Corrosive substances are very harmful chemicals that pose a great risk to people, property and the environment. Their major dangerous property is their ability to dissolve other substances through chemical action. They can dissolve substances such a metal, wood, stone and even human flesh.
The Australian Dangerous Goods Code (ADG Code) classifies corrosive substances as “Class 8 Corrosive Substances”. The ADG Code also defines them as:
‘Class 8 substances (corrosive substances) are substances which, by chemical action, will cause severe damage when in contact with living tissue, or, in the case of leakage, will materially damage, or even destroy, other goods or the means of transport.’
As corrosive substances have the ability to cause much harm in the workplace, it's very important to ensure that corrosive substances are stored in a safe and compliant manner. The Australian Standard AS 3780-2008 - The storage and handling of corrosive substances, outlines the requirements for the safe storage and handling of corrosive substances in the workplace. Section 4.6 outlines the specification for indoor storage of corrosive substances. Below we will discuss the topics outlined in this section in more depth.
When storing corrosive substances indoors, it's important that the cabinet used is designed in such a way that it poses minimum risk to people property and the environment. To achieve this the cabinet must be designed and manufactured with certain features. These features include:
- The cabinet must have self-closing, close-fitting doors that hold shut by at least two catches.
- The doors must be prevented from opening inwards.
- The doors of the cabinet must be capable of being opened from inside the cabinet.
- The base of the cabinet shall form a liquid-tight sump that must be at least 150mm deep. This sump must have the capacity of holding at least 25% of the maximum capacity of the storage cabinet.
- Shelves inside the cabinet must be perforated to allow for free air-movement within the cabinet.
- The walls, floor, door and roof of the cabinet must be constructed from either a corrosive resistant material or protected with a corrosive resistant lining or coating.
To ensure that corrosive substances pose the least amount of risk to people in the workplace, it’s important to position corrosive storage cabinets in a safe location. For the location of corrosive storage cabinets to be safe, they must follow the requirements outlined below:
- Corrosive storage cabinets shall not be positioned in a location where they will impede the escape of a person in the event of a fire.
- Corrosive storage cabinets shall be located in a position where there is the provision for the washing of hands.
- Where there is more than one corrosive storage cabinet in a building or area; the aggregate quantity of corrosive substances stored in all cabinets shall not exceed 1000 L. Of this 1000 L, no more than 250 L shall be of Packing Group II and no more than 50 L shall be of Packing Group I. The cabinets shall also be separated by at least 5m.
To ensure that everyone in the workplace, including workers and visitors, are warned of the potential hazards associated with corrosive substances, it's important to display the appropriate safety signage on all corrosive storage cabinets. The signage requirements for corrosive substance storage will be outlined in the relevant regulations and codes of practices for your state or territory. The specific design of dangerous goods placards must also comply with the requirements of AS 1216-2006 - Class labels for dangerous goods. In states where there are no regulatory requirements each corrosive storage cabinet shall be labeled with specific markings. These markings include:
- Name of the address of the cabinet manufacturer, importer or distributor in Australia.
- A label stating the maximum storage capacity
- A Class 8 dangerous goods label with sides of at least 100 mm in length. An example of a Class 8 label is shown below.
In all instances the cabinets signs and markings shall be clearly visible when the cabinet doors are closed.
Maximum storage quantities
As corrosive substances have the ability to dissolve wood, stone, metal and human flesh, it is important to limit the quantities of corrosive substances stored indoors to minimise harm to people and property of the organisation.
The maximum quantities of corrosive substances kept in a single cabinet shall not exceed 1000 kg or L. Of that 1000 kg or L, no more than 250 kg or L shall be of packing group II and not more than 50 kg or L shall be of packing group I.
Note: Units of litres are applicable to liquids and units of kilograms are applicable to solids.
Types of substances stored
All cabinets used for the storage of corrosive substances shall not be used to store other incompatible dangerous goods. Incompatible dangerous goods may react dangerously and release toxic and corrosive gases and substances. Some classes of dangerous substances that are incompatible with class 8 corrosives include:
To ensure that the corrosive substances used in your workplace pose the least amount of harm to the people, property and environment of your organisation, its important that you store them in a safe and compliant manner. One important aspect of safe dangerous goods storage is ensuring that you segregate corrosive substances from other incompatible classes of dangerous goods. The compatibility of different classes of dangerous goods can be determined by using a dangerous goods segregation chart. If you would like a free dangerous goods segregation chart, go right ahead and download our free chart by clicking on the image below 👇.