Chemical Bunds: What Are the Legal Requirements?

The storage of hazardous chemicals is a serious business. One simple mistake could not only impact your business financially but risk the wellbeing of your employees and the environment: sticking to the rules and regulations surrounding chemical storage is an absolute must.

From choosing the correct type of containers to maintaining them fastidiously and handling them carefully, there’s a lot to consider when implementing chemical bunds into your workplace. To help you get your head around the legal requirements surrounding chemical bunds, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide outlining everything you need to know to get started.

Not only that, but we’ll also be covering a range of best practices to help you keep your workplace safe for everyone. Whether you’re looking to refresh your knowledge on chemical bunds or get up to speed on the subject as a complete beginner, you’ll find everything you need to know right here.

What is bunding?

For those completely new to chemical bunds, let’s first recap what they are and what they do. Bunding, otherwise known as a bund, is a widely used system designed to help contain liquids and prevent spillages. Bunding essentially acts as a safety net; if any liquid does escape the container it’s stored in, the bunding is there to prevent it from spilling and causing damage to people, equipment and the environment.

In essence, a bund is a specially designed tray. Containers are placed either on top of or within the bund and, should any liquid leak out, the bund contains it and prevents it from causing damage or injury.

Chemical storage doesn’t always require the use of a bund; whether you need one or not depends on the type of liquid you’re storing, how much you’re storing and where it’s being stored. For example, if you’re storing hazardous chemicals outdoors, bunds act as a vital line of defence against environmental damage should a spillage occur.

There are other factors to consider, too. For example, how long are you planning to store the chemical for? The longer it’s being stored, the greater the risk of a container rupturing – and the greater the need for bunding.

It’s important to note that, although bunds play a crucial role in keeping the environment safe, they shouldn’t be relied upon as your sole method of spill control. Bunds can only do so much: your workplace should still be fully equipped with the correct spill control kit should the worst happen.


So, now we’ve covered the basics, let’s take a closer look at the legal requirements and best practices to stick to when using chemical bunds. First on the agenda, size: how large of a chemical bund do you need?

The guidelines on size are actually quite simple. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), your bund should be able to hold ‘110% of the maximum capacity of the largest tank or drum’ contained within it. This not only gives you an additional safety net should a container rupture completely, but it also means that there’s a little extra room available should foam be required as part of your emergency response.

Incompatible liquids

If you’re storing incompatible chemicals – in other words, chemicals that will react if they’re mixed together – these should always be housed in separate bunds. In the unlikely event that both containers leak at the same time, using separate bunds will prevent a chemical reaction from occurring, keeping your workplace safe.

Maintenance and testing

Maintaining your bunds is every bit as important as selecting the right ones in the first instance. Here in the UK, each and every chemical bund must pass an ‘integrity test’ at least once every three years. Regular inspections are recommended to ensure that the bund is structurally sound and functioning correctly.

Bunds stored outdoors tend to require more frequent maintenance than those stored outdoors because rainwater can accumulate in them. If too much rainwater gets into your bund, there’s a risk that this could mix with leaking chemicals, causing your bund to overflow.

Outdoor-specific bund pallets are available complete with weatherproof covers, which should prevent rainwater from entering your bund and keep the need for maintenance to a minimum.

Bund type

It’s not just the size of your bund that’s important, but the type of bund and the material it’s manufactured from. Most bunds are made from either plastic or steel, and both materials have their pros and cons; plastic can resist corrosive chemicals more effectively, whereas steel bunds are more robust, making them easier to transport using a forklift.

Choosing the right type of bund is vital, so if you’re unsure which route to take, always consult an expert before you buy.

Explore our complete range of chemical bunds today

With more than 30 years of experience and a vast range of IBC and pallet bunds available to choose from – complete with compatible accessories and add-ons – Spillshop is one of the UK’s leading destinations for all things spillage control.

If you’re looking for quality chemical bunds at an affordable price, complete with friendly advice from our team of experts, Spillshop is the place to be. Discover our complete range of chemical bunds online today, or speak to our team to get your questions answered.