Establishing An Effective Material Handling Plan

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has many policies and procedures from years of practiced knowledge, but with so much information comes an overload of text that can't be easily put into place by a single company. Take inventory of your specific equipment, materials and goods, then categorize the business into different safety areas by designing plans for each aspect of your company with the help of a few inspection points.

General Storage For Dangerous Liquids

There are many different precautions that need to be taken for different kinds of liquids. Flammability, caustic hazards or fume hazards can affect personnel and other equipment, but there are a few things you could do to prepare for taking on any of these dangers.

For flammable materials, you'll need a flame-retardant room. Avoid carpets or large amounts of fabric when preparing a room for flammable materials, and consider keeping it in a storage area away from the main building. If you'd like to invest in more fire safety, you can contact a construction contractor to spray the walls with fireproofing materials.

In the case of liquids that have toxic fumes, a well-ventilated room may not be enough. In addition to storing the material in an air-tight container, make sure to have an emergency exhaust system with a powerful suction fan. The fumes should be able to be sucked out of the room and piped away from others in the area. Keep in mind that certain emission standards prohibit continuous exhaust of hazardous fumes.

Caustic materials must be examined thoroughly before handling or storage. If you need to put the material in another container for secondary storage or mixing, you need to make sure that the container can handle the caustic material. Placing certain materials in basic plastic containers can lead to a spill as the plastic is melted away, which may lead to a toxic fume problem as well.

Emergency Access Is A Must

Dangerous materials don't need to be kept in a obscure, hard-to-reach area unless security is a must. In order to be prepared for an incident, there needs to be multiple entry and exit points for emergency personnel to access the areas safely.

An access configuration of at least two doors and two windows is optimal for rescue and extinguishing services. If certain conditions such as temperature or outdoor light must be limited, you may need to install heavy duty doors that can provide a powerful air-tight seal while still allowing emergency access.

Contact a material handling equipment specialist if you need help preparing your hazardous materials storage area.