When you work in a lab, you must know the basics of lab safety and cleanliness. Some of these include:
- Keep the path to exits clear.
- Do not block areas around safety showers, fire extinguishers, fire blankets and electrical controls.
- Do not store chemical containers where they may be broken or become a trip hazard for workers.
- Return chemical containers to their proper storage location after each use.
- Stairways, hallways, and floors are not legitimate storage areas and should always be kept clear.
- Keep the equipment and work area clean and neat for the next user to avoid cross-contamination.
Did you notice that half of these guidelines are about chemical storage? Storing chemicals safely can be as important as using chemicals safely. In a laboratory, chemical storage procedures must be carefully planned and implemented.
Chemical Storage: Safety First
Chemicals need to be thrown out when they expire. Gas cylinders, ethers, and other chemicals will break down with time. Older chemicals can become unstable and present a danger to you and your lab. Proper care can avoid these problems before they become a danger. One of the ways you can store chemicals is in a chemically-safe carboy. Carboys have plenty of labeling space for Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) labels as well as other important information, like dates of purchase and expiration.
Keep an up-to-date inventory of the chemicals present in the lab. If you do, you’ll know which chemicals you need to order, saving you time and money. You will also be better prepared to store chemicals and solvents properly. Carboys are much easier to keep track of than smaller bottles when you need a larger inventory of a certain chemical. If an emergency occurs, responders will know exactly what hazards need to be considered.
Chemicals also need to be separated based on their reactiveness. Chemicals that may be dangerous when combined must be kept separate during storage; even for a minor spill, there will be a decreased chance of harmful reactions. Carboys are a safe way to store chemicals because of their size, shape, material, and variety of colors. They are easy to identify when stored and have plenty of space for good labeling. Some are even equipped with spigots for safer pouring. Many carboys that are carried by Med Lab Supply offer interchangeable caps that allow safe filtration, dispensing, and transferring of chemicals in the lab.