If your organisation uses oxidising agents such as hydrogen peroxide and potassium nitrate, it’s very important that you store and manage these substances in a way that reduces the risk that they pose upon people and property of your organisation.
One very important factor that must be considered when storing oxidising agents, is ensuring that they are kept well away from other incompatible classes of dangerous goods. Of the eight other classes of dangerous goods, there are some classes that are incompatible with oxidising agents and there are others that will react dangerously. The Australian Standard that outlines the storage requirements for storing different classes of dangerous goods in the same store, provides different definitions for substances that react dangerously and those that are incompatible. These definitions are outlined below.
Incompatible substances are those dangerous substances that are:
- Likely to increase risk to people, property and the environment when mixed or brought into contact with another substance.
- Listed in the Australian Dangerous Goods Code or NZS 5433 as being incompatible.
- Declared by the local regulatory authority as being incompatible
Substances that react dangerously
Substances that will react dangerously are those substances that react in a manner that directly creates a hazard due to the reaction:
- Being violent
- Producing an explosion
- Producing a potentially explosive combination of products
- Producing toxic vapours or gases; or
- Producing fire or rapid evolution of heat
Dangerous properties of oxidising agents
Oxidising agents are substances that are not necessarily combustible themselves, but substances that may contribute to or cause combustion of other material by yielding oxygen. Oxidising agents are particularly dangerous in the presence of flammable substances because combustion successfully takes place when both oxygen and a fuel are mixed in the presence of an ignition source. Some commonly used oxidising agents include, hydrogen peroxide, magnesium peroxide and potassium nitrate.
Dangerous goods segregation
To protect the workers and property of your organisation, it’s very important that you safely segregate oxidising agents from other classes of dangerous goods that are incompatible and those that react dangerously. Segregation of incompatible classes of dangerous goods can be achieved by using separate chemical storage cabinets or outdoor dangerous goods stores. Storing incompatible classes of dangerous goods in a common dangerous goods storage must be avoided at all times as this increases the risk of different classes of dangerous goods coming into contact with each and causing violent chemical reactions. If you have to store mixed classes of dangerous goods in a common dangerous goods store, different classes of dangerous must be separated by certain distances. These distances are predetermined by the Australian Standard AS 3833-2008 - The storage and handling of mixed classes of dangerous goods. The required separation distance for oxidising agents from other incompatible dangerous goods depends on their compatibility. We will now discuss the compatibility of oxidising agents with other classes of dangerous goods.
Substances that react dangerously with oxidising agents
There are a number of substances that will react dangerously with oxidising agents. These substances fall under the dangerous goods classes outlined below:
- Class 2.1 - Flammable Gas
- Class 3 - Flammable Liquids
- Class 4.1 - Flammable solids
- Class 4.2 - Spontaneously Combustibles
- Class 5.2 Organic Peroxides
These substances must not be kept in a facility used to store oxidising agents if they cannot be safely segregated. Substances that fall under the dangerous goods classes outlined above and oxidising agents can only be stored together in a common storage facility if they are separated by at least 5 metres and kept in different compounds with separate spill containment sumps.
Substances that are incompatible with oxidising Agents.
The substances that are incompatible with oxidising agents are those substances that fall under the dangerous goods classes outlined below:
Substances that are classified as either toxic, dangerous when wet or corrosive will not react dangerously with oxidising agents, but there is the possibility that they will pose further risks upon the people and property of your organisation if they are mixed. Storing these incompatible substances in a dangerous goods store containing oxidising agents must be avoided at all times. If oxidising agents have to be stored with other incompatible substances in the same dangerous goods store, they must be kept apart by at least 3 metres at all times.
Substances that may be incompatible or react dangerously
Generally speaking, substances that have the same dangerous goods classification are normally compatible with each other and can be safely stored together. However when it comes to class 5.1 oxidising agents, this is not the case. Some oxidising agents are incompatible with other oxidising agents and some will even react dangerously. Before storing two different oxidising substances together, it is very important that you check the safety data sheets for each substance to determine their compatibility. If these substances are incompatible they must be kept apart by at least 3 meters. If the two different substances will react dangerously they must be segregated by at least 5 meters. This rule also applies to class 8 dangerous goods.
Substances that may be incompatible with oxidising agents.
On a general basis, Class 2.2 - Non-Flammable Non-Toxic gases are compatible with most other classes of dangerous goods. However, some non-flammable non-toxic gases are incompatible with oxidising agents. To ensure that you do not pose any further risk to the people or property of your organisation, it’s important that you check the compatibility of oxidising agents and non-flammable non-toxic gases before they are stored together. If these substances are incompatible, they must be kept apart by at least 3 meters. The compatibility of these substances can be determined by consulting the safety data sheet for each substance.
Oxidising agents are incompatible with a number of other classes of dangerous goods. To avoid violent chemical reactions that could harm the people and property of your organisation, it’s very important that you have a disciplined approach to storing mixed classes of dangerous goods. If you would like a dangerous goods segregation chart to help you identify which classes of dangerous goods are incompatible with oxidising agents, download our FREE segregation chart by clicking on the image below👇.