An industrial chemical storage shed is a building specifically designed to store and minimise the risks associated with the particular material being stored. Often the requirements will be spelled out in local legislation and bylaws as to exactly what you need to do to store a potentially hazardous material safely and securely.
If you're storing just a few tins of paint and a bit of petrol or oil for the garden mower, your domestic garden shed will most likely do the job. However it is worth having a look at some of the design factors in the article below that would be considered in the design of industrial chemical storage sheds to see if you need to take any additional precautions. This could just be making sure that you have any garden chemicals high up on a shelf where children and pets cannot knock them over or fixing a secure lock on the door.
If you're storing chemicals such as industrial cleaners, pesticides or large quantities of motor fuel it's your responsibility to store them correctly. Consider the following items and then if necessary check out local laws to confirm whether you need to invest in a chemical storage shed.
There are many companies who specialize in chemical storage sheds, which are suitable for industrial and domestic storage of hazardous chemicals. Make sure the shed you choose adheres to local regulations concerning the storage of the chemical you intend to store.
Most chemical storage sheds are made from steel, with either a metal base or a bunded floor from in-situ concrete. These materials may have a specified fire resistance as well as blast resistance to protect people in the vicinity and the local environment if the shed was unfortunate enough to be part of a fire.
There are a range of specifications available with fire resistance from zero to 4 hours or more. The grade of shed you choose will depend on the type and quantity of material you intend to store, how close the shed is to other buildings and the use of those buildings will also need to be considered.
Fumes from stored chemicals can be extremely toxic, so it's important that fumes cannot escape from the containers in which they are stored. Even if all containers are securely closed, vapor fumes can still escape and remain in the atmosphere inside the shed.
It is therefore important that ventilation of the shed is considered to ensure that any stray fumes from spills or leaks are dispersed safely into the atmosphere without causing harm to people entering the building.
It's not just the people working in the shed that need to be considered the flora and fauna outside need protecting too and a well designed shed may need leakage detectors with alarms built in to alert the operator in the case of a leak.
During high winds and storms, chemical storage sheds must stay in place to prevent any toxic substances leaking out and causing damage to the local environment. In order to withstand high winds the shed will generally be fixed to anchor points in the concrete floor/foundation.
Positioning of a chemical storage shed is important to protect the substances inside. Consideration of the fabric of the building is vital to prevent overheating of the chemicals. A plain sheet metal shed for example will heat up rapidly in direct sunlight whereas a shed with walls of brick and an insulated roof will be subject to much slower temperature variations. The type of shed selected will be dependant on the material that is to be stored.
It may be vital that liquids cannot escape if containers are accidentally tipped over. Many industrial storage sheds will have an impermeable 'bunded' base. This 'bund' is effectively a container that the shed sits in so that if there is a leak of toxic material it is contained and and cannot leak out through the floor to contaminate local rivers or the ground water supply.
A bund may be constructed of steel for smaller buildings or concrete for larger buildings. The capacity of the bund is an important design decision to ensure that there is sufficient capacity to contain the materials stored in the case of a severe leak.
Any chemical storage shed should have a sign outside that informs people of the type of hazardous chemicals inside. The main purpose of this signage is that it informs the emergency services that the storage shed contains hazardous chemicals and of the type and quantity that are stored. During an accident or emergency they can then take appropriate measures to keep themselves, the general public and environment safe.
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