Five Tips for Using Steel Drums

210 litre UN Tight Head Steel Drum

Steel drums are one of the most popular forms of industrial packaging. Hardwearing, robust and incredibly versatile, they’re used by a diverse range of businesses and industries.

Steel drums are commonly used to store and transport chemicals, fuel, oil, lubricants, food, drink and even hazardous waste. They’re popular in the aviation industry, with transport and logistics companies, food and beverage businesses, and so much more.

If you’re wondering how to get the most out of your steel drums, read on, as we unveil our top five tips for using steel drums safely.

1. Drum Handling Safety

Standard sized 210-litre steel drums can weigh hundreds of kilos when full, so it’s important that anyone handling them knows to handle them safely.

Here are our top handling suggestions for steel drums:

  • Wear appropriate health and safety equipment, including hard hats, safety boots and hi-vis gear.
  • Assess steel drums for any damage or leaks before handling.
  • Don’t attempt to move steel drums by hand.
  • Carry out a rigid health and safety assessment of the drum handling and storage area.

Steel drums are designed for industrial use, and employees should always be trained in proper handling procedures and made aware of any health and safety implications.

2. Securing Steel Drums

Heavy, fully loaded steel drums need to be secured and stored carefully to avoid accidents.

Drums are commonly secured in bulk for storage and transport. The most effective method is to stack steel drums on wooden pallets, ensuring they don’t overhang the pallet and then securing them with plastic wrap, ropes, ties or cables. Before this happens though, steel drums should be checked for damage and to ensure that they’re fully sealed.

When in storage or transport, steel drums should always be kept undercover. They should be kept indoors, where possible, with businesses often using dust and moisture covers to further protect the goods within the drum.

If stored outside, steel drums should be covered with waterproof coverings and kept out of direct sunlight. A protective UV cover may help secure goods and the drum itself for outdoor storage.

3. Transporting Steel Drums

Steel drums weigh around 20 kilos even when empty, and attempting to move them manually could result in injury. Instead, steel drums should always be moved using appropriate mechanical equipment.

Popular transport options include using a dedicated drum trolley or operating a forklift to move steel drums in bulk. When being shipped or stored, steel drums may be stacked on pallets and then transported in bulk using trucks, lorries, shipping containers and aircraft.

Anyone operating industrial machinery should always be fully trained and, where necessary, licensed to do so.

4. Reusing Steel Drums

Steel drums are designed to be reused time and time again. In this respect, they offer businesses great value while also being environmentally friendly.

There are a few standard procedures to follow when reusing steel drums:

  • Avoid cross-contamination by only using steel drums to store similar goods.
  • Always thoroughly clean and disinfect steel drums before reusing them.
  • If a steel drum has previously been used to store chemicals or anything hazardous to human health, don’t reuse it to store food or drink.
  • Assess steel drums for damage or contamination before reusing them.

5. Disposing of Steel Drums

Steel drums have a long lifespan, and if properly maintained and regularly inspected they often last for as long as 20 years.

However, they ultimately have to be disposed of at some point. If they can no longer be fixed or repaired, they should be disposed of by professionals who have the ability to recycle the materials.

Steel drums that have reached the end of their lifespan shouldn’t just be thrown into landfill. Instead, they can be broken down and totally recycled into new drums or new products. This gives the humble steel drum an indefinite lifespan while saving valuable energy and resources.

Contact ITP Packaging Today for More Top Tips for Using Steel Drums 

Robust, hardwearing and versatile, steel drums are a mainstay of the industrial packaging industry. If your company is looking to source high quality, UN-rated steel drums, then the team at ITP Packaging is ready to help. ITP Packaging has a comprehensive stock of steel drums, ready to be shipped today. For more information on using steel drums or if you’re looking to place an order, contact our expert packaging team today.

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