FIBC Safe Handling Guidelines
Handling by Forklift, Crane, or Hoist
Every year, more than 500 million bulk bags or FIBCs are used around the world. They’re used to transport a wide variety of solid materials that you see or use every day and FIBCA, the Flexible Intermediate Bulk Container Association, wants to ensure that FIBCs used for these essential materials are filled, empty, stored and shipped safely.
To educate the public, FIBCA has assembled safe handling guidelines to address some common situations, but you’ll still want to consult your FIBC supplier regarding your specific application and handling environment. A full set of guidelines can be found at FIBCA.com, but in this video, we’ll focus on the key points related to the handling of FIBCs by forklift, crane, or hoist. Don’t forget to adhere to all other applicable regulations, standards and supplier recommendations.
Before handling an FIBC, you need to ensure that all devices are designed for FIBCs, have safety latches, and are rated for the capacity of the filled FIBC. Any handling devices such as forklift tines, crane hooks, or bars must also be free of sharp edges or protrusions. Edges must be rounded to have a radius of five millimeters or greater. When you’re sure you have the right equipment you will need to remember these critical points when handling FIBCs by forklift, crane, or hoist.
First, let’s start with some safe handling guidelines when using a forklift. Never suspend an FIBC using fewer lift loops or sleeves than provided. Always ensure the forklift tines are positioned so the lift loops are vertical to prevent damaging lateral forces. Always ensure that any pallets used are free of nails or protrusions that could damage the FIBC, and that your pallet is sized so the FIBC doesn’t hang over the side unless it’s designed and approved to do so by the manufacturer.
When moving an FIBC with a forklift, keep the FIBC close to the mast with it tilted back at an appropriate angle. Never tilt the mast forward. Never move if the line of sight is blocked. Keep FIBCs clear of the floor and forklift wheels. Avoid sudden lifts and stops. Never push or drag an FIBC. Stop the forklift before raising or lowering an FIBC. Never withdraw the forklift tines without removing all of the load from the loops or sleeves.
Second, let’s cover some safe handling guidelines when using a crane or hoist. Never suspend an FIBC using fewer lift loops or sleeves than provided. Never gather loops to lift with one hook unless your FIBC is specifically designed to do so. If you’re lifting with one hook, slings or other lifting devices must be used to keep the loops vertical and prevent damaging lateral forces. Slings and all of the lift loops must also be used if you need to right an FIBC that has tipped over.
Regardless of how you’re handling your FIBC, never, under any circumstances, allow personnel to stand or place any part of their body under a suspended FIBC. All personnel must always be safely clear of any potential hazards.
If you’re using type C FIBCs, you’ll need to address any electrostatic concerns before handling. Ensure handling devices used for grounding are clear of any substances — paint, oil, dust, etc., that might impede the connection with the FIBC lift loops. Consult your supplier, the current IEC standard, and experts in the field.
FIBCA is dedicated to providing you with tools to help you safely use FIBCs and we hope these guidelines will assist in making your handling with a forklift, crane, or hoist safe and incident-free now and into the future, visit FIBCA.com, where you’ll find the full FIBC safe handling guidelines and a list of FIBCA members dedicated to providing you educational resources like these.