Safety Tip of the Week – 55-Gallon Drum Safety

With the average 55-gallon drum weighing between 400-600 lbs., manually transporting, decanting, or otherwise handling drums is not only physically demanding, but a potentially dangerous task for any worker.

Risk Factors

At least four serious injuries can occur if a 55-gallon drum is not handled safely: fractures, lacerations, hernias, and back strain.

Common Safety Hazards Associated with Industrial Drum Handling Include:

  • Heavy drums that can’t be handled manually;
  • Confined spaces in which workers are unable to use forklifts or other material handling equipment;
  • Storage of drums in restricted spaces where worker range of motion is severely restricted;
  • Unsafe floor conditions in which slipperiness, clutter, or uneven surfaces can cause trips or falls;
  • Half-filled drums that have the potential to shift their weight while in transport; and
  • Hazardous materials that can leak out of improperly sealed drums.

The size and shape of industrial drums makes the lightest or even empty drums unwieldy to handle manually.

Moving a high number of industrial drums, even when done safely, can lead to over exertion and the musculoskeletal strain associated with manual handling.

Download flyer: STOTW_932-55GallonDrumSafety

Download Spanish flyer: STOTW_932-55GallonDrumSafety_esp

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