In brief: it is best practice for chemicals to be stored in a secure, dedicated and properly designed and constructed chemical store room.
Chemicals must not be stored in a teaching laboratory. A separate chemical storeroom that is easily accessible to the preparation room is essential to keep chemical hazards controlled. Chemicals should be stored in a secure dedicated storeroom with access restricted to authorised staff members only. This will enable the facilitation of appropriate environmental conditions, ventilation, as well as secure storage of chemicals. The chemical storeroom should not be used as a preparation room.
The chemical storeroom should have a lockable door to prevent unauthorised access, be outward swinging and be able to be opened from the inside without a key. It should be well ventilated, with no windows or skylights, contain suitable shelving/cupboards compatible with the chemicals stored within and have sufficient room to allow for segregation and storage of incompatible classes of chemicals. Science ASSIST is in the process of developing guidelines for science facilities in Australian schools. The guidelines are due for release late 2016.
The Chemicals Store – Design of storage accommodation for chemicals in School Science Departments, by Andy Piggott1 has much useful information. See
https://web.archive.org/web/20160519052335/https://www.ase.org.uk/docume... (As of August 2018, the original document is no longer freely available on the ASE website. This copy made available through the Internet Archive).
Some relevant quotes from the Australian Standards include:
AS/NZS 2982.2010 Laboratory design and construction.
10.4 HAZARDOUS MATERIALS
10.4.1 Flammable liquids
Flammable liquids shall not be stored in any secondary school laboratory. All flammable liquids shall be stored in a separate compartment cabinet or preparation area in accordance with AS 1940.
10.4.2 Chemicals emitting hazardous vapours
Chemicals emitting hazardous vapours shall not be stored in any secondary school laboratory. All chemicals emitting hazardous vapours shall be stored in a separate compartment cabinet or preparation area in accordance with AS 3780 or another appropriate Standard.2
AS/NZS 2243.10.2004 Safety in laboratories Part 10: Chemical Storage states:
4.4 QUANTITIES OF CHEMICALS IN STORAGE WITHIN A LABORATORY
The quantities of chemicals should be restricted to the minimum levels consistent with the operations of the laboratory. Following use, chemicals should be returned to storage.3
AS/NZS 2243.2:2006 Safety in laboratories Part 2: Chemical aspects states:
Chemicals such as controlled substances, drugs, poisons and radioactive substances shall be used and stored so that they do not present a risk to persons in the vicinity and are secure against theft or unauthorised tampering.
Note: In Australia, this would also include high consequence dangerous goods4
We have previously answered a number of related questions see:
Fume Cupboards in Senior Chem Labs: whilst considering the number of fume cupboards, it contains links to building requirement for a number of state jurisdictions.
Legal Temperature for the Chemical Store Room in Schools regarding the optimum temperature
Chemical Store: regarding the ventilation requirements
Chemical stores legislations and requirements: contains several considerations for the chemical store set up and includes links to some jurisdictional guidance on chemical storage
Chemical Storage: with information regarding extractor fan requirements
Chemical Storage: regarding environmental conditions
We also have developed an information sheet regarding security in the school science area that may be helpful: AIS: School science area security
1Piggott, A. 2013. The Chemicals Store – Design of storage accommodation for chemicals in School Science Departments, Gratnells Ltd and Timstar Ltd:UK, ASE website, https://www.ase.org.uk/download/file/fid/10335 (Link updated June 2019)
2 This extract from 'AS/NZS 2982.2010 Laboratory design and construction is reproduced with permission from SAI Global Ltd under Licence 1407-c117
3 This extract from 'AS/NZS 2243.10:2004 Safety in Laboratories, Part 10: Storage of chemicals’ is reproduced with permission from SAI Global Ltd under Licence 1407-c117
4 This extract from 'AS/NZS 2243.2:2006 Safety in Laboratories, Part 2: Chemical aspects’ is reproduced with permission from SAI Global Ltd under Licence 1407-c117