Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Temperature controlled chemical storage

Temperature controlled chemical storage

You should store heat-sensitive chemicals in a refrigerator or freezer. You may also need to use these chemicals in a temperature-controlled area. Heat-sensitive chemicals include:

  • high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide
  • peroxyacetate
  • some epoxies
  • vaccines
  • some medicines
  • some biological chemicals, such as enzymes, proteins and DNA.

When you receive any chemical it may be supplied with a safety data sheet (SDS). The SDS contains information about the chemical, including details of how to store it safely. The SDS will tell you if you need to store the chemical at a specific temperature. If you receive a chemical without an SDS, contact your supplier to find out whether they have to provide one.

Store heat-sensitive chemicals safely

You should:

  • only use refrigerators and freezers that are designed specifically for storing chemicals
  • avoid storing flammable chemicals in refrigerators or freezers, unless they are spark-proof
  • store chemical bottles in drip trays or on bunded shelves.

For walk-in refrigerated units, store drums and intermediate bulk containers on bunded pallets or sump pallets.

Prevent vandalism of chemical fridges and freezers

You are responsible for all chemicals on your site. You can be prosecuted for a pollution incident that originates on your site even if it was caused by vandalism.

Keep chemicals in lockable fridges and freezers. If your storage unit is outside, keep it locked when you're not using it.

Buy an efficient fridge or freezer

Ensure that the fridge or freezer has an alarm to alert you if the temperature rises too high.

Choose the most energy efficient fridges and freezers. You can find guidance on energy labelling on the GOV.UK website.

GOV.UK: Energy labelling

Choose the right size of fridge or freezer to meet your needs. It is inefficient to run a large fridge if you only have to store a small amount of chemicals. You can get small bench-top or under-bench units as well as larger free-standing fridges and freezers.
Switch off fridges and freezers when you're not using them.

Dispose of fridges and freezers correctly

You must use a specialist disposal business for your old fridges and freezers. They may contain hazardous chemicals such as ammonia or ozone-depleting substances.

Find your nearest waste site

Return to Chemical Storage home page

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