COSHH Storage Regulations – Does Your School Comply?

COSHH storage and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations are enforced and regulated by the HSE to ensure the safety and health of anyone using or in the vicinity of potentially harmful chemicals.

The regulations cover both the use and storage of these substances, and it is especially important to ensure these regulations are followed in schools due to the staff and students using the substances having varying experience and knowledge on the subject.

Therefore, to help you make sure you are minimising the risk of fire, unexpected reactions or chemical exposure related injuries in your school, we have summarised some of the key areas of the COSHH Regulations relating to COSHH storage.

Taking Inventory of Substances

When storing chemicals, it is essential that you keep an up to date inventory of the substances. This should include the name of the substance, the hazard class, the amount upon storage, and any other information you feel useful for your school’s records. Keeping a regular inventory of your hazard substances ensures that misuse and loss can be eradicated, and the risk of damage or injury can be minimised. It is also useful information to have when planning for class experiments, as you can ensure you have every substance you need in the right quantities.

Labelling of Hazardous Chemicals

Regularly labelling and checking the current labels on containers of hazardous substances will ensure that risk of accidental misuse and confusion are minimised. Labels can often fade or become damaged over time, and so ensuring that the labelling remains clear and correct on all containers is a must. Where possible, it is advisable to keep the chemicals in the manufacturer’s original container with original labels intact, but should this not remain possible in any case, then new labels should be applied with the following information clearly detailed: chemical name, concentration, hazard information, date transferred to container and name of who transfered it.

Keeping Hazardous Chemicals Separate

Separate all chemicals into inorganic or organic substances, and then separate them further into groups based on chemical compatibility. It is important not to store chemicals based on alphabetical order, as there are certain chemicals that cannot be within close proximity of each other because they could cause a hazardous reaction.

Ensure you only use specially manufactured COSHH cupboards for the storage of chemicals, as they are made to minimise risk of harm where hazardous substances are concerned. COSHH storage cabinets and flammable cabinets are available in variety of sizes, and offer safe and secure storage for acids, bases, flammable materials, poisons, and other hazardous substances.

It is essential to divide the hazard classes by distance or better, a separate COSHH storage cupboard to ensure there is no risk of dangerous reaction due to proximity. It is also essential to consider size and hazard class when deciding on the placing of the chemical within the storage cabinets. For example, heavy containers should not be stored above eye level,  and corrosive chemicals should not be stored directly on floors.

For more information about the hazardous storage cupboards available to comply with the COSHH storage regulations, browse our website, and call us today on 01924240291or email and one of our friendly team will be happy to help.