Chemical storage and labelling

Chemical storage and labelling: We are sorting through our toxic chemicals ADG class 6 and are not sure how we should now label and store them according to the GHS.  For example, lead acetate which is toxic and a marine pollutant under the ADG still retains the environmental pictogram under the GHS but also now has the chronic health hazard pictogram and the general health hazard pictogram (exclamation mark).  Barium carbonate, previously ADG class 6, under the GHS is now regarded as a general health hazard as too is sodium chloride!  If we place the GHS labels on our old bottles, then how would you advise that we store these chemicals in our chemical store considering that we use ADG Code class labels for placarding?

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Publication Date: 28 April 2016
Asked By: Kategi
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Chemical storage and labelling

Expert Answer

The labelling and storage of chemicals is complex. Transitioning to the GHS and the existence of other labelling requirements adds to this complexity.

Labelling

Under the GHS, toxic chemicals are identified with the pictograms GHS06 (skull and crossbones), GHS08 (health hazard) and GHS07 (exclamation mark) according to the nature and degree of the hazard presented. As there is not a perfect correlation of the GHS classifications with Dangerous Goods (DG) class 6.1, the DG skull and crossbones diamond cannot be applied to the labels of all toxic chemicals. It can only replace the GHS06 (skull and crossbones) pictogram.

Storage

Toxic chemicals should be stored securely and segregated from incompatible chemicals so as to prevent dangerous reactions. All chemicals used for science in schools should be stored in a secure chemical storeroom, in which case there would be no additional requirement for further security. Science ASSIST recommends that toxic chemicals be stored along with general (hazardous and non-hazardous) chemicals on shelves in the chemical storeroom, taking into consideration any further DG classification.

Toxic chemicals with Class 6.1 as the primary DG class may also have a subsidiary risk of one of the DG Classes 3, 4, 5 or 8; or, a chemical may have another primary DG class and Class 6.1 as the subsidiary risk. If a Class 6.1 chemical has another DG classification, then this classification needs to be considered.

DG Class 6.1, no other DG classification: If a chemical is classified as DG Class 6.1 as its only DG class, then it may be stored with general inorganic or organic chemicals. For example:

  • barium chloride, DG Class 6.1: may be stored with general inorganic chemicals
  • methyl orange, DG Class 6.1: we recommend storage with other indicators and dyes

DG Class 6.1 and another DG classification: If a chemical belongs to a DG Class additional to Class 6.1, either as the primary or a subsidiary class, then this classification needs to be considered.

For example:

  • methanol, DG class 3(6.1): store with Class 3 Flammable liquids
  • iodine, DG class 8(6.1): store with Class 8 Corrosives (solids)
  • potassium dichromate, DG class 6.1(5.1): store with Class 5.1 Oxidising substances
  • sebacoyl chloride, DG class 8(6.1): store with Class 8 Corrosives (liquids)

Segregation of toxic chemicals: Schools are unlikely to have sufficient quantities of toxic chemicals to require segregation of them in a designated toxic substances cabinet. However, if the chemicals are not stored securely and can be accessed by students or unauthorised staff, then we recommend storing the toxic substances in a separate lockable cabinet.

Lead acetate: This chemical is not included in our List of recommended chemicals for science in Australian schools.  If your school chooses to have this chemical, then as it is classified as DG class 6.1, it may be stored with general inorganic chemicals.

Barium carbonate: In the Australian Dangerous Goods (ADG) Code, barium carbonate is not listed specifically. It is classified in the generic category of Barium compounds N.O.S. (‘Not Otherwise Specified’). The ADG Code is designed to ensure the safe transport of chemicals, whereas the GHS classification of chemicals is concerned with the safe handling of chemicals. Therefore, although barium carbonate may be classified as DG Class 6.1, under the GHS classification, which is specific for the individual chemical, barium carbonate does not meet the criteria for Acute toxicity Category 1 or 2, which would require it to be labelled with the GHS06 pictogram. Note that it is a scheduled poison S6, but as barium carbonate does not have any other DG classification, it therefore can be stored with general inorganic chemicals.

Sodium chloride: This chemical has no DG classification and should be stored with general inorganic chemicals

Additional information

AIS: Labels for school science chemicals

List of recommended chemicals for science in Australian schools.

We are currently developing a detailed information sheet on this topic and will edit this answer and provide a link to the information sheet when it is available.

References

Labelling of workplace hazardous chemicals'. Safe Work Australia Website. http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/whs-information/hazardous-chemicals/labelling/pages/labelling

‘Lead acetate’, Safety Data Sheet, Chem-Supply website, https://www.chemsupply.com.au/documents/LA0301CH3O.pdf  (August 2011)

'Barium carbonate' Safety Data Sheet, Chem-Supply website, https://www.chemsupply.com.au/documents/BA0351CHAP.pdf (March 2012)

by Nehal Trivedi on 15 June 2016

Dear Ginny,

Thanks for the detailed answer for the query to chemical storage and labelling requirement.
The answer and the various links mentioned are really helpful.

I referred the document AIS: Labels for school science chemicals.
I have query - if it is possible to have some actual samples of label for -
- commonly used chemical solution like HCl, NaOH etc
- of concentration of 0.1M, 0.5 and 1M etc
- suitable for dropper bottles of 25 -35 ml size and storage containers of 500 mls etc.

for example the solution can be of 0.1M HCl, 0.1M NaOH, 0.1M H2SO4 for dropper bottles and 500 ml bottles etc.
The solutions in the containers are intended to be used by students in school laboratories during science experiments.

The sample of labels will help us about getting idea of minimum requirement in the labels.

If possible to provide the samples of few labels I am sure it will be really helpful for lot of users like labtechs in schools.

Looking forward to your response

Thanks

With regards
Nehal Trivedi

Chemical storage and labelling

Hi Kategi,

It is a very good question and we need to find out the answer from the experts.

I had the same question and I tried to find the answer and one close answer (but not complete and clear about the storage) found on safe work australia on http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/whs-information/hazardous-...

on this page 4th question says-

Does the GHS replace the ADG Code?

No. You must continue to comply with the ADG Code and relevant state and territory transport laws for the transport of dangerous goods by road and rail. When in the workplace however, dangerous goods must meet the labelling requirements prescribed under the WHS Regulations. See further information on labelling.

Expert answer from ASSIST will be definitely helpful to all users looking for this answer.

With regards

Nehal Trivedi

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