It is recommended that the safety rules relative to handling and storage of cable drums at any establishment should follow the guidance given here unless equivalent or better practices are already in force.
- Lifting and transporting devices should only be used within their rated (safe working load – SWL) capacity.
- Professional approval should be sought before any lifting or transporting device is used for a purpose for which it was not originally intended.
- Before transporting any object, first ensure it is properly stacked and secured – taking into consideration its nature, the construction of the transport and the journey to be made. Rough or uneven surfaces create extra hazards.
- Where a load is unusual and likely to need special care, ensure all precautions are properly checked and adequately supervised before the load is allowed to move.
- Only authorized personnel should be permitted to use any lifting or transporting devices. Where there is a legal requirement or when driving certain types of equipment or transport, the personnel should be certified or licensed. Typical examples are fork lift truck and crane drivers.
- The use of unauthorized equipment for handling, lifting or transporting cable drums should be prohibited.
- Under no circumstances should case grabs be used for lifting cable drums.
Handling and rolling of drums
- Always keep a look-out.
- Always push in the direction of travel. Never pull with your back to the direction of travel.
- When pushing drums, wearing stout gloves is advised.
- Wherever possible, use a turntable to change the direction of travel. Turntables should be re-locked after use. Other methods should only be used if they constitute a safe working practice and the operatives involved have been trained accordingly.
- Take special care to ensure drum movement is always under control on a ramp.
- Avoid rolling drums on inclines where the drum cannot be adequately controlled.
- Under no circumstances should a drum be pushed and then released so that it travels uncontrolled.
- Drums marked ‘Roll this way’ should always be rolled in the direction indicated.
- To avoid the operative having to stoop, small drums and bobbins should be rolled with a suitable runner. A runner is an L-shaped bar approximately 1.2 m (4 ft) long with a loop handle at the top of the upright. The cross-piece is inserted into the spindle hole of the drum/bobbin (but should not protrude so far out that it becomes a hazard).
- Ensure that only authorized equipment is used when rolling drums. DIY equipment shall be prohibited.
Battens and lags
The use of strapping or tape to fix battens around drums requires special care. One method of restraining the strapping or tape is the use of a slipping rope strap around the strapping or tape. If it is necessary to remove the strapping or tape then, to prevent lashing or springing ends causing injury, a special tool which holds the two ends of the strapping or tape should be used. Eye and hand protection should be worn when handling or cutting strapping or tape. Protruding nails/staples in timbers or battens should be removed during removal of the battens/lags from a drum.
Cable drums for storage should be securely chocked at floor level, taking into account the following factors. In deciding upon storage areas and methods of stacking, consideration should be given to the evenness and firmness of the ground, the sizes and weights of the drums and the need to prevent any unintended movement when stored. Account should be taken of environmental conditions that may affect the surface of the ground, the serviceability of the drums, battens or chocks and, if applicable, the stability of drum stacks.
A system of inspection should be implemented to ensure that empty drums are fit for their next intended use as drums stored in the open may deteriorate over a period of time. Drums that have deteriorated to a point that makes them unfit for use should be disposed of in a safe manner.