Get ready for winter with temperature-controlled storage

How do colder months affect chemical storage in the workplace?

As winter approaches and colder temperatures start to hit, it’s worth remembering that climate has an impact on quality and safety.

BP2
A fuel-testing module supplied by Chemstore to a BP UK site

Quality control
Temperature control is a critical factor when storing quantities of valuable products such as solvents, adhesives and coatings. It is essential in many industrial processes to maintain the optimal temperatures for these products to obtain the highest product quality for goods produced. For processes such as paint mixing, adhesive appliances and ingredient storage – companies need correct temperature controlled storage that is both compliant and fit for purpose.

Chemstore specialises in the manufacture of bespoke temperature controlled chemical stores that can be designed specifically for your product requirements.

Click here to see one of Chemstore’s temperature controlled solutions in action featuring the new touch-screen delta control panel.

For more information, just contact one of our sales team today and get prepared for the winter ahead. Call +44 20 8704 1807 or  email sales@chemstore.co.uk

The expert guide to safe storage of hazardous materials in laboratories.

Introduction

 

From speaking to our existing clients we repeatedly hear of uncertainty and lack of clear information and guidance on how to identify, quantify and alleviate the risks with hazardous materials in the workplace. Without accurate information we understand it makes it difficult to prepare for the risks and to be aware of what hazards are currently in your workplace.

With that in mind, we are here to enable you with the right information and tools to eliminate the risk.

The following guidance document will make it clear what steps you need to take to create a safe and compliant laboratory.

The use of hazardous and volatile materials is part of daily processes in the majority of labs in universities, research facilities and production plants worldwide. It is currently not feasible to avoid the use of hazardous materials and what is often neglected is unsafe storage of these materials. Improper storage of these materials creates a prominent risk to human life, the environment and the business itself.

 

 

We have broken down this process down into 4 areas:

 

 

  1. Risk Assessment

  2. Segregation of incompatible materials

  3. Storage of flammable materials

  4. Emergency preparedness and planning

 

 

 

 

 

1.Risk Assessment

 

Labs across all areas of industry that haven’t undergone an adequate hazardous material storage assessment exhibit common shortcomings. There is often no defined storage system which determines risks with each type of material present in the lab. Such facilities have the following unsafe storage systems and practices:

 

–        Chemicals stored on lab worktops, benches and the floor

–        Materials stored on structurally fragile shelves and above eye level.

–        Not enough storage space for the hazardous material containers

–        Unsafe containers used to store materials e.g. wooden cupboards

–        Gas Cylinders located internally within a lab unnecessarily

–        Flammables not stored in fire rated cabinets

–        Excessive quantities of flammables stored internally within a lab

–        Absence of inventory or stock management system for chemicals in the lab

 

Tips:

 

  • Planning and forecasting for the exact activities and work that will be carried out in the lab should be documented in advance of the activities beginning. E.g. Distillation, HPLC, GC.
  • Identification of each material that will be used in each process is imperative before the work begins.
  • Quantification of the amount of each material you will require: no more or less than required should be present in the lab at one time.
  • One of the most important checks you need to make is that you have access to the SDS (Safety Data) sheets for each material. The SDS sheets will provide critical information for any material used in your process and the hazards associated.
  • It is a legal requirement under REACH regulations (EC) No. 1907/2006 that the manufacturer/supplier of the materials provide each SDS to you. For best practice you should consult the data sheets for each material before it is stocked in your laboratory.
  •  Once you have identified all of the above it will the enable you to begin assessing the risks that all operators in your lab will be exposed to and how to best mitigate those risks.

 

 

 

 

 

2.Segregation of incompatible materials

 

Our team often find when meeting our clients on site that one common practice is forgotten in laboratories. There is often one designated area/cabinet or container for all hazardous materials to be stored internally. Flammables, Oxidisers, Toxic and Corrosive liquids to name a few will be stored together.

