Department of Environmental Health & Safety
REVISED JULY 2001
Chemical Storage Guidelines
In addition to eliminating hazards that may arise with the use of chemicals, an
appropriate chemical storage system must be developed. Improper storage will increase
the chances of an accident occurring. Examples of improper storage include storage of
chemicals in alphabetical order or other categories that may bring incompatibles in
contact, storage of flammables in an ordinary refrigerator, and storage of chemicals with
food. The following guidelines can be used to implement a safe storage system for
Rotational Stock System
Limit the amount of chemicals present in the laboratories.
Ensure that all containers have the following:
Proper IUPAC Name
Chemical label with associated precautions
Date the chemical was received
Date the chemical was first used
A first-in, first-out system using the oldest chemicals first should be
implemented. This will avoid degradation of older chemicals and their
Use the following for maximum storage times:
When storing untreated chemicals that degrade to unstable forms
(e.g. peroxide formers), limit the maximum storage time to one
year from purchase or six months from first us.
For other hazardous chemicals, use
recommended storage time or other indications of degradation
(e.g., discoloring of liquids).
Innocuous material (e.g., sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate,
Buffer Solutions, etc.) can be stored indefinitely or until no further
use is desired.
When you have exceeded these periods of time or have no further use of the
chemical, contact EHS at