It has never been more important to know how to handle and transport chemical products. Indeed, throughout the years we have seen a significant number of incidents involving such products. Moreover, given the fact that commercial exchanges tend to become more international every year, we are more likely to receive merchandise coming from abroad, which makes it compulsory for all service providers to be familiar with the safety measures related to the handling of chemical products.
To go even further, even if you are a small company that is not planning on exporting your products, you still have to be aware of certain things in order to be able to avoid or minimize the risks of accidents within your own four walls.
It is important to keep in mind that this article is not an exhaustive list of the different steps you should follow when it comes to handling your chemical products. By writing this article, our main goal is to raise awareness about the different factors companies have to take into consideration when handling, storing or transporting their chemical products. We are going to share a few tips with you that we hope will lead you in the right direction.
1. Types of chemicals
The first and certainly most important thing to do is establish the class of your product. Dangerous goods are divided into nine classes: explosives, gases, flammable liquids, flammable solids, oxidizing agents and organic peroxides, toxic and infectious substances, radioactive substances, corrosive substances, and miscellaneous. Clearly, you do not want to store an explosive product near a flammable solid, because the reaction that could occur if these two chemicals were to come into contact could be highly dangerous. It is therefore important to keep these specifications in mind when you organize your stocks in the warehouse. This will allow you to prevent major accidents from happening. Additionally, organizing your storage by chemical class could help you more quickly get your bearings around your stock and your facility since you will know where each type of product is stored.
2. Storing requirements
There are however, other elements to take into consideration. Indeed, not all products can be stored in the same conditions. Some products have to be stored at a low temperature, some have to be kept in a ventilated place, in a dry container or away from combustible material, while some even have to be kept wet. All these requirements have to be met in order for the personnel of the company to work in good and safe conditions. Thankfully, the European Union uses what is called Risk and Safety Statements . These guidelines state the risks and the safety measures related to the use and the handling of a given chemical. Typically, it will appear on the label on the product. As a consequence, make sure you check it out before storing the good.
This leads us to another important aspect that requires thorough consideration: Every single product should be properly labelled. The labels should display all the relevant information related to the chemical such as its name, the risks and the safety measures linked to it, as well as the manufacturer’s name and contact details. Checking from time to time that the labels are still legible is also a good idea.
Once you have carried out these preliminary procedures, you will be able to actually start storing these products. Keeping a clear inventory of those you own in your warehouse is imperative in order to maximize your performance. Not only will you save time when looking for certain chemicals, but you will also keep track of the inputs and outputs, which will make the management of your products easier.
5. Safety measures
Following these steps will not do you much good if you and the employees working in the facility do not know the safety measures by heart, or how to react in case of emergency. Making sure everybody has a clear understanding of the rules to follow is important. Providing them with the proper PPE (personal protective equipment) will also enable the personnel to work and handle the chemicals safely.
These are a few tips that we think every company dealing with chemicals should be aware of. However, remember, they do not replace an expert assessment. Moreover, if you know for a fact that your facility or warehouse does not meet the requirements mentioned above, we recommend you hire the services of a specialized company.
What other tips do you have that can ensure the safe storage of chemicals along the supply chain?
Guest Blogger – Carla Sanz
Carla Sanz has several years of experience in the digital marketing, community management and journalism sectors. She is currently working for the communication team at Barnastock , a Spanish company dealing with the storage and transportation of chemicals products.
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