What is the law in terms of the storage of hazardous substances?

What is the law in terms of the storage of hazardous substances?

In many work places across the country, there are a vast amount of hazardous substances that, if not stored correctly can cause serious harm. Knowing how to correctly and safely store them is not only something that employers must follow to keep their staff safe but, it is also the law.

Hazardous substances can vary in type, hazard and severity as well as the conditions in which they are under by which they present a risk. Factors such as the amount of hazardous substance there is and how it is stored are points that must be considered when thinking about storing them safely.

There are a number of regulations in place to ensure the safe storage of hazardous substances such as the Health and Safety at work Act 1974 which includes a general duty requiring arrangements for the storage of substances to ensure the safety of those in the workplace.

Other regulations such as COSHH also require an employer to carry out a risk assessment including a consideration of how substances should be stored in order to keep everyone safe. Employers must provide adequate enough information, instruction and training for any employees who may use hazardous substances so that they are in accordance with a range of health and safety regulations.

As an employer, you must make sure that all substances are returned to their storage places when finished with, ensure all substances are stored safely in the first place and co-operate with their employees so that they comply with The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002.

With substance types covering a wide range such as; flammable, oxidizing, lead, explosive, radioactive, oil, pesticides and substances hazardous to health, knowing the legislations for each is very important.

Factors to consider when safely storing hazardous substances include correctly labeling and packaging the components so that they can be correctly identified as well as taking into consideration; procedures for emergencies, the hazard presented by the substance, the amount of hazardous substance, the containers and how they will be stored.

Knowing how best to store your hazardous substances can really make all the difference when it comes to people safety. Storing dangerous materials correctly reduces the chance of accidents making working environments safer all around.

Examples as to how best to store hazardous substances are as follows. Gases should be stored in a safe, dry place on a flat surface and away from vehicles. Incompatibles such as acids should never be stored together and should be kept away from other substances. Highly flammable liquids and gases are best stored in closed tanks or cylinders and have security measures so that only authorised people can have access. Oil can be stored in tanks both above or under ground with one container not holding more than 200 litres in order to avoid water pollution.

Training for in the event of an emergency is always best practice when working with hazardous substances. Knowing that you have followed all correct health and safety procedures will ultimately keep everyone as safe as possible.

11th Mar 2020 Christopher Maltby CW

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