Unlike the smaller poly woven bags where it is intended for an average person to be able to lift and handle manually by themselves, the Bulk Bag (also known as FIBC, Tote Bag, Mega Bag, Jumbo Bag, Super Sack, Tonne Bag) is designed with a typical safe working load (SWL) of 1000 kgs of product to be operated by heavy materials handling equipment. If it is not handled safely, the filled bulk bags can be a hazard in your workplace.
1. Do Not Exceed the Safe Working Load (SWL)
Each bulk bag has been designed to a specific capacity rating. You should not exceed this safe working load (SWL). You will increase the possibility of bag failure if you pack significantly more than its intended capacity. Unless otherwise specified, each bulk bag is recommended for one time use. Re-use of the bulk bag would be at the users’ own discretion as we cannot ensure if the integrity of the bulk bag is still intact after the first use or trip. There could be compromises to the integrity of the bulk bag during transportation that is out of your control (which may or may not be visual) such as abrasions, tears, strength reduction from UV degradation that will affect its capability to handle the same loads safely on repeated use. Always do a complete inspection of the bulk bag loops, body, discharge spout and seams before use.
2. Lift the Bulk Bags As Designed!
The design of the bulk bags is to be lifting by all the loops uniformly at the same time. If the bulk bag is a 4 loop construction, you must lift it by all 4 loops. There are no exceptions for this unless the bulk bag was specifically designed to be handled otherwise. Another important safety concern is that the bulk bag is designed to be lifted vertically in the direction of the loops (up and down) and not horizontally (side to side) such as in the case of a toppled bulk bag that you want to upright. This lateral force will damage the bulk bag and render it unstable for subsequent use. This will cause danger to the surrounding people and property from a bag failure. For forklift handling, you must make sure your forks are directly aligned above the bulk bag loops to ensure a direct vertical lift. Check for sharp edges on your forks that may damage the lifting loops. For crane lifting or hoist, do not gather all 4 loops to be lifted at a single point (i.e. on a single hook). This will cause the lateral force as described above. You must use appropriate attachments (such as bulk bag adapters, etc.) to ensure the loops are lifted in a vertical direction as designed. For multi-story lift heights, we carry bulk bags that have an extended and reinforced lifting loop design. This will help to reinforce against the lateral movement at higher elevations during the lift. Understand your bulk bag design and use according to its handling instructions. In most cases the bulk bags fail due to improper handling by the operator.
4. Be Mindful of Your Environment
Observe your surroundings for hazards and use your judgement when storing, moving, filling and discharging the bulk bags. Clear the immediate area of people and obstacles. Do not stand underneath a suspended bulk bag for obvious reasons. Fill and discharge your product in a controlled, steady and evenly manner to prevent the toppling of the bulk bag and injuring people around it.
4. Use Proper Materials Handling Equipment
Make sure your materials handling equipment is designed for lifting the filled load of your bulk bag. The most common and available equipment for most businesses are forklifts and crane trucks or hoists. Whether you are packing 500 kgs, 1000 kgs or 2000 kgs in your bulk bag, you must ensure your equipment is adequate for that capacity.