily bankrupt an entire company.
To ensure that this does not happen to your lab, you’ll want to have properly maintained tanks, biosafety cabinets, and casework. All of these storage solutions should be placed strategically and allow workers quick access from anywhere in the lab.
Need Proper Lab Storage For Your Laboratory?
If you’re thinking of updating your lab or wish to consult with an expert about your current layout, now is the time. OnePointe Solutions has worked with labs across the country, and our experience can help you create the lab of your dreams.
We carry a plethora of products to create the right laboratory storage for you from metal cabinets, stainless steel cabinets, phenolic cabinets, and even plastic laminate cabinets too. Call us today at (866) 612-7312 to speak with a representative to see which is the right one for your facility.