The Ultimate Guide to

FIBC Safety

Introduction

This guide is intended to assist buyers and users in selecting the right FIBC and using it safely. We want to ensure your bulk bags are a fit for your industry, are filled and discharged properly, handled correctly, and stored and transported the right way.

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FIBC Safety

Chapter 1

What are FIBCs?

An FIBC (Flexible Intermediate Bulk Container) is commonly referred to as a 'bulk bag.' These are intermediate bulk containers with a body made of a flexible woven material typically made from polypropylene, or PP, that can be coated or uncoated. A coated bag incorporates an interior or exterior layer of the PP that is laminated to the woven PP to reduce moisture intrusion or sifting of the contents. The uncoated FIBC has no PP coating.

 

 

Chapter 2

Filling and Discharging

To make sure your bag is appropriate for your filling and emptying environment, refer to the static protective guidelines and bulk bag options on the following pages - especially if you are using your bags in flammable or explosive environments.

  1. Devices used to handle FIBCs must be designed for FIBCs, have safety latches, be rated for the capacity of the filled FIBC and adhere to approved handling methods.
  2. Never suspend an FIBC using fewer lift loops, sleeves, etc. than have been provided

    Bulk Bag Loop Options
    You have several options to choose from when iBulk Bag Loop Typest comes to bulk bag loops. Loops are configured based on your equipment for filling and the process for how the bags are discharged. Discharging or emptying a bulk bag is half of the equation here and it helps to influence how your filling process will operate.
  3. Never gather loops to lift with one hook, unless the FIBC is specifically designed and approved by the manufacturer for doing so.
  4. If lifting with one hook, slings or other lifting devices must be used to keep the loops vertical and prevent damaging lateral forces
  5. Ensure all forklift tines, crane hooks, bars or handling devices used are free of sharp edges or protrusions
  6. Edges must be rounded to at least the thickness of the lifts loops, sleeves, etc., used to support the FIBC. The radius must be a minimum of 5 mm
  7. Take appropriate measures with regard to dust control
  8. Never exceed the safe working load and the rated capacity specified for your FIBC.
  9. Don't fill an FIBC to a level that adversely affects its stability and/or exceeds the height to width limitations set forth in applicable industry standards or regulatory codes. A maximum ration of 2:1 is typical, however current industry standards or regulatory codes should be referenced
  10. The fill spout or duffle of the FIBC must be closed in accordance with the FIBC manufacturer's instructions
  11. All personnel must be safely clear of any potential hazards when lifting, handling or emptying an FIBC. Never allow personnel to stand or place any appendage under a suspended FIBC
  12. FIBC Liners

    • Pre-inflate liners prior to filling for ease of use.
    • Extended liners past the fill spouts or duffle when filling.
    • Ensure liners are properly attached or secured to prevent them from coming out during discharge. Tie off liners within the fill spout or duffle per the manufacturer's closure instructions.

    Always check with your FIBC manufacturer that your static protective FIBC is fitted with the correct anti-static liner before handling. The chart below is only a general guideline. Always reference the current IEC standard for all of the requirements.

     

    Inner Liners and FIBC

    Combinations that are permissible and not permissible in hazardous explosive atmospheres

    FIBC Inner Liner
      Type L1 Type L1c Type L2 Type L3
    Type B Not Permissable Not Permissable Permissable Permissable
    Type C Permissable Permissable Permissable Not Permissable
    Type D Not Permissable Not Permissable Permissable Not Permissable

     

     

    Choosing the Right Top for Your Bulk Bag

    Bulk Bag Tops and Filling Options

    Each type of bag relates to the type of product you are transporting and how you plan on filling the bag. For example, if you need a bag to accommodate dust when it’s being filled, let your manufacturer know. There are solutions specifically for filling dust heavy materials without making a mess in your facility. In this instance, you need a more narrow spout like a standard fill spout or cone spout. If you’re using a shovel instead of a bulk bag filler, there’s a solution just for those needs too. Look for options like the full opening duffel or open top. 

    Filling Options

    Static Protective FIBCs

    Type A Fabric Bulk Bags

    Type A bulk bags are made of polypropylene, calcium carbonate, and a UV additive to protect against and prevent erosion if they are stored outside. If you ask for a standard bag you're going to get Type A. These bags are used to transport non-flammable products and have no static protection or special electrostatic safety features. Because of this, these bags should not be used to transport combustible materials or in flammable or combustible environments.

     

    Type B Fabric Bulk Bags

    Type B bags are made from standard polypropylene material like Type A bags. Type B bags are different because they prevent sparks. Type A bags can develop a static charge when someone brushes against it in a dusty environment creating a spark. A spark in the wrong environments leads to an explosion. Type B bags don't spark. These bags have a dissipate or anti-static coating to prevent a disaster like an explosion.

