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Safe storage of chemicals at construction sites

A spate of near misses where aerosols stored in toolboxes have become projectiles has highlighted the issue of storing hazardous chemicals safely on construction sites.

Although storing a few hazardous chemicals (aerosols) in small containers (toolboxes) is convenient, the toolbox design may not meet the required storage conditions for these chemicals. Toolboxes protect tools from dust, moisture and humidity, but they lack appropriate ventilation (air flow) and offer no protection against damage from other tools.

To decide on appropriate storage for hazardous chemicals, consult the product safety data sheet (SDS). Tips for storing aerosols and flammable products such as spray paint, small plumbers gas torches and plumbers’ glue include:

  • store upright in an area where containers will not be damaged by being knocked or impacted (throwing a hand tool into a toolbox can puncture an aerosol can)
  • keep away from heat sources such as engine, motor or fan exhausts and direct sunlight, and from ignition sources such as welding or hot-work activities
  • lids should be tightly secured, fittings such as trigger nozzles removed and caps fitted to protect against leaks and spills
  • keep away from corrosive chemicals that can rust, damage, or weaken metal containers
  • ensure storage areas are well ventilated allowing for any released gas or vapours to disperse
  • if a container is damaged, stop using it and dispose of it safely (seek professional advice from manufacturer or from SDS).

Remember, always read the directions on the container label/SDS and use appropriate personal protective equipment.

Further information

For more information visit Managing risks of hazardous chemicals in the workplace code of practice 2021 (PDF, 1.24 MB) and other Queensland codes.