From food ingredients to chemicals to fuels, the 200-liter or 55-gallon drum in the United States is an ever-present shipping solution to transport and store many commodities globally. The humble steel drum has many benefits, such as its high levels of standardization and very high levels of recycling. It’s important for business managers to understand the risks of handling drums and storage. In this article, we provide solutions to mitigate these risks.
The handling of drums can pose physical risks to workplace safety. It’s important to minimize the use of manual labor and use equipment like drum lifters and tippers to reduce the chances of workplace accidents. Such equipment is designed with ergonomic principles to prevent injuries from overexertion when handling drums. It is important to ensure comprehensive training is given to workers to utilize the proper work practices when using this equipment. Only with proper training can equipment dramatically improve workplace safety.
Using the right handling solutions can increase productivity and free up time for more core production activities. For example, using a drum palletizer will greatly improve unloading and moving drums internally in the workplace compared to using more manual processes. Using pumps and tilting units can also increase the pouring or removal of liquids from each drum.
Storage of drums
As many drums contain liquids that are hazardous, it is important to consider preventative measures in how drums are stored. A bunded storage unit should be considered, as these units have a retention basin to collect any accidental spillage. Storage should be well-ventilated and free from external contaminants such as dust and water. It’s also important that safety signs are displayed for the benefit of staff. An example of signs such as no smoking, listing hazardous substances, and the risk of slippery surfaces is important information that should be communicated. It is also important that the storage unit be locked to prevent unauthorized access by untrained staff or the public.
Recycling empty drums
Empty steel drums can take up a lot of warehouse space, and if not planned correctly, improper storage can occur when there is an overflow of too many empty drums. One solution is to use a drum crusher to compact the drums into steel discs, which means they will take up much less space. This machinery can crush drums to a ratio of six to one, which means recyclers can load more compacted drums onto their trailers, which means a lower carbon footprint in collecting the drums for recycling.
If your company is still using manual drum handling techniques it is time to consider the benefits of safety, efficiency, and savings that investment in equipment can bring to your operations
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