Throughout most of 2020, hand sanitizer was a hot commodity. Schools, businesses and private homes couldn’t get enough alcohol-based hand rubs (ABHRs), so they stocked up for fear they wouldn’t be able to find them when they needed them.
After a while, however, people stopped using hand sanitizer as frequently as they did in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, many schools have boxes of the substance in storage. Here, CM Regent gives you the information you need about the risks of storing ABHRs for too long, and how you can avoid those risks.
- ABHRs are flammable and can ignite when exposed to an open flame or ignition source.
- If the area in which you store ABHRs is not protected by a sprinkler system, the product could ignite and injure your people or cause damage to your building.
- If ABHRs have an expiration date, you could run the risk of offering a product to students and staff that has reduced efficacy.
How you can stay safe with ABHRs
- Limit the places where you store hand sanitizer. Though some staff members may wish to store this product in their individual cabinets, the best place is in a flammable liquids storage cabinet or room to limit the fire’s spread. According to the National Fire Protection Association Standard #30, you should not store more than 10 gallons of flammable liquids outside such storage areas in an educational institution.
- Ensure caps and lids are tight. This will minimize the amount of vapor that escapes from an ABHR storage container.
- If you have bulk amounts of expired ABHR, consult with a hazardous waste contractor or a local hazardous waste disposal facility. These products are considered flammable liquids and should not be placed in a trash container with other waste.
- Change your purchase orders. If you haven’t done so already, lower the amounts of ABHR you are ordering so you don’t have a surplus in your storage area.
- Store ABHR away from other combustibles. Minimize fuel sources to limit the spread of fires.
- Avoid storing ABHR in locations that experience extreme temperatures or sunlight.
- Store flammable liquids in a detached building, such as a shed. Such a building should be kept a suitable distance away from your main building in case of fire.