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Case study – storing and rebottling hand sanitiser

With masks, hygiene, distancing and other COVID-19 concerns dominating the news across the country, Safe Work Australia has guidance for small business, including a case study on the use of hand sanitisers.

Carl runs Carl’s Custom Cars, a car yard and workshop, and wants to make sure that hand sanitiser is available at the front desk for his customers and his team. Carl was buying 500mL bottles of hand sanitiser but realises he could save money by buying hand sanitiser in five litre containers and filling smaller bottles (refilling them when empty).

The five litre containers are much bigger than the bottles of hand sanitiser that might be used at home. Fortunately, Carl is already familiar with many of the requirements for using and storing workplace hazardous chemicals because of the other chemicals he stores at his workshop.

He knows he needs to record the hand sanitiser and keep a copy of its safety data sheet in his hazardous chemical register. The five litre containers came labelled according to the requirements for workplace hazardous chemicals.

Because Carl’s going to be filling his own bottles with a hazardous chemical, he checks the requirements for labelling those bottles by referring to the model Code of Practice: Labelling of Workplace Hazardous Chemicals. He sees there are labelling requirements for decanting workplace chemicals, and he must apply these to his small bottles. He prints off his own labels, which include a name for the product (he just uses “Hand sanitiser”), and the flame pictogram.

He also checks the information on the Safe Work Australia website and learns he can’t put the hand sanitiser into a food or a drink container, or one that could be mistaken for a food and drink container, such as glass bottles normally used for beer or cider.

Carl also wants to make sure the chemicals he’s storing aren’t a fire risk. The five litre containers he’s bought could be, especially if he’s storing several of them. Carl decides to only purchase two five litre containers at a time, so that he’s not stockpiling more chemicals than he needs.

He keeps the containers in a flammable liquids cabinet where other flammable liquids are already being stored. If he didn’t have a flammable liquids cabinet, he would have chosen a spot in his storeroom away from ignition sources, other chemicals and anything that could easily catch fire.

Further information

For more small business tips and case studies during COVID-19 go to safeworkaustralia.gov.au and for more help with chemical storage and regulations check out worksafe.qld.gov.au