Chemical Storage Regulations Guide

Chemical Storage Regulations Guide

Chemical Storage regulations

Chemical storage regulations exist to keep people and the environment safe. This is an important issue in the UK, as chemicals can be dangerous if not stored properly. Proper storage can help prevent accidents and protect the environment. In this article, we will discuss the safe storage of chemicals in the UK, including the use of storage containers, fire risks, and bunded containers. We will also explore the regulations and guidelines that are in place in the UK to protect those working around chemicals and the wider environment and ensure safe and compliant chemical storage.

COSHH means Control Of Substances Hazardous to Health

The word 'Chemical' covers various products and substances, but let's focus on chemicals that can cause harm.  These hazardous substances need to be handled and stored within the COSHH regulations..  Chemical storage regulations is a broad term that includes the COSHH regulation and CHIP - Chemicals (Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply) Regulations 2002. You will also need to consider COMAH, which stands for Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations

One of the most important factors to consider when storing chemicals is the type of container used. Several types of containers can be used for chemical storage, including drums, IBCs (Intermediate Bulk Containers), and tanks. Each type of container has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the choice of container will depend on the chemical being stored and the amount of space available and also the method of transport and delivery used by the chemical supplier.

Bund or Secondary Containment

Whenever you store over 200L of hazardous liquids, such as chemicals, oils and fuels, you must use a bund or secondary containment to prevent spills and leaks from entering the environment.

Drums are the most common type of container used for chemical storage. They are relatively inexpensive, easy to handle, and available in various sizes. However, they have a limited capacity and are unsuitable for storing large amounts of chemicals.  Drums are typically single-skin construction and require a bund or containment for safe storage.

Chemical storage IBC tankIBC Chemical storage tank on an IBC Bund

IBC tanks are a more recent development in chemical storage. They are large, reusable containers that are designed to be used multiple times. They are available in various sizes and are suitable for storing large quantities of chemicals. IBCs are also easy to handle with a forklift pallet base and UN Approved for transport, making them a popular choice for liquid chemical storage.  Most IBC tanks are single-skin, like drums, and will require a bund or leak-proof contained area for environmentally safe storage.

Tanks are another option for chemical storage. They are typically made of plastic or metal and are available in various sizes. They are suitable for static storing large quantities of liquid and powder chemicals and are often used in industrial settings. Both plastic and steel tanks are available with integral bunds making them environmentally safe and protected from spills escaping into the environment.

Flammable Chemicals

Another important consideration when storing chemicals is the location of the storage area. Chemicals should be stored in a secure, well-ventilated area that is away from any sources of heat or flame. They should also be stored out of direct sunlight and away from water sources.

Hazardous chemical Regulations fire safety signFire risks are another important factor to consider when storing chemicals. Chemicals can be highly flammable, and a fire can have disastrous consequences. To minimize fire risks, chemicals should be stored away from sources of heat or flame, and fire extinguishers should be readily available in the storage area. It is also important to have a fire evacuation plan in place in case of an emergency.

Bunded containers are an important safety feature for chemical storage. A bunded container is a container that is surrounded by a secondary containment area. This secondary containment area is designed to catch any chemical spills or leaks that may occur. Bunded containers are required for storing certain chemicals, providing an extra layer of protection against accidents and spills.

The UK has several regulations in place to protect the environment and ensure safe chemical storage. The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) regulations require employers to assess the risks of handling and storing hazardous chemicals and take appropriate measures to protect employees and the environment. The Environmental Protection Act 1990 also requires companies to take all reasonable measures to prevent pollution and protect the environment.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is responsible for enforcing these regulations and ensuring that companies adhere to them. They have the power to inspect facilities and issue fines or penalties for non-compliance.

Chemical Storage Checklist

Here's a quick checklist to keep your hazardous chemicals safe.

  • Consult the chemical manufacturers' Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for specific handling requirements.
  • Storing over 200L of liquid in total will require a bund or secondary containment. Eg, bund pallet, drip tray, bunded flooring or other spill containment. 
  • The bund volume should be 110% of the total volume stored.  For multiple drums, 110% of the largest drum or 25% of the total. Whichever is greater.
  • Store chemicals in a ventilated area away from potential sources of ignition.
  • Flammable chemicals should be stored in a fire-resistant lockable container or cabinet with ventilation and correct warning signs.
  • A t Risk Assessments should be in place and available to read for every person handling the chemicals.

In conclusion, chemical storage regulations are part of UK Law. Correct storage will help prevent accidents and protect the environment. The choice of container, location of the storage area, and use of bunds and chemical storage cabinets are all important factors to consider when storing chemicals. The UK has several regulations in place to protect the environment and ensure safe chemical storage, and it is important for companies to comply with these regulations. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that chemicals are stored safely and securely and that the environment, employees and the public are protected.

Please see our range of chemical storage containers, designed and manufactured to meet these regulations with bunded floors and shelving, additional ventilation and fire-resistant construction to comply with COSHH regulations and chemical storage best practices.

Chemical storage container COSHH