What Does Caustic Storage Building Mean?
A caustic storage building is a building that is built to safely contain caustic chemicals—chemical acids and bases that can burn, corrode, dissolve, or deteriorate other substances, including human tissues.
Caustic storage buildings are typically prefabricated and are designed with materials and features that mitigate the danger posed by contact with these chemicals. Features of these buildings include ventilation to prevent the build-up of harmful vapors that many caustic chemicals give off when stored under room temperature and other normal conditions.
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Safeopedia Explains Caustic Storage Building
As caustic chemicals are typically highly corrosive, the buildings that store them must be made with corrosion-resistant materials and provide a secondary containment function—such as a sump—that can hold spills in case a chemical corrodes through its container. Caustic storage facilities must also feature temperature and environmental controls, as many caustic chemicals are temperature-sensitive and may become more hazardous if temperature or humidity conditions cause crystallization, clumping, or increased vaporization of the chemical.
When caustic substances are present in sufficient concentration, the use of caustic storage buildings may form part of an employer’s general duty to provide a safe working environment, and it may also be necessary to meet specific hazardous chemical storage and handling standards.
Caustic storage buildings are used to contain substances that are capable of causing severe damage to human tissues that can potentially lead to death. Some potential harms from these substances include burns and cancer-causing mutation, while respiratory tissues are particularly at risk.
Unlike many other chemical storage buildings, caustic storage buildings are typically not fire-rated. This is because the materials that fire-rated buildings are made with are often vulnerable to corrosion, and thus they do not provide adequate protection against caustic materials. Instead, corrosion-resistant building materials such as polyethylene (a plastic) are used in caustic storage structures.
Caustic storage buildings are an engineered hazard control and are often designed with a specific chemical substance in mind. For instance, there are storage buildings that are specifically designed to provide the features necessary for the safe storage of sodium hydroxide (NaOH), also known as caustic soda and lye. Sodium hydroxide is a strong base chemical and one of the most commonly held caustic substances due to its many industrial uses.
Multiple caustic storage buildings may be necessary if caustics held onsite include both acids and bases, in order to prevent potentially hazardous acid-base chemical reactions. The potential for these chemicals to emit vapors and gases may make interaction a risk if they are stored within an enclosed space.