Incompatible chemicals need to be segregated according to the hazard classes of each material. This is as important as with an adequate segregation scheme adverse reactions between incompatible chemicals such as oxidisers and flammables can be avoided.

ghs-labels-cut-out

Tips:

–  When developing a segregation scheme for chemicals in the lab, your first point to check should be section 2 of the SDS sheets ‘ Hazards Identification ‘

–  Ensure you have adequate space in your facility to allow for safe segregation and storage of each class of material.

– Some materials will have more than one hazard associated. In this case you should always identify the address the most prominent risk first.

e.g. Dimethlychlorosilane is both flammable and corrosive. In this case it would be best practice to address the flammable risk as a priority.sds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Storage of flammable materials

 

There is no doubt that the biggest area for concern our team always highlight with clients is the lack of awareness when storing flammable liquids internally. When carrying out a risk assessment of your laboratory and the hazardous liquids you are using and storing, you should immediately identify the flammable materials. Once you have documented an accurate list, you should then quantify in litres how much flammable materials you absolutely need to store internally in your laboratory.

It is now a legal requirement that flammables must be stored in safety storage cabinets that satisfy the requirements of EN 14470-1.

We would also like to reiterate that where possible the quantities of flammables be kept to a minimum.

Please watch the following video that will certainly portray how the negligent handling and storage of flammable liquids could have serious consequences. Risk is always present when handling and storing flammable liquids, so be the one to act and not react after it’s too late!

 

 

 

 

 

4.Emergency preparedness and planning.

 

If you neglect the above safety procedures when handling and storing hazardous materials in your lab that you are exposing your employees, the public and the environment to untenable risks.

  • Insurance in many cases will become void if a fire or explosion occurs in your facility.
  • The company and its owners will be liable for any damage to persons, property and the environment.
  • Damage to your facility could cause long downtime and incalculable effects to the company’s reputation.

commercial-emergency-planning

In order to create the safest possible environment in your laboratory the final step you need to take is to create an emergency response plan in the event an accident occurs.This plan should be carefully written and shared with all employees. All tier 1 organisations are legally required produce an emergency response plan to the local    authorities as part of COMAH Regulations 2015.

Emergency response plans need to be prepared addressing all four areas above in detail including accident scenarios with the hazardous materials present in you laboratory.  Once this emergency response plan has been drafted and approved by the certified body in your organisation, an open correspondence should be opened with the local emergency services and the Health & Safety authorities detailing this plan.

Conclusion

 From gathering extensive feedback from our valued client base and extensive research carried out throughout our 23 years in business, we are constantly striving to provide our clients with the tools and knowledge to eliminate the risks associated with hazardous material storage in industry.

A key strength of Chemstore throughout its history has been anticipating and responding to the needs of our clients. Increasing the level of safety in your workplace is where our work begins. We will enable you to reduce risk, liability and downtime on your site. We will take your business beyond the legal requirements for health & safety and social responsibility in your organisation.

Lessons learnt a year on following chemical spill at a St Andrews leisure centre.

A leisure centre was evacuated in St Andrews in Scotland last August following a chemical spill. 19 people were taken to hospital following the spill. The casualties were brought to hospital due to breathing difficulties. Three fire engines and 15 ambulance service vehicles were called to East Sands leisure centre in St Andrews, Fife. The Guardian reported that “Victims said they had seen clouds of gas and smelt a strong odour that made them cough and their eyes sting. The leak was reported to be sodium hypochlorite, a chemical compound used to make bleach, though witnesses said they believed it to be chlorine.” Both chemicals pose a very real risk to human health with inhalation of enough quantities being linked with serious respiratory problems.  Almost a year has passed since this incident and the HSE have completed an investigation on the incident and have recently ordered for a number of safety improvements to be made.

The incident at East Sands Leisure Centre in St Andrews left five children and 14 adults suffering breathing problems and requiring immediate medical treatment on August of last year. The HSE investigation has also highlighted several breaches of health and safety law, although thankfully steps of mitigation have now been taken to reduce the risk of such an incident happening again.

