How to Safely Store Hazardous Materials

From time to time, a client may ask you to store some type of hazardous material in your warehouse. Some warehouses simply don’t handle certain types of hazardous material, but if you take that route, you may find yourself losing some good paying clients. Instead, you should take a look at how you can safely store hazardous materials in your warehouse. With some precautions and planning, you can safely hold these dangerous materials without any risk.

Train your Employees

One of the first things to do is make certain that your employees know how to handle hazardous materials. Accidents often occur simply because an employee didn’t know the proper procedure for moving or handling these materials. In addition to training all employees on these procedures, it doesn’t hurt to post the common rules for handling hazardous materials in the break room or in the area where these materials are kept.

As a part of this training, everyone should also know how to move the hazardous materials from the loading dock to their designated storage area and back. This may involve clearing the aisles so that there’s nothing for the forklifts to hit or using a special route through the warehouse that’s free of all hazards.

Post Signage

Along those same lines, make certain that all hazardous materials are clearly labeled as such. If you’re storing all of these materials in the same section of your warehouse, there should be large hazmat logos on the warehouse shelving, the floor, and even hanging from the ceiling if possible. All employees should know exactly where the hazardous materials are stored, but these signs will help remind them that they need to be extra careful.

Check the Shelving

If you’re going to be placing hazardous materials on your warehouse shelving, it’s very important that those shelves are secure and stable. While you probably already do periodic checks on all of your shelving to make certain that it’s stable, you should do these inspections much more often on any shelving that’s being used to hold hazardous materials. If these shelves were to collapse, the materials could spill all over your warehouse or get onto one of your employees.

Have Emergency Procedures in Place

In the event of a spill, what do you and your employees do? You should have procedures in place for dealing with spills and other emergencies. These procedures should include how to stop the spread of the materials, how to clean them up, what to do if they get on a person, and where the proper cleaning supplies are located.

Keep the Area Secure

The hazardous materials section should, if at all possible, be able to be locked or otherwise secured independently of the rest of the warehouse. This will help ensure that no one accidentally enters the area. It’s also another way of keeping track of the materials. If only certain individuals have access to this area, it’s much easier to make certain no hazardous materials go missing.

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