     

    Type C Fabric Bulk Bags

    Type C bags, or conductor bags, are woven carbon filament that you have to ground whenever you're filling or moving the bag. The bag must be grounded in order for it to be used safely. Type C bags are used to safely transport flammable powders and when flammable solvents or gases are present around the bag. Type C FIBC bags are used to transport is highly flammable material.

     

    Type D Fabric Bulk Bags

    Type D bulk bags, or antistatic bulk bags, are made from antistatic fabric that prevents sparks that don't require grounding. The fabric used in these bags is a complete static dissipator, meaning it automatically dissipates that static charge in the atmosphere. These can be used to transport flammable powders and around flammable solvents or gases. Do not use on surfaces that have water or grease on it.

     

    Static Protective FIBCs

    A static protective FIBC is a bag that incorporates design features to protect against the hazards created by static electricity. An evaluation of the materials used, machinery, and process is required to determine the static discharge hazard and the level of static protection required.

    A static dissipative FIBC is a type of static protective bulk bag made from fabric that allows static electricity to discharge safely. Static electricity may be dissipated to ground via conduction through a grounding cable, or may be dissipated into the atmosphere via a process called air ionization or corona, without the need for grounding.

    The term “antistatic FIBC” is sometimes used as a synonym for static protective FIBC. It is also used to describe FIBCs that offer some protection against static electrical hazards, but do not incorporate the charge dissipation mechanisms found in bulk bags that offer full static protection.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: Always ensure that the FIBCs are tested and labeled in accordance with IEC 61340-4-4 Ed. 2.0 and that the type of static protective FIBC being used is appropriate for the flammable or explosive environment.

    There are primarily three types of bulk bags for controlling the static charge associated with handling processes:

    Type B Fabric Bulk Bags

    A type "B" bulk bag is constructed from insulating fabric with a breakdown voltage of less than 6kV. This provision prevents the risk of energetic sparks and propagating brush discharges which can ignite dust-air mixtures and flammable gases and solvent vapors. Type "B" bags may be used in the presence of the combustible dust with MIE greater than 3mJ, but only in the absence of flammable vapors of gases. Type "B" bulk bags are sometimes called antistatic bags, but it should be noted that type "B" bags only provide limited protection against static electricity and they do not provide any mechanism for dissipating static charge.

    • Used safely to transport dry, combustible powders (MIE < 3mJ)
    • There are to be no flammable solvents or gases present around the bag
    • DO NOT USE to transport flammable products (MIE < 3 mJ)

    Type C Fabric Bulk Bags

    A type "C" bulk bag is constructed from fabrics having inter-connected conductive threads and designed to prevent the occurrence of incendiary sparks, brush discharges and propagating brush discharges. The bag must be electrically grounded during filling and emptying.

    • Used safely to transport flammable powders
    • Used safely when flammable solvents or gases are present around the bag
    • DO NOT USE when ground connection is not present or has become damaged

    Type D Fabric Bulk Bags

    A type "D" bag is constructed from the static protective fabric that includes interwoven static dissipative threads and designed to prevent the occurrence of incendiary sparks, brush discharges and propagating brush discharges. Type D FIBC's do not require grounding.

    • Used safely to transport flammable powders
    • Used safely when flammable solvents or gases are present around the bag
    • DO NOT USE when the surface is contaminated or coated with conductive products such as water or grease
  13. Make sure your FIBCs are tested and labeled in accordance with the current version of the IEC 61340-4-4 Standard and that the type of static protective FIBC and liner being used are appropriate for the flammable or explosive environment.
  14. If FIBCs are to contain combustible or flammable powders or products with flammable solvents or gases, it is essential that all conductive objects and materials (personnel, plant, machinery and tools, etc.) be properly and securely grounded at all times.
  15. If Type B or Type D static protective FIBCs are required, reference the IEC 61340-4-4 Standard for requirements; these bags do not require grounding.
  16. If it has been determined that Type C static protective FIBCs are required, reference the IEC 61340-4-4 Standard for requirements; these bags must be securely grounded before and during the filling and emptying process according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  17. Never begin filling or emptying a Type C static protective FIBC with, or in the presence of, flammable or combustible materials unless a secure ground connection to the FIBC has been established.
  18. Never re-connect a detached ground cable to a Type C static protective FIBC after filling or emptying has started. Stop the process immediately and allow charge to relax before any further handling of the FIBC. This may take several hours or days. The process of charge relaxation can be accelerated using suitable ionizers (static eliminators).

 

Chapter 3

Handling

Use a forklift truck, crane or hoist with a rated capacity sufficient to support your filled FIBC. Devices used to handle FIBCs must be designed for FIBCs, have safety latches, be rated for the capacity of the filled FIBC and adhere to approved handling methods.

