Drums or IBCs (intermediate bulk containers) to store hazardous materials
If you work with potentially hazardous chemical substances or waste in your line of work, it's a good bet that you rely on drums or IBCs (intermediate bulk containers) to store hazardous materials. You likely also have secondary containment measures in place such as sumps, pallets, decks, shelving/racks, and perhaps even HazMat stations.
While all of these products start out in pristine condition, they can become soiled over time, both by chemical spills and environmental grime. In order to ensure the utmost safety in handling, however, you need to take pains to keep your chemical storage containers clean and in good condition.
There are several steps you can take to reduce the buildup of dirt, grime, and chemical spillage, as well as eliminate messes when they occur. This will help to keep facilities clean and employees safe. Here are some strategies to employ in your place of business.
Load and Unload Carefully
The first thing you should do is procure appropriate storage (i.e. drums or IBCs), as well as suitable secondary containment measures (pallets, sumps, etc.). The goal here is to ensure the utmost safety and avoid spillage of hazardous materials like chemicals or waste.
Drums and such, when outfitted properly, shouldn't leak. But spillage can occur when chemicals are either added to or removed from drums. Careful loading and unloading of the contents of drums and IBCs is a necessity if you're trying to avoid conditions that could be harmful to employees or damaging to equipment and facilities (or the environment, for that matter).
Of course, it is for just such spills and leaks that secondary containment is necessary. However, if you load and unload with care you won't soil your secondary chemical storage containment either.
Careful loading and unloading could also apply to transporting drums and IBCs. Ideally, you won't have to move them once they are placed in storage, but if you do, make sure to use proper equipment and jostle them as little as possible to avoid damage and the potential for spillage.
How you store hazardous materials will depend largely on your facilities and the chemicals you're storing. Some companies have indoor storage while others store drums outside.
You want to make sure your storage solutions are designed for indoor or outdoor usage, depending on your needs. Outdoor storage will have weatherproofing features that indoor storage solutions may not. If you want to keep storage products in good condition, they must be properly rated for your usage.
Some materials may also need to be kept in a temperature controlled environment or properly ventilated spaces. Your facilities and the type of storage containers you choose are important when dealing with such materials.A failure to select the right equipment and control the environment could lead to deterioration of storage containers or even some kind of accident.
Even if you've got all your ducks in a row and you've taken great pains to ensure that you have the right drum or IBC container for your hazardous materials, you can't rest on your laurels. You need to be vigilant when it comes to checking your storage.
There are two reasons to do this. One is to make sure that nothing goes missing. Some chemicals are highly regulated and therefor attractive targets for certain types of thieves.
In addition, however, you need to know if any issues occur, such as leakage or deterioration of your storage containers. Regular inspections of your storage facilities will help to ensure that issues are caught and corrected early, before they turn into major health or safety hazards.
Clean as Needed
There are products specifically designed to make using and storing chemical or hazardous substances a safer and cleaner affair. Some, like pumps, funnels, and spouts, help to reduce potential spillage and the need to clean up drums and sumps.
Others, like absorbents and surface cleaning tools, are designed to mop up messes that do occur. There are even washing tables to help you clean soiled parts.
If you want to keep your chemical storage equipment and facilities in good working condition, ensuring a safe and healthy work environment that complies with regulations, it's best to not only inspect storage regularly, but to clean storage containers and accessories regularly, as well.