How To Properly Fill And Lift Bulk Bags
Storing FIBCs properly is a crucial best practice for extending the life of your bulk bags while simultaneously ensuring their quality, but it’s also imperative to follow proper filling procedures.
Again, it is important to remember throughout every step in this process just how much weight an FIBC is designed to bear. It may seem like a bag would only handle light loads, but FIBCs are designed to carry up to 4,000 pounds of weight. A potential accident caused by improper filling procedures should be avoided at all costs. Here are some ways to ensure proper filling of your bag:
Start by ensuring the FIBC is visually free from any damage that may compromise its strength or carrying ability. If you see a rip, a loose seam or any other deformity, do not attempt to fill the bulk bag. It should be removed and given a thorough inspection before being used again.
Next, make sure the discharge chute on the bottom of the bag is closed properly in accordance with manufacturer recommendations.
You also want to ensure you are attempting to fill the bag with an approved bulk product. Do not use FIBCs to carry unapproved materials.
As you fill the FIBC, make sure the product is filling the bag evenly and that the bag is remaining stable as it is being filled.
You also need to make sure any device used to suspend the FIBC is rated as capable of bearing the anticipated weight of the bag and its contents and ensure the bag is being suspended as per manufacturer instructions, utilizing all lift loops and sleeves. Additionally, all lift loops should be held vertically to avoid potentially damaging lateral forces.
It is also imperative that all lifting mechanisms, whether they be crane hooks, bars or fork lift tines, are free from protrusions or any other sharp edges that may potentially cut or tear the lift loops on the FIBC. All lifting mechanisms must have rounded edges with a radius of at least five mm.
After filling your FIBC, ensure the fill spout is closed as per manufacturer instructions. When lifting and moving the bulk bag, make sure it’s done so in a fluid motion to avoid tipping or ripping.
Be mindful of the environment when filling your bulk bag, paying particular attention to any electrostatic or flammable concerns.
Control dust appropriately.
Ensure all personnel remain at a safe distance when moving an FIBC.
Follow any other instructions or advisories printed on the FIBC by the manufacturer.
There are also a number of things you should always avoid when filling an FIBC bulk bags:
Never fill an FIBC with a non-approved product.
Never fill an FIBC without verifying the bottom spout is closed.
Never fill an unstable FIBC — or fill one in a way that causes it to become unstable.
Never exceed the rated working load of either the bag or the carrying apparatus that is holding the bag.
Never use a device to support your FIBC that is not approved to do so.
Never suspend an FIBC with a hook without an approved safety latch.
Never move an FIBC with a jerky or sudden motion.
Never attempt to lift an FIBC when the lift loops are not in a vertical position.
Never fill an FIBC within a dangerous filling environment.
Never place any part of your body under a suspended FIBC.
If you follow these instructions and are mindful when working around an FIBC, you will find it’s an efficient and safe way to load and transport bulk materials.
Many of the recommendations for lifting and handling FIBCs are similar to filling recommendations. However, because of the risk of significant injury due to the weight being carried by an FIBC, they bear repeating:
Make sure the FIBC is free from visible damage before moving it.
Be certain any cranes and lifting mechanisms are rated to bear the weight of a filled FIBC.
Only use hooks, bars and fork lift tines that are free of protrusions and have rounded edges with a radius of at least five mm.
Use lifting mechanisms that are approved for lifting FIBCs.
Make sure lifting loops on the FIBC are vertical before lifting to avoid dangerous lateral motions.
Only move an FIBC that is hanging in accordance to manufacturer recommendations, including being held by all loops and sleeves.
Move the FIBC using a fluid motion.
Make sure all sight lines are clear and the area is free of obstructions when moving an FIBC.
Ensure all personnel stand well clear of the moving FIBC.
Follow any additional instructions or recommendations printed on the FIBC by the manufacturer and also ensure you following industry safety guidelines.
There are also a number of things to be sure to avoid when lifting or moving an FIBC:
Never move a damaged FIBC.
Never move an FIBC that exceeds the rated lifting capacity of your lifting mechanism.
Never attempt to move an FIBC with a device that is not approved or designed to move an FIBC.
Never move an FIBC on which the lift loops are not vertical.
Never gather lift loops onto one hook unless the specific FIBC is designed to do so.
Never lift or move an FIBC without lifting every loop or sleeve.
Never lift or move an FIBC using a sudden, jerking motion.
Never attempt to move an FIBC around or over an obstruction.
Never move an FIBC over personnel and don’t let personnel travel under a moving FIBC.
Never handle an FIBC in an unapproved way.
A fully loaded FIBC will be extremely heavy, and it can be dangerous if not handled properly. It is imperative to handle FIBCs with care and in accordance with FIBCA indicated best practices and manufacturer recommendations.