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The DENIOS Guide to Safe Drum Storage

In every industry, a large proportion of hazardous materials are stored in drums. To ensure an efficient production process, drums have to be transported safely to the work place and filling and dispensing processes may also have to be undertaken.

Improper handling can quickly lead to environmental, fire and health hazards. The dangers arise not only from the contents of the drum, but also from the handling of the drums.

By manually transporting, lifting or holding drums, employees are exposed to various dangers. Avoid risks and ensure safe working conditions for employees who handle drums in daily operations.

In the following FAQs, we provide you with useful tips on the storage and handling of hazardous substances in drums.

Which drum is suitable for the stored media?

When storing hazardous materials, it is essential the right material for the stored media is chosen to ensure chemical resistance. In order to be able to select the appropriate drum material, we recommend taking a look at the safety data sheets of the substances to be stored. There you will find all relevant information on storage and transport.

Our media consistency list provides you with useful information on suitable container materials for a wide variety of stored media.

Chemical stored Concentration Steel 1), 4) S-Steel 2) PE 3)
Acetaldehyde ≤ 40 %
Acetaldehyde max. poss
Acetic acid
Aircraft turbine fuel
Ammonium hydroxide ≤ 30 %
Ammonium nitrate saturated
Ammonium solution
Anti-freeze (car)
Battery acid ≤ 78%
Benzoic acid
Bio Diesel
Boric acid ≤ 10%
Brake fluid
Butanol max. poss.
Calcium acetate aqueous
Calcium chlorate, aqueous solution ≤ 65%
Calcium hydroxide
Calcium hypochlorite saturated
Chloroacetic acid ≤ 50%
Chloric acid ≤ 20% ✓, 5)
Chromic acid ≤ 20% ✓, 5)
Citric acid ✓, 5)
Crude oil
Dichlorethylene max. poss.
Diesel fuel
Ferric (II) sulphate saturated
Ferric (III) chloride saturated
Ferric (III) sulphate saturated
Ethyl acetate
Ethyl chloride
Ethyl glycol
Gearbox oil
Glycolic acid ≤ 70%
Heating oil
Hydrazine ≤ 10%
Hydrazine hydrate aqueous
Hydrochloric acid > 37% ✓, 5) ✓, 5)
Hydrogen peroxide ≤ 95% ✓, 5)
Isobutyl ether
Isobutyl acetate
Isobutyl chloride
Chemical stored Concentration Steel 1), 4) S-Steel2) PE 3)
Isopropyl alcohol (Isopropanol)
Magnesium carbonate saturated
Magnesium chloride aqueous
Magnesium nitrate gesättigt
Magnesium sulfate
Menthol solid
Methyl acetate
Methyl acrylate
Methyl chloride
Motor fuel
Nitric acid ≤ 10%
Oleic acid max. poss.
Petroleum max. poss.
Phenol 100%
Phosphoric acid ≤ 95%
Potassium carbonate
Potassium chlorate
Potassium chloride aqueous
Potassium chloride ≤ saturated sol.
Potassium hydroxide, aqueous sol. 50%
Potassium nitrate 50%
Potassium nitrate ≤ saturated sol.
Potassium phosphate ≤ saturated sol.
Potassium sulphate ≤ saturated sol.
Salicylic acid saturated
Silicic acid
Sodium acetate
Sodium bisulphate
Sodium bisulphide aqueous
Sodium carbonate
Sodium chloride
Sodium hydrogen sulphate ≤ GL
Sodium hydrogen sulphide ≤ GL
Sodium hydroxide
Sodium sulphate
Sodium sulphide ≤ GL
Sodium hypochlorite ✓, 5)
Spirits of turpentine
Sulphuric acid ≤ 80%
Sulphuric acid 95%
Sulphurous acid saturated
Uric acid

1) Painted (WN 1.0038) or galvanised (1.0242) steel
2) Stainless steel 1.4301 (V2A)
3) Polyethylene (PE)
4) Galvanised sump pallets are not suitable for the storage of the following liquids: organic and inorganic acids, sodium bicarbonate, caustic potassium carbonate solution as well as other alkali hydroxides, chlorinated hydrocarbons, amine, nitro compounds, acid chlorides and other chlorides, phenol, aqueous alkaline solutions, nitrile.

What requirements must be met when storing hazardous materials in drums?

When storing hazardous materials in drums, a risk assessment must be carried out to determine whether storage poses risks to employees and the environment.

