It is all too easy for storage areas to become unruly—especially when you feel your time could be better spent elsewhere. But it’s summer break now, which makes this a good time to closely examine your storage practices and ensure you are creating a safe environment for everyone in your school.
Below, we share general storage best practices, along with guidelines for storing chemicals used for science classes and cleaning.
General storage practices
- Maintain proper clearance for sprinkler systems. If your school has a sprinkler system, there should be a minimum of 18 inches of vertical clearance between the sprinklers and any stored items.
- Store heavy items no higher than waist level on a storage unit. If you put your heaviest items on the top shelves, you risk the unit becoming top-heavy and collapsing.
- Do not store stacked paper higher than five feet. Heat rises, and if there is a fire, paper that is stacked to the ceiling becomes fuel.
- Take the time to declutter. If you haven’t used an item in a few years, chances are you don’t need it. Use these summer hours to go through your items in storage and get rid of anything that is unnecessary.
- Lock storage rooms at all times. No unauthorized person should ever be entering a storage room.
Chemical storage practices
- Store chemicals inside cabinets with doors or on a sturdy shelf with at least a three-quarter-inch lip to reduce spills.
- Never use food containers for chemical storage.
- Wipe down containers with a paper towel after use, and then safely dispose of that paper towel.
- Maintain a cabinet that is specifically for flammable or combustible liquids, and always keep the door to that cabinet closed.
- Do not prepare food or drink in the chemical storage room.
- Store chemicals according to their compatibility with each other, and not alphabetically.
- Never store chemicals in refrigerators that are also used to store personal food.
Safe practices start with safe storage, so take the opportunity this summer to keep your building in top shape.
For more safe storage tips, check out these additional resources.