Storage Safety and Security

Secure the building and storage site

Only you and your authorized employees should have access to the storage area. Keep the storage unit locked at all times, except when it is under the direct supervision of a person authorized for entry. For extra security, install a fence around the storage area and lock the gate. Consider installing security lighting and an alarm system.

Basic Safety Guidelines:

  • Never let anyone eat, drink, or smoke in the storage facility.
  • Store pesticides in their original, labeled containers. Never store pesticides in milk jugs, soft drink bottles, fruit jars, or medicine bottles.
  • Do not store pesticides with or near food, medicine, cleaning supplies, fertilizers, seed, or animal feed.
  • Do not keep gasoline, kerosene, or other combustible materials with the pesticides.
  • Make sure pesticides are not kept near operations which present a fire hazard, such as burning and welding.
  • Do not leave any pesticide container in full sun or next to a heater.
  • Store pesticides on metal shelves with a lip or on wood shelves covered with plastic or chemically-resistant epoxy paint. Leak-proof plastic trays on shelves work well. Do not store pesticides on the floor. Use pallets under large containers/bags.
  • Keep the storage area neat and clean at all times. Keep the area free of debris such as waste paper, rags, or used cardboard boxes, which may provide an ignition source. Clean up any spills immediately.
  • Store dry formulations on the highest shelves. Store liquids and glass containers on the lowest level. This will prevent contamination in case a liquid container leaks.

Warning/Emergency response signs

Place signs indicating “Danger Pesticides – Keep Out – No Smoking” at all storage entries. Consider posting signs in Spanish as well as English. Some state laws require additional signage indicating who is responsible for the pesticide storage and who to call for emergencies. This type of sign should have at least two emergency phone numbers – the owner should not be the sole contact in an accident. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 704 standard provides a way to communicate the potential hazards of storing hazardous chemicals through the posting of a diamond shape or square-on-point shape sign. The sign addresses the health, flammability, instability and related hazards associated with short-term exposures that are most likely to occur as a result of fire, spill, or similar emergency. The 704 standard is applicable to industrial, commercial, and institutional facilities that manufacture, handle, or store hazardous materials. For more details on this standard, refer to the National Fire Protection Association website.

Inventory

Keep an up-to-date written inventory of all stored pesticides, and save a copy in a place away from the storage area. Some states require that this inventory list be updated annually and sent to the local fire department (see Plan for Emergencies). The inventory is very useful in a fire and flood emergency, in settling insurance claims, and in estimating future pesticide needs.

Separation

Read the label or MSDS to find out whether a product interacts with other materials and should be stored separately.

Compiled by Wayne Buhler, PhD.

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