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COSHH - Storage Best Practice 

Written by: Steve King

Storage of Hazardous Materials

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Storage of dangerous or hazardous materials
Under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002, you must ensure chemicals and dangerous substances are stored and handled in a way that minimises the risks posed by those substances and which limits people's exposure to them.

You need to assess the risks of storing and handling dangerous substances - including the possibility of environmental damage caused by leaks and spills.

You should then implement any precautions needed to control risks, including:

storing chemicals according to the manufacturer's instructions on the safety data sheet
keeping the minimum quantity of hazardous substances necessary
storing incompatible substances separately
taking steps to prevent release or leakage of dangerous substances
keeping a spill kit near to storage areas, and ensuring staff are trained in what to do in the event of a spill
cleaning up any leaks or spills that occur
using appropriate precautions when handling substances - for example, wearing protective clothing or ensuring adequate ventilation
ensuring employees who store and handle dangerous substances are properly trained
checking containers used for short-term storage are properly labelled
If you store chemicals or dangerous substances that could create a fire or explosion, you must also comply with the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002. Download a leaflet on fire and explosion safety regulations from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) website (PDF) -
Ensure that flammable substances are correctly stored in suitable containers and are not stored near to a source of ignition such as a heater.

It's also best practice to:

place stores of liquid above ground where they're unlikely to be damaged, eg away from traffic routes
avoid overfilling containers
supervise deliveries
maintain gauges, valves and pipework
monitor oil use - unexpectedly high use may indicate a leak
have procedures for dealing with emergency leakages
use a secondary containment system such as a drip tray or bund (a storage area designed to prevent liquids escaping)




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