How high should 55 gallon drums be stored ?

55-gallon drums are a flexible and practical storage solution used in a variety of sectors. They keep dangerous chemicals, diesel, and lubricating oils, among other things. They are well-liked and simple to use, but they also carry some risks. It is crucial to handle 55-gallon chemical drums safely in order to avoid accidents that could cause fires, injuries, or environmental damage. But how high should 55 gallon drums be stored ? This is the question we will be trying to answer today.

Introduction on 55 gallon drums

55 gallon stainless steel drums are the most popular type of industrial packaging in the world and are consistently strong and long-lasting when constructed. When packaging different hazardous and non-hazardous goods, their consistent design and durability to high temperature and humidity add to their overall strength and predictability. These characteristics also contribute to the steel drums’ outstanding stacking strength.

With years of practical experience, the shippers and users of these containers have attested to their effectiveness. The secure placement and stacking of steel drums can be impacted by a variety of circumstances. The density of the product that is packaged in the drum can vary, which can lead to variable stack height calculations.

How high should 55 gallon drums be stored

If the temperature is below 30°C (86°F), 55 gallon drums can be stacked four high without risk of damage. When the projected ambient temperature is expected to be higher than 30°C for an extended period of time, stacking height should be limited to three high. These stacking recommendations are predicated on the proper palletization, stacking, and handling of drums.

The drums should not be stored on the floor, in order to avoid heat or cold coming from the floor to be transferred to the drum. For security reasons, 55 gallon drums should be stored at least at a height of 5 3/4 inches, or 145mm, a.k.a. the overall height of a standard pallet.

Additionally, the following requirements strictly apply:

  • The height of the ceiling or roof of the room where 55 gallon drums are stored should not be greater than 33 feet.
  • The palletized stack height of the drums for three-high cannot be greater than ten feet.
  • The palletized stack height of the drums for four-high cannot be greater than 13 feet, 9 inches.

The steel drums must be palletized, fitted with pressure relieving connections, and kept in a location protected by a sprinkler system in order to take advantage of their excellent safety and storage qualities.

barrels mentioning how high should 55 gallon drums be stored
55 gallon drums should be stored at least on pallets.

5 Additional Tips for 55 Gallon Drum Storage

Store the drums horizontally

Drums that are 55 gallons in size can actually breathe. The pressure inside the drum can be raised and lowered by the temperature variations that occur during a typical 24-hour cycle. Vapors push out of the bung during the hottest portion of the day; air draws in during the coolest period of the night. Rainwater gathers on the surface of the drum if it is stored upright. Water draws into the drum while it breathes, contaminating the contents. This is possible even with closed drums.

Avoid stacking drums on end with bungs on top to prevent this. Chemical drums should be stored on their sides with the bungs parallel to one another. Drums with side bungs should be stored on their ends or sides, bung down.

The oldest comes first

Chemical drums of product are regularly delivered to staging zones to replace depleted supplies. Drums should not be exposed to extreme weather because this could cause corrosion and failure. Making ensuring that the oldest drums are used first is the best method to do this. This is known as the FIFO principle (first in, first out).

Create a Program for Regular Inspections

Check for leaks and spills in outdoor drum storage sites before they have a negative impact on the environment. Drums that bulge are a sign of pressure buildup. These drums should be removed for inspection and, if necessary, disposal. Corrosion indicators or proof of spills and leaks should be followed up on with an investigation.

Stop Leaks Right Away

A serious issue is a barrel that is leaking in an outside storage area. Outdoor spills have the potential to contaminate the earth and water. It might also move to a body of running water close by. Put a leaking drum in a drum recycling facility. These secondary containment containers have the potential to collect a 55-gallon drum’s full contents, which can subsequently be disposed of properly.

Label Chemical Drums That Are Empty

It is erroneous to believe that after a drum is empty, all safety issues have passed. Chemicals and fumes are still present in the drum. Empty drums should be marked with the product they held and the date they were emptied. This warns staff members about possible risks while handling empty drums.

empty drums with labels
Always label empty drums

Final Words: Prepare an emergency action plan for your drums

You now know how high should 55 gallon drums be stored. But that’s not the only security measure you should take, as we described.

You should always be prepared for the worst. Planning for emergencies and risk assessments may mean the difference between life and death. Every employee needs to be aware of what to do in an emergency. Priority one should be given to coworkers’ safety. Create written emergency plans and distribute them to all site employees. This is how you will stay safe using your 55 gallon drums.