5 Lessons Learned: Safety

Features of Storage Buildings of Chemical Substances

Chemical companies dealing with hazardous, chemical substances must ensure the safe storage of these chemicals to safeguard the safety and health of the workers, including that of the environment and the public.

Chemical storage buildings have a leak-tight sump area at the bottom to prevent leakage and contamination on the surrounding storage area and they are built to store flammable liquids, chemicals and hazardous waste safely and securely. The size of the storage building is determined by the volume capacity of chemicals that are normally stored, such that most of the building structures are customized to accommodate any type of container or even equipment.

It is standard requirement and procedure that all Class 1 flammable and combustible liquids in drums in an outside location must be stored in a chemical storage building to safely secure from leakage and contamination. Class 1 flammable and combustible liquids are categorized into: Class 1A – those liquids that have flash points below 22.8 degrees Centigrade and boiling points below 37.8 degrees Centigrade; and Class 1B – those liquids that have flash points below 22.8 degrees Centigrade and boiling points at or above 37.8 degrees Centigrade.
A Quick Rundown of Safety

Most chemical storage buildings are fire-rated designed and approved, meaning that they carry the Factory Mutual System Approval label and have an FB Approved fire rated wall and roof design. Therefore, fire-rated storage buildings are constructed following these criteria: standard buildings must pass the 2-hour and 4-hour fire ratings upgrade, walls must pass the 2-hour and 4-hour fire ratings upgrade, and roofs must pass the 1.5-hour and 3-hour fire ratings upgrade and all these fire ratings upgrade mean the time duration in which a structure can withstand the damage of fire. The standard structure of fire-rated buildings must come with hydraulic operated self-closing, fire-rated doors and fire damper protected vents.
Looking On The Bright Side of Storage

The kind of material used for constructing a chemical storage building is galvanized steel; however, the gauges used will depend on the storage capacity, such as a 16 gauge galvanized steel is used or a 12 drum capacity, while larger buildings are constructed of a 12 gauge galvanized steel. Heavy gauge steel with leak tight seams is the standard material for the sump, which refers to the bottom part of the storage building which functions as reservoir, and the sump interior is coated with corrosion resistant material, a high-density polyethylene liner. The sump must contain at least 25% of the liquid storage capacity of the building, for instance, if the building is designed to store four 55-gallon drums, the sump can only contain 55 gallons.

A change in temperature can affect the storage of the chemicals, such that if you are storing a liquid that may freeze and, in the process, the chemicals may expand and cause its container to burst, an explosion proof heater must be used during the cold seasons; and, in the same manner, if you’re storing a liquid that has a low flash point and the weather conditions allow for a high internal air temperature, an explosion proof air conditioning unit must be installed.