Bulk Bags in Motion – Lifting Them Safely
February 18, 2015
Lifting and transporting bulk bags is a serious undertaking that should always be done with the full knowledge of proper, safe methods based on the specific bag, contents and equipment being used. The Flexible Intermediate Bulk Container Association (FIBCA) has developed comprehensive guidelines for safe FIBC handling, available on FIBCA; but, considering the importance of this issue to our industry, we are highlighting some of the most common precautions to be taken when any bulk bag is lifted.
Lifting by Forklift or Crane or Hoist – Most of the safe handling procedures for moving bulk bags with a forklift truck also apply to using a crane or hoist. When using a forklift, crane or hoist, always ensure that:
- The equipment has a rated capacity sufficient to support the filled FIBC.
- The forklift tines or crane hooks or bars do not have sharp edges or protrusions. Tines, hooks or bars must be of adequate size with rounded edges at least the thickness of the lift loops or sleeves used to support the bag.
- All lift loops or sleeves are vertical without any twists, overlaps or knots to prevent damaging them.
- The bag is suspended according to the manufacturer’s instructions using all lift loops or sleeves provided.
- The bag is held close to the forklift’s mast and as low as possible, with the mast tilted back at an appropriate angle. FIBCs should never be dragged nor touched by forklift wheels.
- Any pallets used are of appropriate size and the bag does not overhang the sides.
- The forklift driver or crane/hoist operator has a clear line of sight before moving the FIBC and all personnel are safely clear of the area.
“Lifting a bulk bag by fewer than the full number of lift loops or sleeves it was designed for can place undue stress on the bag material, causing damage and possible failure, while making the load unstable and potentially hazardous to personnel.” – ABC Polymer Bag Experts