Hazards of Chemicals and Gases
CORROSIVES (ACIDS AND ALKALIES)
Properties of corrosives make several considerations mandatory in the selection of a storage site.
The building, or area within the building selected, should be of fire-resistant
The floors should be composed of chemical-resistant brick or treated concrete,
be washable, and be provided with adequate drainage.
A well-lit and ventilated area in which there are adequate outlets for water should
A relatively cool and dry environment should be maintained, preventing extremes
of temperature and humidity.
Electrical fixtures should be protected against corrosive mists, and wiring should
be enclosed and covered with corrosive-resistant material.
The nature of the corrosive will determine the manner in which it is stored. Most acids should,
to some extent, be isolated, some from all other chemicals, some from certain other acids and
oxidizable materials such as oil and grease, and some from combustible materials.
Generally, adequate natural ventilation is sufficient in areas where corrosives are stored, that is,
where the containers remain unopened. Where acid is used in work areas where dust or mists
may arise (such as in processing equipment or tanks), some form of mechanical exhaust system
must be provided.
Transporting containers within the plant and dispensing at various points throughout the plant
are two high-risk procedures that may cause an accident. Proper equipment can be readily
obtained, which precludes the necessity of using makeshift or otherwise dangerous methods of
Handtrucks or power trucks used for transporting containers should have lifting parts, or clamps
specially designed for that purpose. If bottles must be transported in the plant or laboratory,
they should be enclosed in safety bottle carriers that prevent breakage if the bottle is struck or
dropped. All containers (especially acid) must be opened slowly and cautiously because of the
possible buildup of pressure within the container. Corrosives may be dispensed from drums by
means of siphons, drum transfer pumps, or by gravity with the use of a special fitting, such as
a self-closing faucet. Under no circumstances should bottles or drums be subjected to air
pressure to expel the contents.