One of the most hazardous tasks when handling chemicals is getting the first few litres out of a 20 litre container. As if the job of lifting and balancing the 20kg+ of weight in the drum is not risky enough, if you’re not careful the first few litres will glug and gurgle their way out of the drum, splashing undiluted chemical onto you, contaminating your clothing and potentially poisoning you.
Amazingly, it’s one of the few areas of agvet chemical handling and use that the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA, the government regulator) has little or no control over.
Here are a few tips that can decrease the risk to you:
- Buy your chemicals in containers that are easier to handle, for example:
- Screw-on spouts can make it easier to pour liquid without having to hold the drum close against the measuring jug, giving you more space to hold the drum at the ideal angle for pouring. Pouring into a container on an elevated surface can help too.
- Drum pumps can be used to draw liquid from the drum without the need to lift and tip the drum. Be careful as some chemicals can degrade the seals in the pump; and be careful to avoid cross-contamination if using the same pump for different chemicals.
- Tipping frames will remove the risk of trying to manipulate the drum at the same time as lifting the weight of the full drum.
Ask your chemical supplier where you can obtain some of these devices; or use your search engine to find them on the net.