55-gallon drums are a versatile and convenient storage method used in many different industries. They store everything from lubricating oils to diesel and hazardous chemicals. While popular and easy-to-use, they also pose some risks.
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When splashed with hazardous chemicals, the longest it should take anyone to reach an emergency shower and eyewash station is 10 seconds. That’s hardly any time - about as long as it takes to turn on the tap and fill a glass with water or tie your shoes.
Laboratories store and handle different chemicals in their daily operation. Some are flammable and some are corrosive, while others are completely inert. One key to laboratory safety is keeping using chemical containers that minimize the risk of spills, fires and toxic vapors. Carboy containers provide these functions.
Mixing incompatible materials together can result in explosions, fires and severe injuries. An article in Lab Manager Magazine reports that improper storage of chemicals accounts for 25 percent of all chemical accidents in labs. The article describes the following examples of two serious lab incidents, both involving nitric acid:
Are safety cans okay for outdoor use? This question comes up often. The answer is definitely yes. But, understand the risks and mitigate them. Precautions to take when using safety gas cans outdoors.
Flammable storage cabinets arrive at a site on pallets, often carried by forklift to their station. Keeping the flammable safety cabinet on a pallet may seem convenient. It makes it easier to move. It might also seem like a good idea to keep it elevated off the floor, so that any leak or chemical spill will be visible.
Many chemicals used in everyday life are flammable or hazardous to humans. Cleaning materials contain ignitable solvents. Pool chemicals contain acids that cause chemical burns. Labor laws (OSHA) and fire codes (NFPA) regulate chemical storage in commercial buildings and industries.
Different types of paint have different storage requirements. Solvent-based paints contain flammable materials and have stricter storage requirements. Water-based paints are less hazardous and have fewer restrictions. It is important to know what kind of paint you are storing and relevant OSHA and NFPA requirements.
Many industries use 55-gallon drums to store and move chemicals, oils and other products. Storing materials close to their point of use is convenient for operations. In the cases of certain machinery and equipment, this means storing some drums outdoors, even if most of the drums remain in a central warehouse.