Top Ten Tips for the safe storage of chemical in the home

    1. Always read and follow the safe use, storage and disposal instructions on the product label.
    2. Store harmful household products and pesticides out of reach of children and pets. Store in a locked COSHH cabinet in a utility area or garden store with lots of ventilation.
    3. Store flammable products outside the living space in locked flammable cabinets and far away from places where they could catch fire. Keep flammable products away from portable heaters, electric heaters, central heating boilers and outdoor grills.
    4. Never store pesticides or other household products in cabinets where food is stored, or near food intended for people or animals. Never store pesticides where you keep medicines. Ideally pesticides should be stored in lockable pesticide cabinets.
    5. Always store chemical based products in their original containers so that you can read the label for directions on their use, storage and disposal.


  1. Never transfer flammable liquids, pesticides or other household products to soft drink bottles, milk jugs or other food containers. Children, or even adults, may mistake them for something to eat or drink.
  2. Never mix different cleaning fluids or pesticides. Chemical reactions can occur creating dangerous gases and in some cases exothermic reactions with the potential to cause fires and explosions.
  3. Always dispose of unwanted chemicals particularly petroleum based products and pesticides responsibly to protect your environment. Do not tip down drains, into drainage dykes, rivers or onto the land.
  4. Look out for new products that are less hazardous and environmentally friendly such as Propylene Glycol antifreeze or use safer alternatives. A combination of vinegar and baking soda is good at clearing blocked waste pipes.
  5. Have emergency numbers for fire services, environmental office and your doctor in a convenient place in case of emergency. Seconds save lives.



Controlled Drugs in the cupboard

Over time it is amazing how much clutter you can accumulate. Stuff you will never use or need is salted away in the back of cupboards or in the loft because it’s perceived as too good to throw away or may come in handy one day. We decided to have a sort out and one of the first things we tackled was the medicine cabinet. To be exact this was not a purpose made medical storage cabinet but a wall kitchen cabinet requisitioned for the job.

We consider ourselves quite sprightly for our age but you would not think so from the pile of boxes and bottles of half used drugs (prescription drugs I might add!!) cramming the shelves. Some were unopened as either they were not ultimately required or were over prescribed. I stuffed the lot into a plastic bag and I took them down to the local pharmacy which is what you should do. In talking to the pharmacist I discovered that none of the medicines, not even those in sealed blister packs could be recycled. The law is that they must be destroyed which seems such a waste in these times of austerity. There must be millions if not billions of pounds worth of unused medicines out there.

Burton Medical CabinetsAs she was sorting through the hoard she came upon half a box of a controlled drug. “Ahh” she said. “Did you know this is a controlled drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act?” She hastily added that as it was legally prescribed I would not be raided by the Drugs Squad any time soon. Even so she locked it away in a heftily made floor standing safe pending disposal.

I looked into this later and The Misuse of Drugs Regulations divides Controlled Drugs (CDs) into five schedules corresponding to their therapeutic usefulness and potential for misuse. Licensed pharmacies, primary care hospitals, residential nursing homes and GP’s must ensure CDs are securely stored in accordance with the Misuse of Drugs (Safe Custody) Regulations. This requires that all Schedule 2 and some Schedule 3 CDs should be stored securely in a purpose-built lockable metal drugs cabinet or a similarly secure safe that is fixed to a wall or the floor with internal rag bolts. Apparently not even GP’s or pharmacists can store Schedule 1 controlled drugs which include so called recreational drugs like cannabis.

Approved Controlled Drugs cabinets like the Burton Governor CD Safes and the Burton range of Medical Cabinets meet or exceed the requirement of this legislation and comply with BS 2281. In addition the majority of our Cash Safes also meet the requirements although as with CD cabinets they must be solely used for this purpose so you can’t mix in with cash and valuables.