Industrial drum handling has many potential risks without the right safety precautions

A standard sized drum can weigh up to 270kg, so handling drums can be very dangerous.

This includes handling drums such as transporting, stacking and decanting drums. Hence, it is not a good idea to let workers manually handle drums since it is risky and inefficient.

However, even the most dangerous handling can be safe with the right safety guidelines.

Here are some tried and tested tips on how to handle drums safely.

What are the hazards of drum handling?

Although there are many handling equipment, not all are easy to operate especially when handling filled drums.

Refer Handling Drums 101

Hence, it is important to know all the risks of drum handling procedures.

  1. Industrial drums comes in different sizes and shapes which makes it difficult to handle.
  2. Confined spaces can restrict workers to operate equipment.
  3. Slippery, messy or uneven surfaces can endanger workers handling drums.
  4. Half-filled industrial drums are unstable to transport.
  5. Hazardous materials can leak out of improperly sealed drums.
  6. Workers may experience over-exertion and strain from manually handling drums.

Suggested read: 8 Dangerous Risks of Handling Drums

Drum Handling Safety Tips

Workers must always handle heavy drums with the right handling equipment.

Thus, be sure that the handling procedures are specifically designed for the operation such as drum trucks, forklift attachments or other drum handlers.

Moreover, mishandling industrial drums can endanger workers and drums, waste valuable contents or pollute the environment.


Prevent the Potential Risks

Handling industrial drums can be very risky, especially those with hazardous or flammable contents.

Therefore, to guarantee that all risks are avoided, proper precautions must be followed at all times.

  1. Handle drums correctly by referring to the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet)
  2. Workers must wear proper PPE when handling drums
  3. Make sure the environment has enought lighting
  4. The facility layout must provide adequate space for handling drums
  5. Floors and surfaces must be clean, neat and tidy.

Choose the Right Drum Handling Equipment

Material handling equipment are mainly for standard materials such as boxes, pallets and non-hazardous materials.

That is why industrial drums must have their own specialized equipment so workers do not risk themselves when handling drums.

However, there are many types of drum handlers available in the market each with their own set of functions.

Model Function
Transport Lift Tilt Rotate
Cradler / /
Carrier / / /
Handler / / /
Drum Porter /
Drum Truck / /
Gripper (forklift attached) / /
Positioner (forklift attached) / / /
Rotator (forklift attached) / / / /
Drum grab (forklift attached) / /
Overhead Clamp (forklift/hoist attached) / /
Drum lifter (forklift/hoist attached) / /
Rotator (forklift/hoist attached) / / / /

Therefore, you must first identify what your main operations include. Either transporting drums, stacking drums, lifting drums or decanting drums.

Then, it will be easier to choose preferably from a reliable MHE supplier.

Handle Drum Trucks the Right Way

Drums can be hazardous but handling them the right way can save you

However, handling industrial drums needs the right equipment and proper operation.

From drum-handling forklift attachments, to ergonomic drum lifters and drum porters, Bullmax manufactures a full selection of MHE for any drum handling application.

Suggested read: 12 Types of Drum Handlers for Better Work

So get in touch with our friendly customer service team for customized options fit for your facility.


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