Each year, over 500 million bulk bags, or FIBCs, are used around the world. Designed to transport various materials, bulk bags are essential in a wide range of businesses. Together with our overseas partners, BWI designs bulk bags to handle materials in many industries like construction, agriculture, and more.
FIBCA, the Flexible Intermediate Bulk Container Association, wants to ensure that FIBCs used for these materials are stored and shipped safely. To educate the public and address common situations, FIBCA created a set of Safe Handling Guidelines. In this blog post, we will discuss key points about the storage and transportation of FIBCs. Also, don’t forget to adhere to all other applicable regulations, standards, and supplier recommendations. For a full set of guidelines, visit fibca.com.
The Basics of Handling FIBCs
Equipment and devices used to handle FIBCs must be designed for FIBCs and have safety latches. They must be rated for the capacity of the filled FIBC and adhere to approved handling methods. In addition, FIBCA recommends using an approved forklift truck, crane, or hoist to support a filled bulk bag.
When you have the right equipment and have read the handling guidelines, you’ll need to remember these six key points when storing and transporting FIBCs:
- Make sure that any equipment used is free of nails or sharp edges that could damage the FIBC. Building walls, interior van walls, equipment, tools, and other stored items can tear a bulk bag.
2. Make sure your FIBC doesn’t hang over the side of the forklift unless it’s designed and approved to do so by the manufacturer.
3. Make sure your FIBCs are secure during transportation.
4. Avoid sudden lifts and stops with your FIBC during transportation.
5. Never, under any circumstances, approach or repair a damaged FIBC without first removing all FIBCs stacked on top.
6. Never, under any circumstances, allow personnel to stand or place any part of their body under a suspended FIBC. All personnel must be safely clear of any potential hazards when lifting, handling, or emptying an FIBC.
Only stack FIBCs if they are designed to be stacked, you are sure of their stability, and they are stacked using a pyramid or supported method. For the pyramid stacking method, each bag above the first layer must sit on at least four lower bags. Each layer is stacked inwards forming a pyramid structure. For the supported stacking method, bulk bags must be stacked against two supporting walls of sufficient strength. Remember, never approach or repair a damaged bag without removing all bags stacked on top first.
Protect your FIBCs by storing them inside a covered facility or warehouse free from water or moisture that could damage your FIBCs. Make sure to protect your FIBCs from sunlight and harmful UV rays, as this can weaken the strength of your FIBC. As well, make sure to protect your bulk bag from harsh weather, like rain and snow. If they have to be outside, always cover your FIBCs, but remember, outdoor storage is not recommended.
Shelf Life of FIBCs
FIBCA doesn’t endorse any typical shelf life for an FIBC. Each company is solely responsible for any recommendations made on the shelf life of a bulk bag. The best method to determine if an FIBC is still good to use is to regularly conduct performance testing and compare it against new FIBCs of the same type. Remember that some static protective FIBCs with liners have a shorter shelf life, and can even be more sensitive to environmental hazards. Get advice from your manufacturer or supplier on the best storage methods and any shelf life limitations for static protective FIBCs. To find the full FIBC safe handling guidelines, visit fibca.com.
Here at BWI, the safety of our customers is our top priority. Regardless of who you purchase FIBCs from, it is important to use your bulk bags with care and for their intended purposes.
We hope these guidelines will assist in making your handling of forklifts, cranes, and hoists safe and incident-free.
As the leading manufacturer in Canada since 2005, BWI can recommend the best package option for you! For more information, best practices, and product services, visit us at www.bwi-1.com or call 1.403.720.6229.