The Dos and Dont's of Safely Handling Bulk Bags

October 19, 2020

FIBCs or “bulk bags” are commonly recognized and accepted as being the most cost-effective form of packaging based on a cost-to-weight transported ratio. Manufactured from woven polypropylene fabric, bulk bags are the ideal packaging solution for storing and transporting up to 5,000 pounds of dry flowable material.

Due to the inherently dangerous nature of moving heavy materials in bulk bags, FIBC safe handling guidelines have been established as part of the Flexible Intermediate Bulk Container Association and Southern Packaging LP’s commitment to safety and education. 

Download Printable PDF Version of the FIBC Safe Handling Guidelines


Before you begin: Always….

  • Review the FIBC Safe Handling Guidelines 
  • