Outdoor chemical storage requirements
Jun 14, 2018

Outdoor chemical storage requirements

Walter Ingles Walter Ingles

If your organisation uses larger quantities of hazardous chemicals, it is safer to store these chemicals outdoors. In fact, the Australian Standard that outlines the requirements for the storage and handling of hazardous chemicals limit the quantity of hazardous chemicals that can be stored in indoor chemical storage cabinets. The maximum quantities of hazardous chemicals that can be stored in indoor storage cabinets is outlined below:

Classification

Maximum Capacity (L)

Class 3 - Flammable Liquids

850

Class 4 - Flammable Solids

250

Division 5.1 - Oxidising Agents

250

Division 5.2 - Organic Peroxides - Type B

50

Division 5.2 - Organic Peroxides - Type C, D, E

100

Division 5.2 - Organic Peroxides - Type F

100

Division 6.1 - Toxic Substances

250

Class 8 - Corrosive Substances

850

The Australian Standards that outline the requirements for the storage of hazardous chemicals also limit the number of chemical storage cabinets that can be kept indoors. There is a different Australian Standard for each dangerous goods classification and each Standard sets out different requirements on the maximum number of cabinets that can be used per square metre of floor space. The Standard that allows the maximum amount of chemicals to be stored indoors is AS1940. AS1940 is the standard that outlines the requirements for the storage and handling of flammable liquids. This standard states that the aggregate capacity of indoor flammable liquids storage cabinets should not exceed 850L per 250 m2 of floor space.

Therefore, if you are storing more than 850L of hazardous chemicals per 250m2 of floor space, you will definitely need to store these hazardous chemicals in the outdoors to avoid the risk that they pose upon the people and property of your organisation.

Outdoor storage of hazardous chemicals

If you are storing large quantities of hazardous substances in the workplace, the Australian Standards require you to store them in the outdoor environments. One method that can be used to store hazardous chemical in the outdoors is an outdoor relocatable chemical storage container. An outdoor chemical storage container is an efficient, safe and compliant way to store hazardous substances.

When storing hazardous chemicals in the outdoors, it is very important that you use a compliant storage facility. Using storage facilities such as an old shipping container for storing hazardous substances is unsafe and non-compliant. For the storage of hazardous chemicals, the outdoor storage facility must be designed and manufactured in full conformance to the Australian Standards. There are nine different classes of dangerous goods and each class has a corresponding Australian Standard that outlines the requirements for storage of that particular classification. The 9 classes of dangerous goods and the corresponding Australian Standards are outlined below:

Class 1 - Explosives

  • AS2187.1-1997 - Explosives Storage, transport and use

Class 2 - Gases

  • AS4332-2004 - The storage and handling of gases in cylinders

Class 3 - Flammable liquids

  • AS1940-2017 - The storage and handling of flammable liquids

Class 4 - Flammable Solids

  • ASNZS - 5026 - The storage and handling of class 4 dangerous goods

Division 5.1 - Oxidising Agents

  • AS4326-2008 - The storage and handling of oxidising agents

Division 5.2 - Organic Peroxides

  • AS2714-2008 - The storage and handling of organic peroxides  

Division 6.1 - Toxic Substances

  • AS NZS4452 - 1997 - The storage and handling of toxic substances

Class 8 - Corrosive Substances

  • AS3780-2008 - The storage and handling of corrosive substances

Class 9 - Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods   

  • The storage and handling of class 9 dangerous goods and articles

Each Australian Standard outlines different storage requirements for each dangerous goods classification, however there are similar topics that are discussed in each standard. These topics include the design requirements for outdoor storage facilities including spill containment, ventilation and dangerous goods signage. The design requirements are outlined below.

Spillage containment

To ensure that the people, property and the environment of your organisation are fully protected, all dangerous goods storage facilities must have the ability to contain any spills that may occur within the store. This can be achieved by having a spill containment sump incorporated in the bottom or your dangerous goods storage container. The required capacity of the spill containment sump depends on the quantity and classification of the dangerous substances that are kept within the store. More detail on the specific spill containment requirements can be found in the relevant Australian Standard.

Ventilation

Many dangerous substances give off hazardous vapours and gases. These vapours and gases can often be corrosive, flammable and toxic. If workers are exposed to large volumes of these hazardous vapours, it can result in asphyxiation and nausea. Also, if flammable vapours came into contact with ignition sources, it could result in a severe fire that could harm people and property. To reduce the risk of harm to people and property, it is very important that all chemical storage facilities have adequate ventilation to reduce the build up of hazardous vapours within the store. Each dangerous goods classification has different ventilation requirements. These ventilation requirements are outlined in the relevant Australian Standard for the dangerous goods classification that is being stored.

Dangerous Goods signage

To ensure that everyone in the workplace is aware of the risks associated with the dangerous substances that are being stored onsite, all outdoor dangerous goods storage facilities must be signed correctly. All outdoor dangerous goods storage containers must be marked with the relevant dangerous goods placard. If the hazardous substances that are being stored are flammable materials such as a flammable gases, liquids or solids, the storage facility must be marked with a sign that states “No Smoking No Ignition Sources Within 3 Metres”.

Next Steps

Hazardous substances have the potential to cause much harm to people, property and the environment. To reduce the risk of harm to people and property, large quantities of hazardous substances must be stored outdoors. Each dangerous goods classification has different outdoor dangerous goods storage requirements and these requirements are outlined in the relevant Australian Standard. If you would like more information on how to manage the risks associated with hazardous chemicals, download our FREE eBook by clicking on the image below. 

How to manage the risk of hazardous chemicals in the workplace

Walter is STOREMASTA’s Dangerous Goods Adviser. He loves helping business reduce the risk that Dangerous Goods pose upon their employees, property and the environment through safe and compliant dangerous goods storage solutions.

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