The following criteria must be considered:

  • Properties or state of aggregation of the stored media

  • Quantity of stored media

  • Type of storage

  • Activities during storage

  • Joint storage of different media

  • Working and environmental conditions; facility construction, room size, climate

Based on this, suitable precautions must be carried out to eliminate or minimise the hazards/ The following protective measures should be considered

  • Design of facility

  • Organisation of work processes

  • Provision of appropriate equipment

  • Limitation of the duration and extent of exposure

  • Appropriate hygiene measures; regular cleaning

  • Avoidance of accidental release of hazardous substances

If the stored media is assigned to a water hazardous class, regulations must be observed and a secondary containment system put in place.

For any business storing clean and waste oils, fuels, chemicals or other hazardous liquids, a spill pallet should be used. Designed to catch and contain drips, leaks or spills that can occur from drums and other containers, a DENIOS spill pallet offers a safe solution for drums holding hazardous materials.

Regulations require the sump to hold 110% (or more) of the largest container or 25% of the total volume of liquid being stored, whichever is greater. All DENIOS spill pallets meet this.

It is also essential that the appropriate material of the spill pallet is chosen to ensure optimum resistance to the stored media. DENIOS offer a wide range of models in steel, stainless steel and polyethylene.

What safety precautions should be taken before decanting and filling drums?

If activities such as transferring, filling and decanting are to be carried out, these must be assessed separately in the risk assessment. Follow the below 3 steps to ensure safe drum decanting and filling.

1. Take precautions to retain spills

Prior to decanting and refilling, appropriate precautions should be taken to prevent spills. It is advisable to carry out the work only in areas specially designed for this purpose, which are not located within passageways or traffic routes.

  • For filling from drums, special filling stations can also be used, which simultaneously serve as a storage unit.

  • In order to absorb spills as quickly as possible, suitable absorbents should also be provided.

  • Flexible shut-off barriers or duct covers also serve to prevent environmental damage caused by the release of hazardous liquids

2. Measures to reduce emissions

Measures to reduce emissions are necessary in order to reduce emissions of vapors during work. Ensure good ventilation of the work area and, if necessary, install extraction systems. Care should be taken here to ensure that the drums can be positioned as close as possible to the suction.

3. Protective measures and proper preparation

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) offers safety when unloading and transferring from drums. Use respiratory protective masks when a technical exhaust system is not usable or not sufficient. Protective gloves and protective clothing protect the employee from skin injuries.

  • If hazardous substances come into contact with the skin despite protective measures, suitable auxiliary measures (for example eye rinses and emergency showers) should be available.

  • If work is carried out by individuals, monitoring measures must be taken to ensure the rapid availability of relief measures in case of emergency.

How can drums be safely filled?

In order to prevent leaks and spills during the transfer process, we recommend the use of drum funnels. Manufactured out of polyethylene or steel dependent on the stored media, our drum funnels facilitate drum filling processes and reduce the risk of spills.

We also offer models with overfill protection. Control instruments, such as level indicators, also help prevent overfilling.

How can materials safely be decanted?

For decanting processes, we recommend the use of hand pumps and electric drum pumps suitable for the medium to be pumped. In the case of highly flammable liquids, ex-protective measures must be tested and explosion-proof equipment must be used.

After decanting, carefully remove the pump from the drum to minimize the release of hazardous substances and skin contact.

When decanting materials stored in drums, the general safety precautions must also be considered.

What is needed to mix liquids in drums?

To ensure the correct consistency and viscosity of your stored media, we recommend using a mixer or agitator to mix your liquids. It is essential that the mixer or agitator chosen is suitable for the drum contents.

When mixing liquids in drums, the general safety precautions must also be considered.

How are drums safely transported internally?

Special care must be taken when transporting drums, as hazardous materials can escape uncontrollably if the drum is damaged, which can have catastrophic consequences. Therefore, suitable equipment for safe internal transport should be used to reduce the risks of accidents.

Employees should be equipped with the right tools for handling drums and DENIOS have developed a wide range of products for every drum handling task, be it lifting, moving, turning, tipping or emptying to ensure safety for both employees and the environment.

  • Drum trolleys and dollies are used to transport drums vertically and horizontally

  • Drum lifters allow safe loading/unloading of drums

  • Forklift attachments help to transport drums over long distances

  • Drum tongs facilitate the lifting and turning of drums

Our products for transporting and handling drums are easy to use, meet the highest safety standards and protect employees. Make working life easier!

We are happy to advise you!

Whether on the phone, via e-mail or in person at your premises - we are happy to help and advise you. Get in touch with us.

Free expert advice 01952 811 991

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The specialist information on this page has been compiled carefully and to the best of our knowledge and belief. Nevertheless, DENIOS Ltd cannot assume any warranty or liability of any kind, whether in contract, tort or otherwise, for the topicality, completeness and correctness either towards the reader or towards third parties. The use of the information and content for your own or third party purposes is therefore at your own risk. In any case, please observe the locally and currently applicable legislation.

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