FIBCs (flexible intermediate bulk containers) are highly recommended for storing and transporting large amounts of produce and raw materials. Safety is the most important aspect when using FIBCs as heavy loads can be dangerous to handlers. Precautions must be taken, especially when filling and discharging them. Here are a few safety tips for using FIBCs.
What to look for in FIBCs
Initially, when looking for the most suitable FIBC, ask the manufacturers about the best practices for filling and discharging your produce or raw materials. You must be sure that the FIBC is suitable for different product requirements. Liquids, hazardous materials, foods, pharmaceuticals and flammable substances will have different storage requirements so the right FIBC must be chosen.
FIBCs will need to be tailored to suit the needs of your company. These optional extras include splash proofing or electrostatic protection to ensure complete safety during filling and discharging. They must also be inspected before the process of filling or emptying takes place.
Look for any vulnerabilities in and around the bag and check that the handles and attachments are strong and intact. If there is any sign of weakness, the FIBC should not be used and should be returned to the manufacturer or recycled.
Follow all the instructions and information given to you by the supplier and follow the warnings and guidelines set out to increase safety during handling. If these steps are not followed, it can lead to risk of injuries and machinery damage, which can be dangerous and extremely costly.
Guidelines and safety tips
Always check the openings, nozzles and spouts on the FIBCs before filling or emptying them. Avoid bunching up the loops on one hook when lifting a full bag. Rather attach a horizontal bar to the loops which will keep them vertical and avoid sideways forces on the handles.
Ensure that the forklift and its accessories do not have any sharp edges as these can rip or tear the FIBC handles and fabric. All employees must be equipped with the correct safety gear when working with loaded bags.
The maximum weight restriction of the FIBC should never be exceeded, so do not overfill the bags as this can affect stability and load distribution. If the FIBC falls and cannot stand on its own, the bag should be slightly emptied.
When moving FIBCs with a forklift, keep a clear line of sight. To ensure maximum stability and visibility, the bag should be low and the mast of the forklift should be slightly tilted backwards. Never drag a FIBC across the floor as this can rip the fabric and weaken it.
Following these guidelines and safety tips will ensure that the FIBCs and employees will be protected at all times. Always choose a FIBC manufacturer who can consult with you on the proper use of filling and discharging processes.
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