Drum Handling Safety: How To Use Drum Handlers On Forklift Trucks Safely

drum handling safety

In any industrial or warehouse setting, drum handling safety is of utmost importance. Handling drums using forklift trucks presents numerous challenges and potential hazards that must be properly addressed; inadequate safety measures could result in serious injuries, damaged property and serious disruption of operations if done incorrectly. Therefore, learning the correct procedures for using drum handlers on forklift trucks safely is more than simply good practice-it's essential.

In this guide, we aim to outline these procedures while emphasising safety throughout to help create a safer work environment throughout every work environment.

    Overview of Drum Handling Hazards

    Improper forklift frum handling can result in numerous incidents that threaten both personnel and properties, often with disastrous outcomes.

    Types of Incidents Associated with Improper Drum Handling

    • Physical Injuries: Physical injuries associated with improper drum handling can range from minor bruising and sprains to more serious fractures and concussions, often caused by dropped or tilted over drums that were not secured during lifting or moving operations.
    • Chemical Spillages: Drums often store hazardous chemicals, and any breach in them due to mishandling can result in spills containing hazardous substances leaking out and creating an unfavourable environment for health risks including burns or respiratory problems that manifest themselves immediately; over time this could even become chronic health conditions.

    Common Causes of Drum Handling Accidents

    • Inadequate Training: Lack of proper and comprehensive forklift handling safety training can be one of the primary contributors to drum handling accidents. Employees without enough knowledge regarding safety rules and techniques related to drum handling may make more mistakes while handling it than their colleagues who possess adequate information regarding safety protocols.
    • Use of Unsuitable Equipment: Failure to use appropriate tools when handling drums or using worn-out, defective equipment increases the risk of accidents substantially. Using incorrect equipment exponentially raises this risk.
    • Unsafe Work Environment: Cluttered or congested workspaces can interfere with the safe handling of drums, leading to accidents. Therefore, it's crucial that workplaces be kept tidy in order to promote safe drum handling practices.

    How To Prevent Accidents Associated with Drum Handling?

    Wear Recommended PPE

    • Safety footwear is essential to protect your feet from any potential hazards or accidents that may occur while handling drums.
    • A hard hat should be worn when lifting loads at or above head height to protect your head from falling objects.
    • Chemical-resistant work gloves are necessary to safeguard your hands from any harmful substances or chemicals that may be present in the drums.
    • Protective safety goggles should be worn when decanting chemicals that can splash, as they will shield your eyes from any potential injuries.
    • A respirator should be worn when disposing materials that give off noxious vapours or dust to prevent inhalation of harmful particles.

    Ensuring the Forklift Operator is Trained and Qualified

    A forklift operator should be properly trained, qualified, and experienced in handling drums. Their training should cover not only the general operation of a forklift but also specific drum handling procedures such as aligning it correctly before lifting/moving/aligning it; emergency protocols; as well as knowledge regarding emergency protocols in case of an accident. Ensure all certifications remain up-to-date while regular refresher courses take place to keep skills current and sharp.

    Environment Should Be Suitable For Forklifts and Drum Handlers

    This involves ensuring that there are clear pathways, sufficient lighting, and proper ventilation in the area where drums are being moved or stored. By creating a safe working environment, the chances of accidents like spills, tip-overs, or collisions can be greatly minimised.

    Preparing the Forklift Truck for Drum Handling

    Checking the Forklift Truck for Stability and Load Capacity

    Proper preparation of a forklift truck for drum handling is key to avoiding accidents, and one step is checking its stability and load capacity. Check that the vehicle is on level ground, is in good operating condition without mechanical faults, and its load capacity meets or exceeds that of the drum to be lifted; overloaded vehicles could become unstable leading to incidents such as tipping over or dropping loads.

    Lifting and Transporting Drums with a Forklift Truck

    Securely Attaching the Drum Handler to the Drum

    The first step in using a forklift truck to lift a drum involves securely attaching its drum handler. Ideally, this must grip tightly around its container to reduce slippage during transit and is properly aligned and locked into place prior to lifting attempts; make sure this connection has been checked twice to prevent accidents caused by loose or inadequately secured drums.

    Using Appropriate Lifting Techniques to Avoid Accidents

    Once securely attaching the drum handler, forklift operators should employ appropriate lifting techniques to lift it safely. All movements should be smooth and steady to avoid sudden movements that might destabilise either the load or forklift. When transiting, keep the drum close to the ground to reduce potential impact from drops while maintaining centre of gravity in order to decrease risks of tip-overs.

    Observing Load Capacity Limits and Avoiding Overloading the Forklift

    Adherence to forklift load capacity limits is of utmost importance when handling drums with forklifts. Excessive load may lead to instability and lead to accidents such as tipping or dropping of loads. Always verify weight prior to lifting to make sure it does not surpass the forklift's designated load limit.

    Stacking Drums with a Forklift Truck

    Ensuring Proper Stability When Stacking Drums

    Stability is of utmost importance when stacking drums using a forklift truck. Each drum should be gently and securely placed on top of its predecessor to avoid tilting or toppling over, with lower drums supporting any weight placed upon them without deformation or instability, according to their stacking limits set by their manufacturer.

    Utilising Additional Safety Measures Such as Drum Clamps or Racks

    Additional safety measures can significantly increase drum handling safety. Clamps offer a secure grip on drums to help prevent them slipping off forklifts during stacking; racks provide secure storage solutions by keeping drums organised without risk of accidental toppling; both accessories should be regularly examined for wear or damage to ensure optimal functionality.

    Preventing Drum Damage During Stacking Operations

    It is vital that drums remain undamaged during stacking operations. They should never be dropped or forcefully placed upon each other as this could compromise their structural integrity and cause leaks. Use a forklift to slowly place each drum onto the stack, using gentle forklift strokes if possible; and any sign of damage such as dented or leakaged containers should be immediately taken out and evaluated for potential hazards.

    Unloading and Lowering Drums Safely

    Removing Drums from Pallets or Racks Without Causing Injuries

    It's essential to remove drums from pallets or racks safely in order to reduce risk of injury, with safe lifting techniques. Before lifting, always ensure the lifter is secured securely with firm gripping, lifting slowly to maintain control, avoiding sudden movements which might cause the drum to swing or fall over, and keeping personnel at a safe distance during the moving process. This minimises injuries in case unexpected movements arise.

    Controlling the Descent Speed of the Drum During Lowering

    Maintaining control over the descent speed is a critical element of successful drum lowering. Gradual, controlled movements should be employed when lowering it so as to avoid sudden impacts or sudden contact with the ground, using forklift controls as necessary to manage its pace of descent. To do this successfully, ensure you maintain steady gripping of forklift controls for any sudden impacts or sudden contact between drum and ground surface.

    Safely Placing the Drum on the Ground or Designated Storage Area

    Once a drum reaches ground level, it should be safely released from its drum lifter or forklift and placed into its designated storage area. Ensure there are no obstacles present and that its surface is level and stable to prevent tilting or rolling before releasing grip of it; taking these steps will ensure effective handling and reduce the risk of damage and injuries during handling operations.

    In conclusion, drum handling safety should always be of utmost concern in operations involving lifting, moving and storing drums. It serves to minimise risks while protecting employees from possible injury. These guidelines for safely unloading drums from pallets or racks, controlling descent speed during lowering, and placing drums securely onto the ground or storage area are intended to promote safe operations.