From respiratory protection and gloves to goggles to coveralls, workers have to protect themselves and take many precautions when working in an environment that has hazardous materials. However, working directly with it isn’t always the issue. Simply storing the chemical can be just as dangerous as working with it! In this blog, we will be going over 3 things to know about hazardous materials storage and how you can best protect yourself and your fellow workers.

What Defines “Hazardous?”

What makes a chemical Hazardous? To be safe, you should consider any chemical substance a hazardous material if it has a safety data sheet. Hazardous chemicals pose a great number of risks to people. In fact, there is no single list that names them all. The number of risks is extensive and constantly changing. You have to take appropriate measures when storing these chemicals as a failure to do so can result in serious injury, if not death. The top hazards that accompany most stored chemicals include:

  • Fires
  • Explosions
  • Toxic Exposures
  • Contamination
  • Chemical Reactions
  • Spills


What Should You Know Before Storing?

While it would be great to have a global method for handling hazardous chemicals, there are no set rules when it comes to the storage of hazardous chemicals, unfortunately. Each chemical is different and requires different measures. You’ll have to consider the chemical and physical properties of the substance, along with the health risks it poses. Taking that into account, here are 3 things you need to know about hazardous materials storage:

1. Some Chemicals Are Incompatible

Even though chemical substances are stored separately, you need to consider the possibility that they can interact if there is a leak or spill. Understanding the properties of all of the chemicals you’re storing is one of the best ways to identify chemicals that could be incompatible with each other. Examples of substances that shouldn’t be stored together include:

  • Acids that react with alkalis – causes heat to be generated
  • Acids that react with hypochlorites – produces chlorine gas
  • Acids that react with cyanides – generates hydrogen cyanide gas
  • Nitric acid and organic materials (like alcohol) – reacts explosively


If you are unsure about the compatibility, simply check the safety data sheet. If one isn’t available, we recommend contacting your supplier asap to request one.

2. The Type of Storage You Select Matters!

Preferably, hazardous materials should be stored at a convenient height for handling. Placing them on high shelves will only increase the chances of a drop or spill. You will also need appropriate shelving for the amount of chemicals you need to store. The last thing you want is your shelves collapsing due to the weight of the containers being too much for the shelving to handle.

3. Storage Containers Must be Clearly Labeled

Regardless of what you’re storing or the type of storage system you have in the place, safety significance is vital! Every chemical has to be clearly labeled so that it can be easily identified. The storage area itself should also be appropriately labeled in order to clearly communicate that hazardous materials are inside.

Hazardous Material Label

Protect Yourself with Safety Equipment from Extreme Safety

When it comes to the storage and handling of hazardous chemicals, it is vital that you have the proper safety equipment on! No single PPE equipment is effective against all hazardous materials, so it is important that you select the appropriate equipment for the unique characteristics of the chemical you are handling. At Extreme Safety, we have safety equipment that protects you from all kinds of hazards. Check out our wide selection of safety gear and equipment by clicking here. As experts in the safety industry, our team at Extreme Safety is always here and happy to help! You can call us at (310) 856-0166 or contact us by clicking here.