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How to ensure Bulk Bags are safe to use?

Date: 8th July 2021

How to ensure Bulk Bags are safe to use? How to ensure Bulk Bags are safe to use?

Creating a hazard-free workplace environment in the Bulk Bag sector is of paramount importance. And that’s exactly where the Flexible Intermediate Bulk Container (FIBC) safety guidelines come into play.

The safety standards set in place by the FIBC association help ensure a safer workspace by minimizing the risks of injuries that may occur from bag failure. There are two factors that determine the bag’s capacity which helps workers determine the safest possible way to use the bags.

These two parameters are:

  • Safe Working Load (SWL)
  • Safety Factor (SF)

What is SWL and how significant is it in determining a Bulk Bag’s capacity?

Safe Working Load is the bulk bag’s maximum safe weight carrying capacity. Every bulk bag is designed according to a certain specification and based on the SWL, the features of the bag vary which includes the fabric thickness and the width of the lifting loops. SWL is basically the weight that the bag can safely carry and it is essential to know this figure before putting the bag to use.

How is SWL different from the bag’s Safety Factor?

The Safety Factor is represented as a ratio; for example a 5:1 SF stands for a single-use bag whereas a 6:1 ratio is for a multiple-use bag. The SF therefore determines the number of usages for which the bag’s been designed. Where a single-use bag is designed for a one-time use; multiple-use bags are capable of handling repeated loads. However, it is advisable to check for any damage before a bag is reused.

SF thus determines the usage number whereas SWL indicates the bag’s carrying capacity.

Is there a specific range of SWL in which bags are available?

SWL is a pre-requisite that is decided prior to designing the bags. The SWL varies as per the client’s requirements. But the most commonly asked for SWLs are 500kg, 1000kg, 1200kg, 1250kg, 1500kg and 2000kg.

How to find out the SWL and SF of the bag?

Every FIBC comes with a label that clearly indicates the SWL and SF of the bag. It is highly recommended to always check these factors before the bag is put to use.

What all factors should be taken into account before reusing a bag?

The FIBCA has set guidelines for multi-use bags to ensure the bags are safe to use and minimize any risk of mishaps.

  • Cleaning – removing all foreign materials
  • Reconditioning – replacing web ties, labels and tickets
  • Tracking – origin, number of uses, product used
  • Testing – top-lift testing to determine the frequency and quantity

How to know when a bag is to be rejected/ can no more be used?

Listed below are the reasons which should be taken into consideration:

  • 1. If the lift strap is damaged
  • 2. If the bag is contaminated
  • 3. If there are signs of dampness or mould
  • 4. In case of wood splinters
  • 5. If the printing on the bag is smeared or unreadable

In conclusion, the safety factors of FIBCs are extremely essential and should be looked into to ensure that their usage does not lead to any unwanted accidents or workplace hazards. The Safe Working Load (SWL) and Safety Factor (SF) play a great role in the bulk bag industry and if adhered to, these parameters help avoid any risk of mishaps.