Proper chemical storage and handling can help protect you, your workers and your family. Learn how to set up your chemical shed to minimise the risks of an accident, which records to keep and how to prepare for an emergency. Depending on which chemicals and fuels you have, you may need to know about approved handlers, tracking or fuel tank regulations under HSNO. You should also contact ERMA on 0800 376 234 for HSNO compliance information.
It is important that your chemical store is in an area with good access and an easy exit. The storage area should be sited away from:
Your chemical store should include some form of secondary spill containment, such as a concrete floor with a lip at the edges or a wall of pre-formed blocks. Small volumes can be contained by putting the containers in a cut down drum.
You should make sure the chemicals you are storing will not react or eat through the materials of your secondary containment.
Other ways to contain spills include:
Make sure your chemical storage areas are clearly labelled. An agrichemical store should have an orange HAZCHEM 2WE Agrichemical sign, while fuel tanks and stores for flammables or explosives should be appropriately labelled (check your requirements with the ERMA hazardous substances compliance line 0800 376 234). You can get these signs from your local rural supply store or look in the yellow pages under ‘safety equipment suppliers’.
If containers are sealed and in good condition, the chemicals inside pose little risk. Regularly check all containers so that any leaking or deteriorating containers are identified as soon as possible.
Leaking containers should be placed in an oversized container (ideally of the same material). Do not use soft drink bottles or containers usually used for storing food.
All containers should be fitted with lids to minimise the risk of spills.
Where you place chemicals in the store can reduce the risk of spills and accidents.
You should store:
Make sure that reactive chemicals are stored separately, for example keep fertilisers away from weed killers. Do not store any oxidising or reducing agents such as pool chlorine with agrichemicals or fuels as they can react together. Your chemical supplier should provide you with information on chemical compatibility.
It is common for the labels on old chemical containers to deteriorate. It is important that all chemicals, whether used or not, are labelled with the correct contents because unlabelled / unknown chemicals are harder to manage and will cost more to dispose of properly.
There are a number of ways that you can label containers. The important thing to remember is that it should be as permanent as possible.
You can do any of the following:
It is a good idea to keep a log book of all the chemicals you have. The easiest way to do this is to keep a copy of the Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for all your chemicals in a folder. Your chemical supplier should supply you with a copy of the SDS for each of your chemicals, and this should be free. If you need another copy of your SDS, you can contact your chemical supplier, rep, phone the chemical company who make the chemical or download a copy from their website.
SDS contain important information on:
There should be easy access to emergency equipment. For a small store this should include:
Environment Canterbury recommends that all agrichemical users attain as a minimum the Growsafe Introductory Certificate.
Further information on the use, storage and disposal of agrichemicals can be obtained from Growsafe™ and "Agrichemical User's Code of Practice" (New Zealand Standard 8409:2004).
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