Drums Safety Transporting Guidlelines and Forklift Attachments

Drums can often be extremely heavy or hold hazardous material inside.  Therefore, if not done correctly, transporting drums can be extremely dangerous. For example, a 55 gallon drum that is filled with water weighs almost 500 pounds—and this is besides the weight of the drum itself.  If your work environment requires transporting drums that are heavy or drums that contain hazardous material, below are some guidelines you should follow.

#1 Educate Workers

Make sure all employees are educated regarding which drums are unsafe for them to transport personally without proper equipment. Drums exceeding certain limits should be required to be transported by special transporting equipment, and not by man power alone. Employees should be trained in checking the drum labels to ensure they are not transporting any type hazardous material without following proper transporting policies. Employees should be taught how to properly use transporting equipment safely.

Some of the ways you can help educated employees includes setting up warning signs near drums requiring special transporting requirements so they are warned that special transporting equipment is required. Another consideration is developing drum handle instruction manual that educates the employees.  They should always be required be tested on their reading.

#2 Use Proper Drum Transporting Equipment


  • Drum Lifter

    A drum lift is capable of gripping the top of a drum and lifting it up for transportation.  Drum lifters can be transported with either a special drum truck lifter, which requires someone to manually haul the drum with manpower.  It can also be lifted with a material transporting vehicle, like a forklift truck that has the proper attachment (read more about attachments below).
  • Forklift Attachment Drum Lifters

    Drum TruckA drum truck is basically a special type of dolly cart. However it is specially made to help transport a drum barrel safely.  There are a wide variety of drum trucks available, and they are made to fit various drum sizes.  Once the drum is properly secured to the drum truck, they can be tilted back, and most drum truck models can safely be transported because they have four wheels.  If the material shouldn’t be tilted back, there are special drum trucks made for transporting with the drum barrel only never being tilted.

  • Forklift AttachmentIf you need to transport drums from far locations quickly. Then using a drum forklift attachment might be the best consideration.  There are a wide variety of drum attachments available. You can click here to learn about the different drum forklift attachments we offer.  We offer a few different options, including a forklift drum lifters, as well as grippers.  Adding the attachment to a forklift now allows a forklift truck the ability to safely transport drums safely with hardly any manual labor conducted by the forklift operator.

#3 Follow OSHA on Material Handling

OSHA was established by the government to handle safety in work environments.  They have set guidelines and restrictions to be followed on transporting material, including drums.  You can go here if you would like to read their instruction manual on how to safely transporting drums.  OSHA’s training manual teaches on proper drum inspection prior to transporting, the proper transporting equipment that can be used, as well as how to handle drums that are leaking or open.  Following proper OSHA guidelines is mandatory for all work environments in the United States, but helps encourage and support a safe work environment.

About Kristen Pryor