June is National Safety Month, the perfect time for a refresher on the proper way to handle drums and other heavy materials in the warehouse. We’ve put together a list of the top drum handling safety tips. Be sure to share each of these tips with staff members at all distribution centers to ensure a safe, accident-free environment.
1.) Use proper equipment to lift and move drums. “Man-Handling” of drums is NEVER an acceptable practice. Rolling drums on and off pallets, trucks or docks by hand is a sure way to cause an accident. Crushed hands, feet and back injuries are all too common in this situation. In areas where manual movement of drums must be accomplished, a vertical, positive-engagement lifting device is essential for operator and product safety. A capable operator with a proper drum handling attachment can safely load about 80 drums into a truck or container in less than 30 minutes with no manual movement of the drums involved.
2.) Be aware of the danger of unsecured drums on forklifts. Imagine a forklift operator moving a pallet of four drums through a warehouse when suddenly, the operator has to stop short to avoid a collision with other equipment. Without proper safeguards in place, NOTHING is left holding those 4 drums and they will (and do) lunge off the pallet, causing potential injury and product loss. A mechanical forklift attachment for handling drums is a much safer option. Positive engagement devices are available for handling 1-8 drums at a time and those attachments are available to efficiently fit on and be removed from the lift truck.
3.) When using pallets, inspect them carefully first. Stacking drums on old or splintered pallets can cause punctures and leaks. Most pallets are held together with nails that can work their way through the wood and puncture drums, causing leaking and other damage. If you must use pallets, be sure they are strong and level, and do not have any sharp points or edges beneath a drum.
4.) Many products that are stored and transported in drums are corrosive and/or flammable. Always identify the materials in the drum and then find out what precautions should be taken during the material handling process. For example, if you are working with flammable substances, make sure you’re using spark-resistant drum handling equipment for the job at hand.
5.) Train operators on proper drum handling safety. We see far too many accidents that would be easily preventable if workers were following proper material handling protocols. Certain manufacturers of drum handling equipment have a wealth of training and safety materials available on proper drum handling technique and equipment applications. Liftomatic Material Handling even offers on-site drum handling demonstrations to show operators how to safely use their equipment.
At Liftomatic, our main goal is to maximize the efficiency of supply chain operations. This can only be achieved if warehouse staff are aware of the correct procedures for operating our equipment. For more information or to schedule an in-plant drum handling equipment demonstration, please submit a request online or call 1-800-837-6540.
Do you have any other material handling safety tips you’d like to share? Let us know on Twitter! We’ll retweet the best responses.