Chemical Storage

Follow established safe chemical storage and segregation practices for the hazardous materials in your laboratory. Review storage and segregation information available from the chemical Safety Data Sheet, EH&S chemical storage group document, and follow these general safe practices:

  • Determine primary hazard  of the chemical such as flammability, reactivity (oxidizers, water reactives), corrosivity, toxicity, etc.
  • Identify safe storage locations, such as flammable storage cabinets, corrosives cabinets, referigerators rated for flammable liquid storage, and always return materials to their proper storage location immediately after use.
  • Ensure other materials stored in that area are compatible with your material (Chemical Storage Group Guidelines)
  • DO NOT store liquid hazardous materials on the floor without proper secondary containment
  • DO NOT store excessive containers of hazardous materials in fume hoods or biosafety cabinets as this can disrupt the airflow
  • DO NOT store hazardous liquids, corrosives or irritants, above eye level. 
  • DO NOT store flammable liquids in non-rated refrigerators or freezers.


Refrigerated Chemical Storage

Flammable liquids that must be chilled or frozen require special flammable storage refrigerators or freezers to minimize the risk of fire or explosion.

Never store flammable liquids of any volume in a domestic refrigerator or freezer. These units have numerous ignition sources that could ignite vapors.

Flammable storage refrigerators are available in a variety of styles and sizes, though they will be more expensive than standard refrigerators. Consider coordinating and sharing space with other researchers if purchasing one is not in your budget.

Types of cold flammable storage

Cold flammable storage will fall under one of two types:

  • Flammable storage refrigerators and freezers - have no exposed ignition sources inside the cabinet, such as lights or switches, that could ignite vapors.
  • Explosion-proof or spark-proof refrigerators and freezers - have no interior or exterior ignition sources. An explosion-proof refrigerator or freezer may be required in high hazard locations.

Label refrigerators to avoid confusion

  • Label refrigerators used for chemical storage with a Laboratory Use Only sticker.
  • Label flammable storage refrigerators with Flammable Refrigerator Chemical Storage sticker.
  • Label standard refrigerators used for storage of non-flammable chemicals with a No Flammable Storage sticker.

Environmental room prohibition

Never use environmental rooms, in this case cold rooms, for storage of flammable or other hazardous materials of any volume.

Environmental rooms have many ignition sources and little to no air circulation from outside. Small quantities of flammable or hazardous materials (500 ml or less) may be used in these spaces, but do not store them there. 


UCSC Chemical Storage and Compatibility Resources:

Chemical Inventory Program FAQs

Chemical Compatibility and Storage Guidelines

Chemical Storage Group Guidelines