Investigators from the HSE initially stated that the incident involved the uncontrolled release of the chemical sodium hypochlorite from the pool’s storage tank, but after further investigations the HSE have discovered more about how exactly this leak happened. According to the HSE report the design of the tank was “unsuitable” because it did not have “sufficient strength” for the loads which were applied to it. The HSE report also stated how the support structure for the tank was not suitable and as a result lead to a “more rapid failure.” The Courier reads that the HSE report described how “White crystalline deposits below the tank indicate that the tank was likely to have leaked for a long time prior to failure and this could have been identified during routine examination.” One other issue that was brought up by the HSE was that the bund which was surrounding the tank was in poor condition and was not capable of holding large quantities of chemicals.

Following instruction from the HSE, swift action has been taken and Fife council have installed a different chlorination system at all of its swimming pools to ensure that there is no repeat of such an incident. Councillor Tim Brett was pleased to say that lessons have been learnt following this event. Scotsman news reported that Tim Brett said “this was a major incident which caused significant concern to all those involved in it at the time – fortunately no-one was seriously injured. I’m pleased to say the lessons learned both in managing the incident and on changing the chlorination system at the pool have been implemented.”

Hazardous materials pose risks to even the most family friendly environments. Highly corrosive liquids used to treat and clean swimming pools such as sodium hypochlorite and other pool cleaning chemicals when used and stored in dangerous quantities can be lethal. It has to be the responsibility of both management and Health & Safety officials to instruct and ensure these chemicals are:

Corrosive

  • Stored in containers and tanks of compatible construction
  • Equipped with a secondary containment system or bunding which is resistant and certified to hold highly corrosive liquids.
  • Adequate PPE such as safety gloves, glasses and respiratory masks for operatives handling the hazardous materials
  • SOP (standard operating procedure) must be available for all operatives to read when using the chemicals
  • Safety signage must be positioned on cabinets, containers and tanks highlighting the hazards each chemicals poses.

 

For any advice you have regarding hazardous materials in the workplace don’t hesitate to contact one of our experts today.

Infographic: Workplace hazards

Investing in hazardous material safety infrastructure and developing a sustainable risk management system is a very complex process. To help you develop a concrete infrastructure and reduce employee injuries and ill health, we’ve highlighted the top hazmat risks you need to avoid…

Fires in Stafford and Enfield highlight industrial problems within the UK

major fire broke out on the Astonfields Industrial estate in Stafford last week. The cause of the fire, which raged on Wednesday 2nd March 2016, remains unknown and is being investigated by the Staffordshire Fire Service.

The fire was first flagged by a worker on the premises. It has been widely reported that the fire began at some time near 8.45am, and that the building collapsed by 11am. More than 70 firefighters were needed to prevent the fire, which they were able to contain by Wednesday afternoon.

The factory was storing 40,000 litres of oil, which is believed to be one of the primary reasons for why the blaze burned for a number of hours. Staffordshire Fire and Rescue spokeswoman Michelle Hunt said: “The oil did catch fire. We don’t know where it was on the site but it was on Global Hygiene’s premise. On our log it said there was approximately 40,000 litres.” Whilst the oil was a primary concern for all involved, it is broadly believed that a gas main was involved in the fire which caused major problems for the emergency services.

Despite the severity of the fire there were luckily very few casualties. West Midlands Ambulance Service stated that one man working at the factory had suffered from minor burns, but there were no other injuries. Due to the massive amounts of smoke from the blaze Dr David Kirrage, Health Protection consultant for Public Health England in the West Midlands, said “Our continuing advice is for people to stay out of the smoke where possible. For those homes in the path of the smoke plume please keep doors and windows closed.”

Although we do not currently know the cause of the fire, one thing we can take from this event is the importance of hazardous material storage. The storage of the oil at the Global Hygiene warehouse was of primary concern at the time of the blaze. Although Staffordshire fire and rescue were not aware of the exact location of the oil on site, it was vital that the oil didn’t catch fire immediately so that staff could be safely evacuated.

Just one day prior to the fire at Global Hygiene, there was another blaze at an industrial yard in Enfield. It took over 70 firefighters to tackle the fire, which destroyed a warehouse after a huge stack of pallets caught fire. The cause of this fire is also unknown, but similarly highlights the importance of proper hazardous material storage.

