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* Drum & Barrel Safety *

    In the typical workplace drums are used to store material, to ship it, to dispense it for use, and to store wastes. All these drums must be moved from time to time. Like most things, there's a right way to move a drum-and several wrong ways to do it. This week's Tail Gate Safety Topic discusses the safe ways to move a drum. Help prevent injuries by moving drums safely.

At least four serious injuries can occur if a drum is not handled safely:

    All these injuries are painful and require a long time to heal. By taking a few precautions before you attempt to move a drum, you can help prevent these serious and painful injuries. Before you move a drum, put on a pair of thick gloves. The gloves will help protect your hands. Also follow this preliminary checklist:

    There are four ways to "break," or initially move a drum from its standing position. These are pulling, pushing, or combinations of pulling and pushing, the drag/pull method and the push/pull method. Pulling is necessary when drums are grouped closely together. Pushing is used when there is ample room to work. The drag/pull method is used when there are tight spots in the area you are "breaking" the drum. The push/pull method is used when drums are located beside a wall.

    To pull the drum, grip the near chime with one hand and the far chime with the other. Brace your foot at an angle across the bottom chime. Your hands and feet should form a straight line. Check the position of your fingers for possible pinch points. Now you are ready to pull back on the drum.

    To push the drum, place your hands near the chime at shoulder width. Move your shoulders low and close to the drum. Slowly push forward with your legs until you feel the drum reach its balance point.

    When using the drag/pull method, place your hands at the near position at shoulder width. Brace the drum with your foot to prevent it from sliding, and shift your weight to the rear foot. Pull and drag it a few inches to the left then to the right.

    To use the push/pull method, use one hand to pull the far chime. Use the other hand to push against the wall.

    If a drum starts to fall, get away from it as quickly as possible. If the contents spill, follow your worksite's procedures for reporting a spill.

    If two people are moving a drum, both people can push the drum, pull the drum, or one can push while the other pulls. When rolling the drum, it is safer for one person to roll it.

To roll a drum, in this case to the left, follow these steps:

When you reach your destination, place the drum in its position using the reverse of the push, pull, drag/pull, or push/pull method.

* Safety Can Be A Barrel of Fun *

We welcome comments about this article, and your requests for future topics.

    If you have a specific topic you would like to see covered here or one you may need for your company, please send an Email to our Tail Gate Safety Topics editor, Dave Miller at demiller@pacificemployers.com or to peinfo@pacificemployers.com. Thanks!

Copyright 2004 by David E. Miller