Chemical Storage Plan For Laboratories


  • Chemicals should be stored by hazard class (i.e. flammable with flammable, oxidizers with oxidizers, etc.)
  • Incompatible chemicals should be physically segregated from each other during storage.
  • Chemicals should not be exposed to direct sunlight or localized heat.
  • Containers of corrosive chemicals (acids &bases) should be stored in trays large enough to contain spillage or leakage.
  • Chemicals should be properly labeled, dated upon receipt, and dated upon opening of the container.
  • All containers must be labeled as to contents. Liquids must be labeled by name and percent of each constituent.
  • Hazardous chemicals should not be stored above the shoulder height of the shortest person working in the lab.
  • Shelves should be painted or covered with chemical resistant paint or other chemical resistant coating.
  • Shelves should be strong enough to hold chemicals being stored on them. Do not overload shelves.
  • All chemical shelving should have at least a 1/2" containment lip on the outer edge or should have doors covering the shelves.
  • Personnel should be aware of the hazards associated with all hazardous materials.
  • All solids should be separated from liquids.
  • All chemicals should be properly contained with secondary containment when required.
  • Chemicals should not be stored under sinks or in fume hoods.
  • Ordinary domestic refrigerators and walk-in coolers must not be used for the storage of flammable liquids because they contain certain built-in ignition sources such as electrical contacts.
  • Explosives should be stored in approved explosion-proof refrigeration


  • Large bottles of acids should be stored on lower shelves or in acid cabinets.
  • Oxidizing acids should be segregated from organic acids, flammables, and combustible materials.
  • Acids should be segregated from bases and active metals such as sodium, magnesium and potassium.
  • Acids should be segregated from chemicals that can generate toxic gases on contact, such as sodium cyanide and iron sulfide
  • Acids should be stored in chemical resistant trays that are capable of containing any spillage or leakage from their container.
  • Make sure that all acids are stored by compatibility


  • Bases should be stored away from acids.
  • Large bottles of bases should be stored on lower shelves or in a corrosive cabinet.
  • Bases should be stored in chemical resistant trays that are capable of containing any spillage or leakage from their container.
  • Make sure that all bases are stored by compatibility


  • According to NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) 30 & 45, for each area with flammable liquids, you may store10gal/100 sq. ft in an unsprinkled lab or 20gal/100sq ft in a sprinkled lab.
  • The maximum allowable quantity for flammable liquid storage in any size lab is not to exceed 120 gallons.
  • Regarding flammable liquid storage outside of approved flammable storage cabinets; there may be a maximum of 10 gallons of flammable liquids in original containers and an additional 25 gallons in approved safety cans not to exceed 2-gallon size. NFPA 45.
  • NFPA specified safety cabinets should be used for storage of flammable liquids.
  • Only explosion-proof or intrinsically safe refrigerators and freezers should be used for storing flammable liquids.
  • Bonding and grounding wires should be used where flammable liquids > 5 gallons are dispensed or where flammable liquids are being transferred from one metal container to another metal container.
  • Make sure that all flammables are stored by compatibility.
  • Our guidelines for flammable storage follow NFPA 30 & 45 standard


  • Peroxide-forming chemicals should be stored in airtight containers away from light, heat, and air.
  • Do not store liquid or solutions of peroxides at a temperature below that at which the peroxide freezes or precipitates.  Peroxides in this form are extremely shock and heat sensitive.
  • Refrigerated storage of peroxides or other flammable chemicals must be in a "Lab-Safe" or explosion proof unit only.
  • Peroxide-forming chemicals should be properly disposed of before the date of expected peroxide formation (six months after opening).
  • Make sure that all peroxide-forming chemicals are stored by compatibility.
  • Shock sensitive and detonable materials are to be stored in secondary containers large enough to hold the container contents in case of breakage; i.e., picric and perchloric acids.
  • Picric, if dry, must remain dry; if wet, must remain wet. Crystal formation on caps, etc., poses an imminent danger. Containers should be routinely inspected for peroxide formation. Chemicals should be labeled with date received, date opened, and disposal/expiration date.
  • Suspicion of peroxide contamination should be immediately investigated. Contact Chemical Safety (1-2663) for procedures.


  • Water-Reactive chemicals should be stored in a cool and dry place.
  • In case of fire, a Class ABC (all-purpose) fire extinguisher, or Class D fire extinguisher for the specific water-reactive chemical, should be used. MCG has a policy of using the ABC extinguishers for all fires. In the event you are unable to extinguish the fire without risk of personal injury, leave the room closing the door behind you and call 1-2911 from a safe location.
  • Make sure that all water reactive chemicals are stored by compatibility.


  • Oxidizers should be stored away from flammables, combustibles, and reducing agents (e.g. zinc, alkaline metals, etc.)
  • Make sure that all oxidizers are stored by compatibility


  • Toxic compounds should be stored according to the nature of the chemical, with appropriate security employed when necessary.
  • A "Poison Control Network" telephone number should be posted in the laboratory. (Poison Control Center 724-5050 and CDC 404-639-3235)
  • Make sure that all toxins are stored by compatibility
  • If you have an understanding of how your chemicals should be segregated and stored, but you're having difficulty fitting the standard practices into the space you have allotted, or you're not totally sure how to segregate or store your chemicals, we would be happy to make a site visit to assist. For more information or assistance with chemical storage and proper segregation, you may contact The Chemical Safety Office at extension 1-2663 Environmental Health and Safety Division.