Chemstore telegraph
(Telegraph, 2016)

Following these two recent fires in the UK, we must take a step back and think what improvements can be made to assist firefighters in the future. One thing to note following the Enfield and Staffordshire fires is that traditional smoke detection systems can be insufficient for outdoor industrial sites, as they do not detect smoke quick enough. It is of great importance to detect a fire as soon as possible. David Bendall, business development manager at Spotfire which develops cameras that use infra-red to detect flame within seconds, said that “All other forms of detection require can take five minutes to detect smoke. A camera will pick up smoke or flames in about 10-15 seconds.”

It is clear that there is a need for change in order to improve safety in the industry. In industrial sites, there should be an evaluation into hazardous materials handling, storage and transport. Industrial organisations must take a responsibility to work with the local fire department to provide key information, such as SDS sheets of the materials housed on site. In an ideal world every organisation should have a regimented emergency response plan in place to mitigate the risk to lives and the environment when disasters like this happen.

Extreme increase in undeclared hazardous materials

The German transportation company Hapag-Lloyd has recently announced that in 2015 they saw an immense 65% increase in improperly declared hazardous materials that were carried by cargo. The announcement has been made possible due to Hapag-Lloyd’s Watchdog IT system, which analyses cargo data and flags up anything suspicious. This special safety software was industrialised by the company’s ocean carriers’ information technology and dangerous goods experts. It has been key in identifying dangerous goods, as it continuously checks for potentially hazardous materials.

Hapag-Lloyd announced that in 2015 they pin-pointed 4314 cases of incorrectly declared cargo. This is a 65% increase from 2014. It is believed that their dangerous goods specialists examined more than 236,000 suspicious cases which came to the attention of the firm’s safety software in 2015. This is a 46% growth from the previous year.

Why exactly has this increase occurred?
This swift increase in incorrectly declared hazardous materials is primarily down to two factors. One of the key reasons is the Tianjin explosion in China, which took place at a warehouse at the port which held hazardous chemicals. It’s widely reported that these chemicals were improperly stored, which caused the blast and left 173 people dead. Subsequently security measures were greatly tightened at the warehouse. The dangerous goods guidelines were tightened tremendously, and even prohibited hazardous goods completely in some cases. Rainer Horn, a spokesman from Hapag Lloyd, clarified that: “Many Chinese ports banned dangerous goods cargo partly or wholly after the explosions. So shippers didn’t declare their dangerous goods cargo hoping that they could get the cargo through.” Despite the fact that some ports have restrictions and rules in place which prohibit dangerous goods, some shippers are deliberately not declaring goods so that they can use all ports and carriers.

It’s believed that the other major reason for this increase in undeclared harmful goods is Hapag-Lloyds merger with CSAV’s container business. This merger boosted their overall business, and as a result increased the overall number of undeclared hazardous materials.

So what are the dangers involved with this increase?
The Tianjin blast highlights the importance of both appropriate storage and declaration of hazardous goods. Dangerous goods which are not declared hold a massive threat. In a statement Hapag-Lloyd described how: “Dangerous goods that are declared imprecisely, incorrectly or not at all have the potential to pose a major risk to crews, ships, the environment and other cargo on board.” It is extremely important for the crew members to know exactly what is inside the containers, so that they are able to carry out the correct handling procedures.

It’s clear from Hapag-Lloyd’s recent announcements about undeclared hazardous materials that there is a pressing need to improve health and safety legislation. Ken Rohlmann, head of the company’s dangerous goods department, sums up the danger of incorrectly declared dangerous goods in his statement: “If you consider that a single incorrectly declared container is enough to cause a disaster, the devastating potential of every single incorrect or non-declaration becomes clear.”

Updated DSHAR: to DGHAR – What it means to your workplace

The HSE recently made full proposals to update the regulations for the transport, storage and use of hazardous materials in harbour areas in the UK & Ireland.

