Getting It Right with Safe Storage
Safe storage capability provides for a method of storing chemicals indicated as harmful on the product label, cleaning materials, and supplies, inaccessible to residents. Under most strata titles, the owners’ corporation usually has a set of by-laws that prohibit the storage of any hazardous material. There has been an increased awareness by strata communities all over Australia who are looking at ways to reduce the risk of safe disposal and storage. As a result, safe storage and handling procedures are carried out according to the manufacturer’s instructions and Safety Data Sheet (SDS).
Storage Sheds for Hazardous Substances
Hazardous Materials include Asbestos, computer materials, gas cylinders, and certain garden chemicals.
Some of the common hazardous Substances that would be found in a household include; Solvent-based paints, pesticides, car batteries, motor oils, ammonia-based cleaners, petrol or kerosene, Mobile phone batteries and Inkjet printer cartridges.
Ensure pesticide chemicals and spray equipment are safely and securely stored. They should be stored in a separate shed and must only be used for equipment and maintenance materials; do not use for food storage.
The area has to be well ventilated and be constructed of fire-resistant materials. Have a drain system and disposal area with a pit nearby so that any excess or spilled materials can be washed down and drained away; it can be used for decontaminating equipment.
There should be a supply of sand or other absorbent material, such as sawdust or kitty litter close to the shed to use in the event of a chemical spill.
A high fence around the shed and disposal area would help keep people away. It should be kept locked and secure. However, this may not be possible if the shed is used for other equipment storage.
Safe Storage of Hazardous Waste
Hazardous waste should always be kept in their original containers and should be checked regularly for leaks or corrosion. Prominently display weather-resistant labels that indicate the name of the hazardous waste.
Protective clothing and equipment should not be stored close to chemical substances. The storage shed should be inaccessible to unauthorized persons, clearly identified as a hazardous waste storage area, and designed to prevent secondary containment.
Ensure all employees are adequately trained on the handling and storage of your hazardous waste. This should include emergency response training.
Keep your hazardous waste contingency plan up-to-date, including current contact information for the facility owners or operators as well as procedures to follow in the event of an emergency.
Owner corporation should consider the use of Hazardous Waste treatment and disposal facility to treating hazardous wastes; this will help reduce their toxicity potential threats to public health or the environment.
LPG Safe Storage
As part of a strata community’s duty of care, it is recommended they make safety a priority by having an annual independent safety audit by a qualified third party. These inspections and report identify risks at your building and advise how they might be controlled.
Some professional tips for safe storage of LPG cylinders include;
- The cylinders used for household purposes should not be filled with automotive LPG.
- Do not connect or disconnect cylinders in the vicinity of a naked flame.
- Do not use LPG in windy conditions
- Always keep cool and away from flames, sparks and heat.
- Do not store or use petrol, flammable liquids or aerosols near LPG cylinders.
- Ensure valves are turned off firmly when not in use.
Important tips to remember
Negligent disposal of harmful waste could carry a penalty a maximum of $1,000,000; this could be accompanied by a prison sentence of up to seven years. Ensure that you are taking extreme care to hazardous materials and do not store chemicals into any unlabeled containers.
Many of these hazardous products contain harmful elements which can be dangerous to dispose of, making them unsuitable for normal rubbish disposal. It is also illegal to tip them down the sink, toilet, or gutters, or to bury them in the ground. They can be potentially harmful to the environment as well as life-threatening. Effective risk management is also the responsibility of the owners’ corporation and not just individual lots owners and tenants. They should be responsible for the safe storage of all hazardous material used in common areas, such as gas for communal barbecues or chemicals for the swimming pool.