Dangerous Goods Storage

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What is a dangerous goods cabinet and what is its purpose?

Dangerous goods cabinets store chemicals safely to protect people and buildings, particularly from fire. They provide emergency personnel safe access and extra time to fight fires without the fire exploding out of control. Unprotected chemicals are an accelerant that speeds or accelerates the development and escalation of fire. It’s no secret that most industrial fires and accidents are caused by improper storage and handling of hazardous substances.

It is dangerous to store different categories of chemical together and it is dangerous (and against the law) to store more than a very small quantity of chemicals without an Australian Standard approved storage cabinet. For safe storage of chemical containers, Area Safe dangerous goods cabinets should be purchased. Read more about the basic rules for flammable goods storage cabinets in our article HERE. For bulk storage areas, Area Safe bunding is a legal requirement.

The different categories for dangerous goods storage are as below. These chemicals must be stored in a colour coded Australian Standard compliant storage cabinet, labelled with the correct Hazchem sign placard as follows:

  • Flammable Liquids (e.g. fuel) – yellow cabinets, ‘Flammable Liquid 3 + relevant Danger sign’.
  • Corrosives (e.g. acid, chlorine etc) – blue cabinets, + ‘Corrosive 8’ sign.
  • Pesticides – green cabinet, ‘Toxic 6 + relevant Danger Sign’.
  • Flammable Gases – Aluminium or Galvanised Gas Bottle Cage (outdoors), ‘Flammable Gas 2 + relevant Danger sign’.
  • Aerosols – aluminium cages, + ‘Flammable Gas 2’ sign.
  • Herbicides are not classified as dangerous goods because they are water soluble.

According to Australian Standards, an Emergency eyewash, emergency shower and a spill kit must be installed in the area where hazardous substances are stored, opened, handled and prepared.

White coloured cabinets should only be used for storing waste flammable liquids (205L drum). This is because emergency services need the distinctive colour coding on the different cabinet types so they can instantly identify what chemicals are in storage.

This information is general in nature – professional advice should be sought for specific requirements.

For more information on how to store chemicals safely, you can download a handy guide to storing chemicals from the Safe Work Australia website HERE.

“If you store chemicals in your workplace and need information on how to store them safely, this guide is for you. It is important to know which chemicals are safe to store together, where you can safely store them and which ones you should separate” said Director of Chemicals Policy, Dr Paul Taylor.

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