The goal of the amendments is to replace the DSHAR (Dangerous Substances in Harbour Areas) regulations ‘with a new set of shorter, updated regulations. This will be achieved by removing redundant or duplicated sections and then developing a simpler, clearer set of regulations.’

The regulations were initially drafted in 1987 following a tragic oil terminal explosion in Bantry, Co. Cork Ireland which caused the loss of 50 lives (pictured above, The Irish Times 2014).

The existing DSHAR regulations are implemented to control the safe storage, handling, loading and unloading of hazardous materials when entering harbours or areas nearby. The transit of hazardous materials in ports ‘is an intrinsically high hazard activity’.

The proposed amendments have been accelerated to ensure safety standards are maintained at the highest level in the UK & Ireland’s harbours following the disaster in Tianjin, China last year.

These new proposals will firstly be debated by relevant stakeholders as part of the Red Tape Challenge, a Government initiative created to allow the stakeholders to have a say on rules and regulations that affect their daily lives.

The stakeholders who need to pay close attention to the proposed new changes include the following industries:

  • Freight transport by rail
  • Freight transport by road
  • Sea and coastal freight water transport
  • Inland freight water transport
  • Service activities incidental to water transportation
  • Cargo handling

From a hazardous material storage point-of-view these new amendments will affect personnel handling hazardous goods in the port – storage operators.

There are proposed in the following areas:

  • Definitions and title of the regulations
  • Quantity exemptions
  • Entry of dangerous goods into harbour area
  • Marking and navigation of vessels
  • Handling of dangerous substances
  • Liquid dangerous substances in bulk
  • Packaging and labelling
  • Emergency arrangements and untoward incidents
  • Storage Of Dangerous Substances

As the regulations have not been amended since the late 80s there is a crossover between DSHAR and the DSEAR (Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmosphere) regulations 2002. The HSE has proposed to remove the duplications in both regulations for consistency and clarity for the stakeholders involved.

The changes from DSHAR to DGHAR (Dangerous Goods in Harbour Areas) are set to be implemented by government in October 2016 so we highly recommend that you pay close attention to upcoming announcements from the Government bodies in the next few months. You can do this by visiting the HSE website.

For any questions or advice you need on the above contact one of experienced team today. Call 020 8704 1807 or email sales@chemstore.co.uk

CHIP to CLP: Are You Compliant?

June 2015 saw the old classification and labelling system, known as CHIP, come to an end. It has now been replaced with the direct acting Classification, Labelling and Packaging Regulation (CLP). So if you haven’t got your house in order, read our article on how to become complaint.

The CLP Regulation came into force across all EU member states (including the UK and Ireland) in June 2009. It replaced the Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply Regulations gradually. From 1 June 2015, nearly all elements of CLP came into force. CLP Regulation ensures the hazards presented by chemicals are clearly communicated to workers and consumers in the EU through classification and labelling.

According to Safety Signs and Signals (revised 2015) from the HSE, it states that when using signs on containers and pipes, each should be ‘labelled with the relevant pictograms in according with the CLP Regulation’.

Therefore all chemical containers must now employ the new labelling system. The old GHS labelling system has been slowly phased out since the new regulations were drafted in 2009, and organisations were given a six-year time window to update to the latest CLP labelling regulations.

 Core changes in compliance

  • As of June 2015, ‘You must use the most appropriate CLP sign and cannot create variations’. The signs and labels must be placed on the side of a container that is clearly visible and needs to be durable.
  • It is strongly advised to keep SDS sheets in close proximity to the storage area. Co-workers need to have immediate access to vital information regarding each chemical in containers and the store, in the case of a spill or injuries caused by exposure to specific chemicals.
  • The old orange and black labels have now been replaced with white and red diamond labels detailed below.
  • ‘Where stores are being used for hazardous chemicals or mixtures, they should be indicated by the relevant safety warning sign taken from paragraph 3.2 of part II of Schedule 1 of the regulations ( the yellow triangle black pictogram warning signs).’

