Dangerous Goods Storage in the Laboratory

Safety Cabinets

Dangerous Goods Storage in the Laboratory

Posted on the 29th of Dec 2015 by Westlab

Dangerous Goods Cabinets are a method of storing chemicals or substances that are classified as unsafe if improperly used. Dangerous goods can cause some serious health problems if used improperly. It is important that they are stored and used correctly to ensure a safe working environment is provided for everyone.

AS 1940-2004 refers to The Storage and Handling of Flammable and Combustible Liquids and is commonly referred to as the standard for dangerous goods Safety Cabinets. There is a more specific standard for storing chemicals in the laboratory which provides more specific information for a laboratory application. AS/NZS 2243.10-2004 is the standard referring to Safety in Laboratories – Storage of Chemicals and outlines some requirements you need to follow for dangerous goods cabinets in your laboratory as outlined below.

  • Cabinet Storage Capacity – If you are storing Classes 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 5.1, or 5.2, the capacity of a storage cabinet shall not exceed 50L. For all other chemicals, the capacity shall not exceed 250L.
  • Cabinet Separation – The cabinet storage capacity of all cabinets in a 10m radius shall not exceed 250L or 250kg. For example, you cannot have two 250L cabinets side-by-side but you can have two 100L cabinets side-by-side. Additional to this, you can’t have more than 10L or 10kg each of dangerous goods of Classes 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 5.1, or 5.2 that are classified as PG I in that 10m radius. The radius is measured horizontally and will measure through walls unless these walls are able to prevent the spreading of fire (you will need to take into account the magnitude of the potential fire when determining if a wall breaks up this radius). This requirement only applies for cabinets located within a laboratory and does not refer to other storage areas such as a chemical store.
  • Design – When purchasing a dangerous goods cabinet, ensure that it meets the design requirements outlined in AS 1940 by asking your supplier prior to purchase. You should not purchase any cabinet that is not compliant. Another important aspect worth noting is that if you intend on storing Class 5.2 dangerous goods in the cabinet, the cabinet must have a door closing mechanism that allows the door to open and release pressure caused by accelerated decomposition. Some cabinets, such as the Modulab 4-IN-1 cabinets have the provision to lock the handle in the open position so that the door will still close automatically but won’t latch when closed.
  • Location– In addition to cabinet separation as mentioned earlier, dangerous goods cabinets have some additional requirement in regards to location.
    • Cabinets should not be located above one another
    • Cabinets shall be located so that it does not interfere with escape in an emergency (minimum of 3m is recommended between cabinets and escape doors)
    • Cabinets should not be located under stairs or in corridors
    • Cabinets shall not be closer than 3m to an ignition source other than ceiling lights unless you have carried out a hazardous zone assessment in accordance with AS 2430.1 (only if the cabinets contain flammable liquids or substances that can release flammable or fire-promoting vapours or gases).
  • Labelling – The doors of a dangerous goods storage cabinet needs to display signage so that the contents of the goods can easily be determined. The cabinets require the ADG Code (Australian Dangerous Goods Code) class labels to be displayed on the doors. This will not switch to the new GHS labels and you should not place GHS labels on your cabinets. It is unclear if the GHS will be a requirement on cabinets in the future but as the GHS pictograms are more of a generic label and that multiple ADG labels can represent just a single GHS label, the GHS labels are unable to provide as specific details of the contents of the cabinet than what the ADG Code labels can.

Ensuring you are keeping compliant with Scientific Supplies Australia Standards will ensure that you are working in and providing a safe working environment. For more information on the storage of dangerous goods, you can refer to the relevant Australian Standards (purchase required) or the National Code of Practice.

2015-12-29 01:30:00
copyright © 2024 WestLab Pty. Ltd. All rights reserved. - ABN: 71 606 662 113 - Marketing Partner - Brand Surge LLC