  1. Ensure all forklift tines, crane hooks, bars or handling devices used for lifting are free of sharp edges or protrusions.Edges must be rounded to at least the thickness of the lift loops, sleeves, etc., used to support the FIBC. The radius must be a minimum of 5 mm
  2. The distance between the forklift tines must be adjusted to the correct width to ensure all lift loops or sleeves are vertical to prevent damaging lateral forces.
  3. Maintain a clear line of sight when moving an FIBC. Never move the FIBC if your line of sight is blocked.
  4. When handling by forklift, hold the FIBC close to the mast, as low as possible with the mast tilted back to an appropriate angle. Keep the FIBC clear of the floor so there is no contact with the floor or the wheels of the forklift. Never drag or push an FIBC. Never tilt the mast of a forklift truck forward when handling an FIBC.
  5. Never suspend an FIBC using fewer lift loops, sleeves, etc., than have been provided.
    • Stop the forklift before raising or lowering the FIBC.
    • Never withdraw the forklift tines without removing all of the load from the loops or sleeves.
    • Never subject an FIBC to sudden lifts or sudden stops.
  6. Never gather loops to lift with one hook, unless the FIBC is specifically designed and approved by the manufacturer for doing so. If lifting with one hook, slings or other lifting devices must be used to keep the loops vertical and prevent damaging lateral forces
  7. Always ensure personnel are safely clear of any potential hazards and never allow personnel to stand or place any appendage under a suspended FIBC.
  8. Safe Storage and Transportation Using and Pallets

    Ensure any pallets used for handling are:
    • Free from nails or protrusions that could damage the FIBC.
    • Of appropriate size so the FIBC does not overhang the side, unless specifically designed and approved to do so by the manufacturer.
  9. Always use slings and all lift loops when righting an FIBC that has tipped over
  10. Static Protective FIBCs

    Crane hooks, forklift tines, or other devices used as a means of grounding Type C static protective FIBCs during handling shall be kept clear of any substances (paint, oil, dust, etc.) that might otherwise impede the connection with FIBC lift loops.

 

 

Chapter 4

Storage & Transportation

Bulk bags are made to store your materials safely and effectively. This section details how to accomplish both goals without negatively impacting your storage and transportation processes.

  1. Only stack FIBCs if they are designed to be stacked, you are sure of their stability, and they are stacked using a “Pyramid” or “Supported” stacking method:
    • Pyramid Stacking: Each bag above the first layer must sit on at least four lower bags. Each layer is subsequently tiered inwards forming a pyramid structure.
    • Supported Stacking: Bags are stacked against two retaining walls of sufficient strength
  2. Never approach or repair a damaged bag without first removing all bags stacked on top. Beware of water or moisture contamination inside storage facilities.
  3. Always try to store your FIBCs inside a covered facility or warehouse that is free from any water or moisture contamination that could come into contact with your FIBCs and damage them.
  4. Beware of sunlight & UV rays: Always protect your FIBCs from sunlight and the harmful effects of UV rays. Exposure to UV rays will weaken the strength of an FIBC.
  5. Safe Storage and Transportation Using and Pallets

    Ensure any pallets used for storage & transportation are:
    • Free from nails or protrusions that could damage the FIBC.
    • Of appropriate size so the FIBC does not overhang the side, unless specifically designed and approved to do so by the manufacturer.

      When storing and transporting your bulk bags, pallets have the potential to make your life a lot easier, or a lot harder. There are specialty pallets made just for bulk bags that aid in stabilizing your heavy loads. We've named our bulk bag pallet, Firmaload™.

      Stability

      Bulk Bag stacking

      FirmaLoad™pallets are designed and constructed with stability in mind for safely stacking even the heaviest bulk bags.

      Cost Effective

      These bulk bag pallets are lightweight, reducing shipping costs and lifting-related injuries. Their compact size saves inventory space and shipping costs

      Time Savings

      FirmaLoad™bulk bag pallets are easier to load and lighter to move with more than enough strength to support the heaviest of bulk bags.

      Safe and Sanitary

      FirmaLoad™ pallets are ISPM 15 exempt, saving you the cost of chemical or heat treatment and import/export compliance costs.

  6. Beware of inclement weather:
    • Always protect your FIBCs from inclement weather (rain, snow, etc.)
    • Exposure to inclement weather could significantly weaken the stregth of an FIBC.
  7. Storing FIBCs outside is not recommended, but if you do, you should always cover them with some type of material that will prevent their exposure to UV rays and inclement weather. However, FIBCA does not support or endorse this type of outdoor storage, and this would be solely at your own risk. There is no guarantee that FIBCs stored outside and unprotected from UV rays & inclement weather will be safe to handle.
  8. Adequately secure FIBCs during transportation and avoid subjecting an FIBC to sudden lifts or sudden stops during transportation.

 

Bags as dependable as we are.

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BulkSak

Work with a knowledgeable supplier who understands your requirements and your product process.

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FIBC Safety