Handling and storing potentially hazardous chemicals in a safe and compliant manner is essential for any workplace. In industrial or commercial environments with heavy traffic or where there is a risk of spillage, containing these chemicals in bunds is a critical safety measure.
What Chemicals Should Be Bunded?
The process involves holding hazardous liquids in a durable, spill-proof container that is designed to contain any potential leakage. This is generally applied to chemicals that are dangerous, corrosive, flammable or toxic. Common examples include acids, solvents, cleaning agents and oils.
In cases where the risk of a spill is particularly high, such as in a laboratory or production environment, the law may dictate that liquids be stored in bunds. Either way, practising safe and efficient bunding for chemicals in high-risk environments is a sensible approach. It doesn’t matter if you’re in an international corporation or a small business, the same rules and regulations apply.
What Are the Different Types of Bund?
The way chemical bunds function will depend on the size and type of liquid being stored. You’ll need to be very aware of which type is best suited to the chemical you’re dealing with.
This first option is based on a containment system of rounded drums that are designed to keep liquids off the ground. Drum bunding is usually made of either plastic or metal as they are both durable and able to contain a range of different chemicals.
While they do provide a strong level of protection, some types of drum bunds are prone to corrosion and should be inspected regularly. Depending on what liquid is being stored, they may also need to be temperature-controlled or covered up to prevent evaporation. The main perk of drum bunding is that it’s easy to move and transport, due to the shape.
Next up is a process that’s generally suited to larger-scale operations. IBC stands for Intermediate Bulk Containers and it’s a system of storing chemicals in large plastic tanks that have a capacity of 1000 litres or more.
These tanks have thicker walls and a much larger capacity than drums, so they are quite suitable for industrial environments. They have an additional layer of protection, as the contents are stored on a pallet that is designed to contain any spillage. The downside is that due to their size and weight it’s more challenging to move them around.
Additional Bunding Accessories
Finally, the last integral part of bunding for chemicals is the accessories that make it all possible. In some cases, it’s simply not enough to store the liquid in a containment unit and you’ll need additional equipment.
Drum Dispensing System
Since drums are a popular choice for bunding chemicals, you may need to invest in a drum dispensing system. This allows for precise and efficient usage of the liquids, as they’re easily fed into the system and dispensed with very little risk of spillage.
These systems are normally made up of a pump or valve as well as any necessary hoses. They’re simple to use and don’t require much manual labour, with the ability to be controlled electronically.
IBC Dispensing Trays
The same principles apply when it comes to dispensing IBCs, but in a slightly different package. You’ll need to invest in IBC dispensing trays, which are basically platforms that allow for the chemical itself to be dispensed from a higher level.
This ensures that everyone is further away from the liquids and reduces the risk of any contact. It’s also convenient for larger quantities, as it takes away the need to manually handle each one. The more convenient and easier it is to use your liquids, the less of a risk you’ll be taking on.
Even though drums are generally lighter and easier to move, you’ll still need a trolley if you’re intending to transport them. Carrying these full drums on your own is dangerous and can easily lead to an accident.
Drum trolleys are a must-have accessory in any chemical bunding process. They typically come as part of a complimentary set and have wheels and handles for easy transportation. Some even come with brakes to ensure they don’t move while you’re working on them.
In terms of materials, you’ll want to go for metal or plastic, as these can support the weight of the liquids and prevent any corrosion. The former is usually more expensive, but it will provide a much longer lifespan and may be worth the extra cost. The latter is more lightweight and easier to use, but it won’t do as much in terms of protection.
The last item on the list is the dedicated bunded shelving. This type of shelving is designed specifically for chemical storage and provides an additional level of protection for the surrounding environment.
These differ from regular industrial shelves in that they have a rounded base, which is designed to contain any spillage. This prevents the liquid from spreading and potentially causing damage to the surrounding area.
Some options may include other functionalities such as temperature control or lighting, depending on the nature of your chemicals. When you have all of these features in place, you can rest assured that your chemicals are being stored safely and securely.