Storing your AgVet Chemicals – Best Practice

Best Practice if you have AgVet Chemicals stored on farm/property.

In this article we’ll look at the best practice for farm owners, property, facility & amenity managers, hobby farms and others, who keep a supply of AgVet chemicals.

Dangerous Goods regulations vary around Australia so, to keep this simple, we’ll discuss the best practice, rather than regulatory requirements.

Globally Harmonized System (GHS) for users of Hazardous Chemicals and the placarding of Chemical Storage. This is a complicated subject and an excerpt from our courses here will explain this further and provide a couple of decision examples: have a look here

Best Practice requirements for STORAGE will include:

  • Appropriate construction
  • an impervious floor;
  • containment (of a spill) of;
  • good ventilation;
  • separation distances from other buildings, watercourses or drains;
  • secured doors and windows to prevent unauthorised and inappropriate access;
  • placarding & signage at the entrance;
  • segregation of incompatible chemicals;
  • access to running water, first aid and other facilities required by the SDS.
  • Storage of label ‘booklets’ and SDS

Let’s look at each of these requirements and see what they mean to us:

  • Construction: Consider the following:fridge-storage
    • free-standing
    • within another building
    • and annexe to a building
    • sound, and suitably located, not in the path of potential flooding
    • fire resistant
    • protect contents from sun & rain
    • non-absorbent construction materials, steel shelves etc not wood
    • Bunding – floor/trays/containers within containers etc.
    • Safe size and layout to access and work in, chemicals at safe working height
  • The floor: It must be made of a material that is impervious and resistant to chemical erosion. Perhaps concrete or plastic trays/tubs.
  • Containment: Have the ability to contain a spill of at least the capacity of the largest package, plus 25 per cent of the total volume of the stored products. Note that many QA programs have requirements that are greater than that and even up to 110% of the stored volume.
  • Ventilation: Ventilation of the storage area must prevent the build-up of chemical vapours.
  • daves-storageSeparation:
    • 15m from the property boundary,
    • 10m from buildings occupied by people or livestock,
    • 3m from unrelated work areas, offices and amenities
    • 3m from flammable materials and fuel storage,
    • 5m from any watercourse, body of water, drain or sewer.
  • Secured: Doors and windows should not only be lockable but also they should old-truck-storagebe locked when the store is not being accessed.
  • Signage: At point of entry a sign similar to the one on the old fridge above. Also directions to spill kit, PPE, water and first aid kit are recommended to be posted on outside of storage, along with any pertinent contact details and SDS file location.
  • Segregation: Refer to the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for each of the chemicals being stored – are they potentially incompatible and dangerous if mixed/exposed to other chemicals?
  • Access to running water, first aid and check the SDS to see if there are any other specific storage requirements.
  • Storage of Label Booklets & SDS enables workers to revisit the requirements specified for chemicals – we are all aware of the ‘chinese-whisper’ method of transferring knowledge – it does not work. Here at Smith & Georg we have heard anecdotally of a work place where, overtime, the amount of herbicide being added to a 500Lt tank had become the same as that added to a 15Lt backpack!

Have a look at these photos of some of the storage solutions we’ve come across:some-storage-examples