A variety of legislation requires the proper and safe storage of chemicals. The legislation protects human health and the environment, protects against fire, and against building and land contamination. Often organisations and home owners are unaware of risks posed by chemicals on their property.
The most common types of chemicals found in our society include:
- Cleaning formulations including detergents, acids and alkalis
- Cooking products such as oils and fats
- Hardware products such as paints, solvents and adhesives
- Higher volume storage such as drums or stores of solvents, process chemicals, coatings, inks, cleaners, oils, greases and fuels
- Stored gases and air-conditioning products
- Bulk underground or aboveground tanks of petrol, diesel or oil
- Waste packaging
- Putrescible, toxic or infectious waste
- Dangerous goods
An inventory of chemicals on site and their method of storage is often required by insurers and fire authorities with proper labelling being a legal requirement.
Inappropriate chemical storage can affect or place at risk the indoor air quality and the external environment.
Professional help is mostly required to identify and quantify chemical hazards and to assess the risks so that a proper and legal risk management process can be enacted to control the risk. Correct disposal procedures are also required by the authorities.
Damage caused by an incorrect risk assessment of chemicals may:
- Invalidate insurance claims;
- Prevent fire fighting access;
- Cause environmental liability;
- Affect human health and
- Lead to personal criminal liability.