July 23rd, 2010
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Employers are responsible for creating a safe working environment by having the proper material handling equipment in place for their employees.  This is especially necessary when it come to handling drums.  Old school manual drum handling methods is hard work, increases the risk of accidents and injuries and should no longer be used.  Rolling drums from pallets or using conventional drum trucks to move or weigh drums are accidents waiting to happen.  Add operator fatigue from a long hot day and the odds are even greater.   Pinched fingers, strained backs, slip & fall accidents and other work-related injuries can cost companies a hundred times more money than purchasing the proper equipment in the first place.  Not to mention the loss of a key employee. In fact, over 95% of all of all drum handling injuries can be eliminated by using the right equipment and properly training employee on its use.  Being pro-active by implementing the proper drum handling equipment in your facility is better than finally reacting to an employee injury.

So where to start increasing safety by cleaning up your work place environment:

If you are using conventional drum trucks, that require the feet to slide under a drum, a hook placed over the drum chime and the operator to break back the drum, is the first place to start.  There are more accidents involving this type of equipment than you can imagine.  What in the world is ergonomic about using 1950’s technology to handle drums?  Not to mention the chime hook slipping and the drum trucks feet poking a hole in the bottom of the drum, resulting in a chemical spill, clean up time and loss of product.  Replace this antique with an EasyLift ergonomic drum transporter that keeps the drum in a vertical position.  EasyLift ergonomic drum transporters are designed to be used by any operator, not just larger individuals.  Models are available with foot pedal lift, DC powered lift, pneumatic and air powered lift.  A good drum transporter should also be required to have true ergonomic casters that minimize the effort require to move the load, not the cheapest caster man has ever made.  Remember, if you purchase cheap drum handling equipment, your employees will most likely not use it, so where is the benefit.

Drum Scales:  If you use drum scales, what is your current method of placing & removing the drum from the drum scale?  Many drum scales are equipped with ramps and employees are either rolling drums onto the scale or back to using the conventional drum trucks to propel the drum up the ramp.   By removing the ramp, the EasyLift drum transporter can now place the drum on the scale.  As an added benefit, the drum is placed softy on the scale which is better over use to keep the drum scale in calibration.  Older drum scales not provided with ramps can also utilize the EasyLift in the same fashion as placing drums on pallets.  One more added benefit: EasyLift ergonomic drum transporters equipped with load cells and digital weight indicator eliminate the need for space consuming floor scales.  Less repetition of the drum between pallets and floor scales increases safety.  Simply lift the drum an inch and you’ve weighed it without moving it.  If your company conducts a physical inventory of partial drum weights, this method is much safer while being an extreme time saver.

Handling drums on ramps or in/out of trucks using Eagle-Grip lift truck attachments:

If your employees are required to move drums up and down ramps, Eagle-Grip lift truck attachments are the most cost effective solution for handling drums on inclines.  This includes unloading drums from trailers or overseas shipping contains which always seem to be inclined.  Most companies use Eagle-Grip attachments for unloading/loading drums from trucks.  Floor loading drums in trailers provides a safer ride during transport and saves money on pallets.  Most all major LTL freight companies have been using these attachments for years, so pallets are not a necessity to ship all drum orders.   If space conditions are not the most ideal for lift truck traffic through the plant, consider a self-propelled Drum Hauler for moving drums one at a time if traveling long distances or if ramp conditions exist.

Ok, what other drum handling conditions need improvement?

Does your company stack empty drums in trailers manually? An empty drum with an EPA inch or less of residual product can easily weigh 50 lb. or 60 lb.  Many trailers permit stacking these drums three high.  So what is ergonomic about this operation?  EasyLift empty drum stacker are designed for stacking drums three high in trailers and eliminate another possible back strain injury.

Dumping drums: Most drum dumpers simply require more handling than others and the more handling required to complete a task, the more fatigue and chance for a workplace injury accident.   For instance, drum dumpers with manual clamps require the drum to be removed from the pallet and placed in an open floor area so the drum dumper can be moved into place for the operator to fasten the manual clamp around the container.  Many manual clamps require the use of adapters, fingers and foot arrangements to secure plastic drums, fiber drums and smaller containers.  In most cases pre-weighing the material is required before dispensing, so we have another handling step in dispensing the material from the drum into another container resting on a floor scale.  After dispensing material from the drum, this procedure is reversed and the partial drum is unclamped in an open area and finally placed back on the pallet.   It’s exhausting writing about it, try doing it daily. Remember, the more handling and bending over back and forth to complete a task, the greater the risk of injury.

Now to complete the same task with a manual travel or self-powered Drum-Hauler drum dumper having a powered clamp equipped with an optional scale.  Drive or push the equipment to the pallet and clamp the drum off the pallet by pressing the buttons on the control box or hydraulic valve controls. Then drive or push the drum dumper to the tank. Elevate and rotate the drum dispensing the contents directly to the tank using the optional scale without the pre-weigh steps. Drive the partial drum back to the pallet and release.  No operator fatigue and a dramatic increase in safety in a fraction of the time.

So in conclusion, if you want to increase work place safety and productivity of your employees, purchase the right equipment to do the job. Why wait for another injury to start looking for a cure.   Call Easy Lift Equipment or your local material handling dealer today to find the perfect solution to your drum handling problems.

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