 

CLP pictograms

The new hazard labelling system you need to be using

The CLP labelling system was developed to provide striking labelling on goods that works as a clear indication to any personnel who work with dangerous goods in the workplace. The CLP classification labels is something that all your employees should be fully competent with. Chemstore has provided information below on the notable CLP labels:

Chemstore supplies a comprehensive range of safety signs to meet your regulatory requirements, which you can view here.

For any queries you have on hazard identification and storing dangerous goods in the workplace, contact any member of the Chemstore team today. Call 020 8704 1807 or email us on sales@chemstore.co.uk / sales@chemstore.ie

 

 

3 steps for selecting a hazardous material storage solution provider

Hazardous materials, whether in a raw state or the finished product, are capable of producing a wide range of physical damage – from fires and explosions to health problems and, in some cases, even death.

So when you’re choosing a hazardous storage solution provider, it’s essential you do your research to ensure you find a provider that has the right solution for your needs, is experienced in dealing with your hazardous goods, is fully trained and aware of the latest legislation to safeguard your compliance. To help you, we’ve put together some tips to help you start the selection process:

1. Identify and quantify hazardous materials stored on your site
Any chemical that has been supplied to your site would have been issued with a safety data sheet – it’s the law. Use these sheets to start classifying any hazardous materials stored and processed on your site. Classifications:

  • Flammable
  • Corrosive
  • Toxic
  • Oxidiser
  • Harmful
  • Dangerous for aquatic life
  • Explosive
  • Compressed gas
  • Health hazard

Alongside classification, you’ll also need to quantify the amount you’re storing on site – do this for each type of chemical. Then, record the number of different sizes and types of containers that hold your hazardous materials.

2. Identify the application and necessity of your hazardous materials
This is a necessary step to identify the exact purpose of storing hazardous materials on your site. You need to question whether it is really necessary for each material to be housed on your site. And where possible, you should investigate whether you can substitute a hazardous material for a non-hazardous one. Secondary risks can also become apparent when identifying each application. For example, in the case of dispensing a flammable chemical on site the risk of static charge build up will then need to be considered. Application categories include:

  • Cleaning
  • Mixing
  • Dispensing
  • Fuel
  • Testing

3. Protect your employees and prove your compliance
The safe handling and storage of hazardous materials is one of the most important tasks for the protection of the health of employees. The employer has many responsibilities and must be aware of the potential hazards different materials contain.

It’s critical that you request information on relevant government legislation and regulations for the safe storage of your hazardous materials on site.  The HSE and other government organisations are there to help ensure that environmental health and safety risks are minimised as far as reasonably practicable in industrial organisations, so don’t be afraid to ask what you need to do to become compliant.

One of Chemstore’s team can talk you through the necessary steps and provide expert advice to ensure you are compliant.

Contact Chemstore
One of our engineers can issue you with a full site proposal with the relevant advice, products and services to enable your site compliance for the safe storage of hazardous materials.

The Chemstore team provides a full after sale service to inspect and maintain all products to ensure the highest standards are upheld.

Request your free site assessment and expert hazardous material storage solutions from an experienced Chemstore engineer today. Call 020 8704 1807 or email us.

The Environment & Chemicals

AirWaterEarth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We can encounter chemicals in any state in many forms at different times in their life cycles. Chemicals can move through the environment through a wide range and complex network of interactions.

Transitions at their most basic;

  • Air and Water
  • Air and Earth
  • Water and Earth
  • All three in combination

The Environment and the Workplace……

Environmental hazards must be taken into the context of the workplace;

  • Indoors e.g. Office, factory, powerstation, hospital, church.
  • Outdoors e.g. Gardening, construction site, fishing, vessel.
  • Combination e.g. Oilrig, construction site, water treatment plant.
  • Within a transportation network e.g. Ship, bus, airplane, train
  • Within a unique environment e.g. Mine / quarry, sealed environment such as a space station / submarine

What are the Potential Environmental Hazards to Health?

The list is endless, and is unique to each type of workplace!!!!!
However it can be overviewed primarily in the toxicological context as;

  • Chemical Hazards to health
  • Biological Hazards to health
pollution
oil pollution