5.5 Chemical storage and transport


Trolley used for the transportation of larger volumes of chemicals

Trolley used for the transportation of larger volumes of chemicals

All chemicals must be labeled and transported and stored safely according to their Hazardous Substance or Dangerous Goods coding. For example, flammable liquids are to be stored in limited volumes in a flammables cabinet, and strong oxidants must not be transported in the same tub as flammable liquids. For full details on the coding and regulations, please visit the University Library Database (select Standards Australia, follow the prompts, enter AS2243 to access the Australian Standard on Safety in Laboratories. Section 10 relates specifically to the Storage of Chemicals).

A full list of Dangerous Goods Classes is available via the University web site.

Dangerous Goods also have a Packing Group code (I, II or III) which indicates the degree of danger associated with dangerous goods within a given class (Class I presenting the highest danger or severity of risk should you be exposed to the chemical). A Packing Group code does not refer to the description of the vessel containing a chemical.

The 2017 WHS Regulation makes reference to the Globally Harmonised System (GHS) for the management of Hazardous Substances using standard Hazard and Risk phrases in lieu of the Dangerous Goods classifications. Dangerous Goods classifications are still relevant for the safe transportation of such chemicals. Because the GHS does not include guidelines for safe storage in terms of segregating incompatible chemicals, the School of Chemistry has opted to retain the Dangerous Goods classifications for this purpose.

Transportation
Winchester carrier

Winchester carrier

No more than 20L of chemicals are to be transported in one lot within the School. The exception to this is large dewars of liquid nitrogen and liquid helium, which can only be handled by trained users.

Incompatible Dangerous Goods classes are to be segregated during transportation.

Chemicals collected from the Store are to be transported within a container. Carefully consider the transportation of corrosive liquids.

Due to proximity to high traffic areas, chemicals are not to be transported in the North Lift of the School (nearest the lecture theatres) unless the South Lift is out of operation.

Do not enter or travel in a lift carrying a container of cryogenic liquids. Dewars of liquid nitrogen or other cryogenics must travel unaccompanied with a yellow chain placed across the door to prevent access. If you encounter this chain, DO NOT ENTER THE LIFT. Do not remove a cryogen dewar from the lift unless instructed. The owner will be on another floor awaiting its arrival.

Winchesters must not be carried by the neck of the bottle. Solvent bottle carriers MUST be used for the transport of Winchesters between laboratories or between the Service Rooms and Chemistry Store.

Never enter a lift carrying a cryogen dewar

Never enter a lift carrying a cryogen dewar

When transporting any size or volume of chemicals in the lift, they MUST be contained within an appropriate vessel. For larger items, carriers or buckets are available from a Service Room or the Chemistry Store. Larger items being carried in buckets or carriers must also be placed on the floor while the lift is in motion to prevent a spill due to abrupt stoppage.

Gas cylinders must be secured during transport using an appropriate cylinder trolley. Chemistry Store staff can demonstrate the safe technique for moving cylinders on and off trolleys. Care should be taken to ensure the outlet never points at a person. Do not enter or travel in a lift carrying a gas cylinder. Cylinders, whether full or empty, must travel unaccompanied with a yellow chain placed across the door to prevent access. If you encounter this chain, DO NOT ENTER THE LIFT. Do not remove a cylinder from the lift unless instructed. The owner will be on another floor awaiting its arrival.

Safety glasses must be worn during transportation. Due to the risk of contamination, however, laboratory coats and gloves are not to be worn while moving through public areas of the building. Chemicals being transported (including those synthesized in a laboratory and being taken to an analytical facility) are to be sealed and held in a suitable container.

Storage
Flammable cabinet

Flammable cabinet

Chemicals are to be returned to appropriate storage locations at the end of each day and not left overnight on benches or in fume hoods.

Chemicals must be stored according to their Dangerous Goods (DG) Classification and incompatible DGs are to be segregated. Small plastic trays with clear labels can be used to safely segregate and store chemicals and enable them to be returned to their correct storage location after use.

Specific Dangerous Goods cabinets are available throughout the School. These cabinets must only be used for the DG class indicated on the cabinet. Typically there are DG 3 (Flammable Liquids), DG 6.1 (Toxics) and DG 8 (Corrosives) cabinets in laboratories. Note that Dangerous Goods Class 8 (DG 8) includes acids and bases and acids and bases must never be stored together.

Chemicals requiring refrigeration are to be stored in fridges specifically for chemicals. Food or drink must not be stored in these fridges and the fridges must be labelled as such. Flammable chemicals must be stored in intrinsically safe fridges which do not have an ignition source within the cabin of the fridge. Similarly, incompatible chemicals in cold storage must also be segregated. Old chemicals will be disposed of during the annual stocktake.

Legislative requirements indicate a maximum allowable limit per square metre of laboratory space for each of the DG classes, as outlined in AS2243. Best practice is to minimize total chemical load in a laboratory. In particular, only the daily requirement of solvents is to be collected from the Chemistry Store.