55-gallon drums are a commonly used storage container for a wide variety of hazardous materials and applications. Many companies require facilities to receive, store and work with these drums as part of their normal daily operation. Safe 55-gallon drum storage and handling is critical to prevent injuries and to comply with OSHA requirements.
What products need 55-gallon drum storage?
The Oil and Gas sector is a large user of 55-gallon drums, distributing various hydrocarbon products such as lubricating oils, fine chemicals and fuels to customers in these containers. Many of these products are flammable and may be volatile when not stored in controlled conditions. Hence the reason for the right 55 gallon drum storage.
Pesticides, fertilizers, and other toxic chemicals are also stored in 55-gallon drums for medium to large scale agricultural and industrial use.
Paint manufacturers and contractors use 55-gallon drums for commercial applications. The characteristics of paint products can also be affected by storage conditions, which may impair their performance. Solvents and cleaners are other products associated with painting, which are stored in drums.
Why is temperature control needed for 55 gallon drum storage?
Liquids are classified according to their properties, which determine the safe handling and storage requirements. Some properties that are specifically relevant to storing liquids in drums are:
Flashpoint – The minimum temperature of a liquid where enough vapor is released to ignite.
Fire point – The minimum temperature at which a liquid will burn in a sustained fire.
Vapor pressure – The pressure exerted by a liquid through the release of vapor under specific conditions.
Low temperatures cause some chemical products to freeze. This change of state while contained in a 55-gallon drum can cause the drum to split or crack. Environmental incidents of pollution may result.
In addition, some products become more viscous and harder to work with at lower temperatures. This may not affect the integrity of the 55 gallon drum storage container, but will reduce the effectiveness of the product for use. Paint is a typical example of a product that does not perform well when too cold.
Storing drums containing chemicals at high temperatures presents even greater hazards. Chemicals at high temperatures give off more vapors, which causes the pressure inside the drum to rise. If no corrective action is taken, drums can burst.
Some chemicals can auto ignite, meaning that they will spontaneously catch fire under the right conditions.
About 55-gallon drum storage
Temperature controlled storage environments for 55-gallon drums mitigate the above risks and ensure safety and environmental compliance.
Wall mounted heaters or air conditioning units keep the internal temperature of the storage container in the specified range. This will ensure that the chemical remains in a usable condition, while preventing extremes that can result in safety incidents.
Climate controlled storage units are also insulated to maximize the energy efficiency and reduce costs.
It is also important to use fire retardant material as well as explosion-proof designs. Different products have different requirements as specified in various OSHA standards.