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Curtin University
Health, Safety and Emergency Management

Storage and Handling

General Principles

The following general principles apply to the storage of most chemicals:

  • DO NOT STORE IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER. Ensure incompatible substances are appropriately segregated;
  • Minimise the quantities stored;
  • Ensure the containers are sound (properly sealed and free from damage);
  • Use appropriate storage vessels (such as a flammable cabinet);
  • Store heavy items between knee and shoulder height;
  • Protect items from falling (use of a barrier or a lip on shelving);
  • Ensure there is adequate natural and/ or mechanical ventilation to prevent accumulation of gases, mists, vapours or dusts;
  • Locate removed from:
    • Direct sunlight and/ or rain;
    • Heat or ignition sources;
    • High energy sources;
    • Areas occupied by people (offices etc);
    • Critical resources (computer resources etc).


Chemicals can react with each other to cause fire or the release of toxic gases. As a result, it is essential that incompatible substances are appropriately segregated, view Chemical Segregation chart.

Segregation shall be achieved by firstly following the specific storage requirements detailed on the Safety Data Sheet.

Secondly, where more than one class or sub-class of Dangerous Goods is stored, they must be segregated in accordance with the following table:

Table 1: Segregation of Dangerous Goods (reproduced from the Western Australian Explosives and Dangerous Goods (Dangerous Goods Handling and Storage) Regulations 1992.)


  • L - Substances which are liquids
  • S - Substances which are solids
  • 0 - No general segregation required
  • 1 - Segregate by a distance of at least 1 metre
  • 3 - Segregate by a distance of at least 3 metres
  • X - Segregate in separate depots that are at least 5 metres apart or segregate by a distance of at least 5 metres with use of a screen wall.