Proper Handling of Drums

Large Drums are arguably the most awkward, time intensive and accident-prone containers to move. Special handling equipment and tools are necessary to make the job safer and easier.

Avoid Injury When Handling Drums

Material Handlers, the unsung heroes of industry, provide a continuous flow of parts and materials through the workplace to make sure that production runs smoothly. Regrettably, the improper handling and storing of materials often result in costly injuries.

Back injuries are the leading cause of time loss injuries in the workplace

In fact, back injuries account for one in every five injuries and illnesses in the workplace with 80% of these being associated with manual materials handling tasks.

It is no surprise that workers frequently cite the weight and awkwardness of objects that they lift as the primary cause of their injuries.  

Through proper training and education on general lifting principles, work practices, equipment, and controls, workers should be able to spot ways to minimize such accidents.

What about Drums?

*Disclaimer: Please always use safe lifting practices*

Large Drums are arguably the most awkward, time intensive and accident-prone containers to move. Special handling equipment and tools are necessary to make the job safer and easier.

A 55-gallon drum can weigh 400-600 pounds!

  • Read the label on the drum to see if its contents are hazardous, corrosive, toxic or flammable. If the label is missing, assume the contents are dangerous until they can be identified.
  • Check the drum to see if it is leaking. Make sure the substance is identified before attempting to clean it up.
  • Do not move a drum that has missing bungs and/or lids. Replace immediately to avoid spillage, contamination, evaporation, and fumes.
  • Stop and estimate the drum’s weight to determine whether you can move it yourself or if you’ll need a hand from a co-worker
  • Always use appropriate equipment and safe lifting practices when handling drums. 

To Roll a Drum

  • Stand in front of the drum, reach over and grasp the top chime on the opposite side with both hands.
  • When you have a good grip on the chime, carefully pull the top of the drum toward you.
  • When the drum feels balanced, roll the drum with your hands. Be careful not to cross your hands over top of each other.
  • If possible, you can also lower the drum to the ground. Make sure bungs and/or lids are secure. Keep your back straight and bend at your knees. Then roll the drum with both hands.

To Upend a Drum

  • You should always use a drum lift bar. If a lift bar is unavailable, squat 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.
  • Pay special attention to your hands, feet, back and face during this work. Always wear safety shoes while moving drums. Make sure you also have adequate protective equipment for the contents of the drum.