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How to store chemicals and dispose of hazardous waste safely

How to store chemicals and dispose of hazardous waste safely
Article

What responsibilities do businesses have towards chemicals and hazardous waste?

 

Does your business use chemicals or produce waste that can be harmful to people and the environment? If you do, then you're responsible for handling and storing such chemicals in a safe way in order to minimise the risk of harm. You are also legally responsible for the proper disposal of any hazardous waste that the company produces.

Chemical storage

 

If your company stores chemicals, there's always a risk of spills and leaks. It's important to prevent any harm to people or the environment as well as any hazardous chemical reactions. This must be carried out in compliance with Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations.


Important tips for storing chemicals safely:

 

  • Store chemicals in ventilated COSHH cabinets or storage facilities.
  • Label chemicals and hazardous substances clearly with contents and GHS classification so they can be easily identified.
  • Store chemicals separately if they can cause dangerous chemical reactions if mixed.
  • Use spill containment trays or sump pallets to collect spills and drips.
  • Do not store acids together with bases, strong acids together with organic substances or oxidising agents together with oxidisable substances.
  • Store chemicals so that unauthorised personnel cannot gain access to them, for example in lockable chemical cabinets. The level of security required will depend on the substances stored.

Disposal of hazardous waste

 

Hazardous waste is waste that causes harm to human health or the environment. It can be corrosive, carcinogenic, toxic, flammable or explosive. Some common hazardous wastes are waste oil, leftover paint, batteries, light bulbs, various chemicals and pesticides, and electrical waste containing hazardous components.


Hazardous waste should never be mixed with other waste or poured down the drain. As a private individual, you can leave your hazardous waste at a designated recycling centre. However, for businesses, special rules apply to how hazardous waste should be sorted, documented and transported, which are essential to know.


As a business, you have a duty of care over the waste you produce. You’re obligated to understand how your hazardous waste affects the environment and human health as well as the rules for handling and classification of the waste. You are also expected to keep records of the hazardous waste generated within the business. In addition, you are responsible for ensuring that the carrier and the end receiver of your hazardous waste have the required licenses.

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