Drum It Up! Steel Drum Industry News, Trends, and Issues

The Dangers of Re-Selling 55-Gallon Drums and Other Industrial Containers

February 8th, 2018 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News, Safety

The 55 gallon steel drum is one of the best-traveled, most-recognized and most-used industrial containers in the world — they are ubiquitous. So, it should come as no surprise that you can get one virtually anywhere. And, in the age of e-tail and on-demand-delivery, it should come as no surprise that people are deal-hunting and ordering industrial drums online. Cutting corners around the OEM and ordering second-hand drums from EBay and Craigslist is incredibly risky and dangerous.

Many of our drums are used to hold chemicals or other flammable materials. If it isn’t properly recycled or reconditioned, but instead just rinsed and allowed to sit, sealed and forgotten for a time being, the fumes and pressure inside can build to an explosion.

Right now, hundreds if not thousands of used and potentially dangerous containers are being sold online.

An article by the Journal Sentinel reported that, “an examination of accidents involving exploding drums and fires found that many occurred in backyards and garages across the country, where buyers weren’t aware of the danger lurking inside.”

And yet, these drums are sold and re-sold on Craigslist or E-Bay with little to no oversight. Some are even being off-loaded without any labels indicating their previous contents may have been dangerous.

No matter how well a used drum has been rinsed and scrubbed, if it was not properly sanitized and reconditioned by an expert manufacturer, it is dangerous. After all, it is not the liquid that was being contained that is dangerous, but the vapors left behind. According to the Sentinel, “As little as two tablespoons of a flammable chemical can create enough fumes in a 55-gallon barrel to explode when ignited by a single spark.”

The Reusable Industrial Packaging Association (RIPA), which represents drum reconditioning companies, is aghast that these containers are being sold without proper oversight and procedure. As leading experts in the business, RIPA is urging consumers and businesses to trust their fellow experts and stick to purchasing industrial containers from OEMs like Skolnik Industries where most reconditioned drums are certified by the UN.

Many of these drums lurking on online shops are being billed as safe, but without proper oversight and regulation there is no way of knowing for sure. It isn’t a risk anyone should be willing to take.

Just because you see 55 gallon drums everywhere doesn’t mean you should buy them anywhere.

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