55-gallon drums are a versatile and convenient storage method used in many different industries. They store everything from lubricating oils to diesel and hazardous chemicals. While popular and easy-to-use, they also pose some risks.
News - Drum Equipment - Justrite
Many industries use 55-gallon drums to store and move chemicals, oils and other products. Storing materials close to their point of use is convenient for operations. In the cases of certain machinery and equipment, this means storing some drums outdoors, even if most of the drums remain in a central warehouse.
In 2017, the National Response Center (NRC) received over 24,000 reports of spills into the environment, which equals about 65 spills per day. This number excludes leaks and spills that companies contained on their own sites. The NRC falls under the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
On December 23, 2015, a hazardous waste handler injured his abdomen while moving drums. His company stored drums in a cramped storage area. The worker stretched awkwardly to grab the far lip of a 55-gallon (208-liter) drum weighing 425 pounds (193 kilograms). While moving the drum a few inches to maneuver a dolly under it, he felt a twinge in his lower abdomen. Despite some discomfort, he continued with his activities.
Companies transport, store and dispense many different flammable liquids using 55-gallon drums. Any one of these routine activities has the potential to create an explosive situation.