Working with Chemical Drums

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Types of Drums:

  • Open-head: Used for storing solid materials and have a lid held in place by a bolt ring.
  • Closed-Head: Used for storing liquids. This type of drum has one or more small bungs on top instead of a removable lid.
  • Metal: Most metal drums are steel and are stamped on the bottom with markings that indicate purpose and type.
  • Fiber: These can be used for storing solids.
  • Plastic: Used for certain corrosive liquids.

Handling Drums:

  • Before filling a drum, check for dents: cracks, and rust, particularly around the seams.
  • Read drum label before handling to see contents.
  • Check the condition of gaskets and bungs to insure proper working order.
  • Use mechanical aids to assist in moving drums.
  • If a drum must be moved manually, roll it slowly on its rim.
  • Do not handle drums whose contents are unknown.
  • If a drum has a bulging lid, handle with caution, as a chemical reaction may be happening.
  • Use caution when handling drums exposed to heat or direct sunlight.

Storing Drums:

  • Store in rows in designated storage areas.
  • Leave room between rows for access by equipment.
  • Store chemicals by type.
  • Flammables and combustibles should be stored away from other materials, particularly oxidizers.
  • Drums should always be grounded to prevent explosions.

Drum Leaks:

  • A leaking or damaged 55-gallon drum can be put into an 85-gallon drum.
  • Clean spills according to company, local and state regulatory guidelines.
  • Know your company’s Emergency Response Plan.
  • Read Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for instruction.
  • Know where emergency first-aid facilities are located.

KEMI does not assume liability for the content of information contained herein. Safety and health remain your responsibility. This information is to be used for informational purposes only and not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for proper training, supervision or manufacturers’ instructions/recommendations. KEMI, by publication of this information, does not assume liability for damage or injury arising from reliance upon it. Compliance with this information is not a guarantee or warranty that you will be in conformity with any laws or regulations nor does it ensure the absolute safety of any person, place or object, including, but not limited to, you, your occupation, employees, customers or place of business.