Company Name __________________________ Job Name __________________________ Date________
Improper handling of drums and barrels can result in severe injuries. These
include painful back sprains, smashed toes and fingers, or exposure to hazardous
chemicals if the contents are leaking. Proper work practices can minimize your
risk of injury, so consider the following tips.
- Prior to handling the drum, read the label on the drum and look for symbols,
words or other marks which indicate if its contents are hazardous, corrosive,
toxic or flammable. If the drum isn't labeled, consider the contents hazardous
until they are positively identified.
- Look around the drum to see if it is leaking. Before cleaning up any spill,
make sure the substance has been identified. Make sure that you've been trained
in the hazards of the chemical, and have the correct materials for cleaning it
up. Find and review the appropriate MSDS.
- Before moving the drum or barrel, replace missing bungs and/or lids and
secure as necessary.
- Depending upon the contents of the drum, estimate its weight. Determine
whether you can move it yourself or if you need assistance. A 55-gallon drum
can weigh 400-800 pounds.
- If you decide to move it yourself, use a forklift if one is
available, a hand truck or a drum cart that is designed
specifically for drum handling.
- If the drum can be rolled, stand in front of it and place both hands on the
far side of the chime. Pull the drum forward until it balances on the bottom
chime. You can now roll the drum on its chime, being careful to keep your hands
from crossing over one another. You can also lower the drum to the ground for
rolling by shifting your hands to the bottom side of the chime (not where they
will be crushed). Then slowly lower the drum to the floor. Keep your back
straight and bend at your knees. Then roll the drum with both hands. Don't use
your feet or grasp the ends.
- To upend a barrel or drum, a drum lifter bar is preferable. If one is not
available, crouch in front of the drum, knees apart and firmly grasp the chime
on each side. Keep your back straight and use your leg muscles to lift. Balance
the drum on the lower chime, shift your hands to the far edge, and ease the drum
into the upended position.
- Protect your hands, feet, back and face during this work. Safety shoes
should be required when moving heavy drums. Gloves, eye protection, aprons, and
other personal protective equipment may be needed, depending upon the contents
of the drum.
- Most importantly, use material handling equipment whenever possible, and get
help when you need it!
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