Some Suggested Practices in the Storage and Handling of Laboratory Chemicals
- Storage of concentrated acids and bases should be limited to a
maximum of 2 pints (1 liter) of each product unless you have an
area designed and equipped for more. We suggest you consider
acquiring an acid storage cabinet for this purpose.
- No flammable materials should be stored outside an approved
flammables storage cabinet. Flammables kept outside a cabinet
should be in safety cans. See safety cans and cabinets in the
safety apparatus section of the Flinn Catalog/Reference
- Do not allow incoming shipments of chemicals to be opened and
transported by school personnel other than qualified science
teachers. The special and expensive shipping containers used are
frequently discarded and would prove valuable for shelf
- If possible, keep certain items in the original shipping
package, e.g., acids and bases in the special and expensive
- All chemicals should be dated upon receipt. Flinn chemicals are
labeled with brightly colored date purchased labels.
- A permanent and perpetual inventory should be maintained. See
the Flinn simplified inventory system in the current
- Establish a separate and secured storage area for
- All chemicals should be stored in chemically compatible
families. (See Flinn Suggested Chemical Storage Pattern Chart on
pages 1061-1063 of our current catalog.)
- Avoid storing chemicals on shelves above eye level.
- The storage area and cabinets should be labeled to identify the
hazardous nature of the products stored within. (See labels in
safety apparatus section.)
- Proper type (Tri-Class ABC) and size (minimum 15 pound gross
weight) fire extinguishers, in working order, should be in the
chemical stores area.
- Shelving above any work area, such as a sink, should be free of
chemicals or other loose miscellany.
- Shelving sections should be secured to walls or floor to
prevent tipping of entire sections.
- Shelves should be equipped with lips to prevent products from
- Chemicals should not be stored on the floor except in approved
- Storage area should be ventilated by at least four changes of
air per hour. Isolate the chemical storage exhaust from the
building ventilation system.
- No unlabeled products should be stored anywhere in the science
- There should be two methods of exiting from a chemical storage
area. Exits should be entirely free of the presence of hazardous
- Be thoroughly familiar with the hazards and precautions for
protection before using any chemical. Study the precautionary label
and review its contents frequently before using any chemical
- Know applicable local regulations before disposing of
- Never store chemicals in a standard (non-explosion-proof)
- Do not store chemicals in a fume hood.
- Open ether cans should be drained after use and not stored
unless absolutely necessary. Rely on expiration date to dispose of
- Glycerin should be available only to the instructor.
- Water-reactive products (sodium metal, potassium metal, etc.)
should be stored under dry oil.
- Neutralizing chemicals, such as a spill kit, dry sand,
vermiculite, and other spill control materials should be readily
- Establish an annual safety review procedure for your chemical
- Post emergency telephone numbers in the chemical stores area.
Ideally, a telephone should be located in this area in the event of
- Smoke detectors should be installed in the chemical storage
- Review the school's purchasing practices. If the science
department will be held responsible for safety, then the science
department should have a say in how the chemicals are
- An approved eyewash station and fire blanket should be within
25 feet of the chemical stores area.
- Discourage the purchasing of large containers of chemicals and
dispensing into smaller containers.
- Keep sources of ignition away from the chemical stores
- Chemicals should not be stored in the science classroom or
laboratory; but rather in a separate, securable and dedicated