Storing and transporting hazardous chemicals

Hazardous chemicals must be stored and transported carefully according to specific instructions, which often vary for different substances.

Employees and employers must understand these instructions, as they are both responsible for storing and transporting chemicals safely.

Storing hazardous chemicals

If hazardous chemicals are not stored correctly, they can lead to contamination, fires, spills, accidental inhalation or ingestion. Information for storing any hazardous material can be found on its safety data sheet (SDS).

Before you store hazardous chemicals

Before storing hazardous chemicals, check the label for advice about storage and:

  • assess the quantity of the substance to be stored
  • assess how long you need to store the substance for
  • identify the toxicity and stability of the substance
  • check the state of the containers (only use original containers - never use food containers)
  • check the state of the labels (replace labels if they have come off)
  • consider storing chemicals in a depot with a bund or some other spill containment system (where possible).

How to store hazardous chemicals safely

Once you are ready to store hazardous chemicals, you should:

  • ensure safe design, location and installation of storage and handling systems (e.g. racking systems, tanks)
  • separate incompatible substances to prevent reactive chemicals interacting
  • control potential ignition sources around flammable substances
  • have appropriate safety signage and placards
  • be prepared for spill containment and have clean up systems
  • have emergency plans in place to deal with an incident involving the hazardous chemicals
  • have the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and store it correctly (e.g. respirators sealed)
  • have fire-fighting equipment that is easily accessible
  • secure chemicals from unauthorised access.

Find out about the national standard for the storage and handling of workplace dangerous goods.

Transporting hazardous chemicals

Many hazardous chemicals and dangerous goods used in workplaces may, at some point, need to be moved. The Australian dangerous goods code provides the necessary information on transporting hazardous chemicals and dangerous goods for all states and territories in Australia (except the Northern Territory).

Read more about transporting dangerous goods in Queensland.

Checklist for transporting hazardous chemicals

When transporting chemicals:

  • avoid transporting with food, water or other reactive chemicals
  • follow the separation and segregation rules for transporting mixed classes of hazardous chemicals (those classified as dangerous goods)
  • secure hazardous chemicals on the vehicle so they can't move or fall
  • keep a record of the chemicals you are carrying
  • separate foodstuffs from chemicals
  • make sure you have the required signs and equipment for the vehicle
  • make sure the driver of the vehicle has the correct licence and is trained in emergency procedures.