Laboratory Chemicals, in-use vs storage

Discussion created by robplonski on Mar 13, 2018
Latest reply on Mar 21, 2018 by lmontville

Fellow fire community. I've run up against a conundrum and I'd like some input by others who either actively support laboratories or had supported them in the past. I'm getting a lot of push back from facility management and the users of chemicals - they want to consider chemicals "in-use" if they are left out overnight (or even the weekend)  and may be used the flowing day. However  sometimes these chemicals aren't used for days at a time or may only be used for a few minutes every other day... 


As you know, NFPA 45 applies to laboratories. There are quantities that are allowed to be in use, and quantities allowed for storage. Similarly, chemicals are not allowed to be stored in hoods whatsoever.


At what point is a chemical no longer considered "in-use"? Is it when you walk away from it, go home for the day, or your research evolution (which may last months) has concluded? 


Before you answer, I'd like to point out that NFPA 30 has some information in this realm as it relates to process areas. In process areas, chemicals are limited to whats required for a 24-hr use or what can be used by the end of the shift. NFPA 30 also has allowance for chemicals needed for maintenance to be out of storage for a few days at a time. This means that chemicals other than those for maintenance, have to be put away at the end of the shift.


So, by association, should chemicals in laboratories be put away at the end of the day or end of the shift like it says in NFPA 30 for process areas?


I appreciate your responses and look forward to the follow on discussion!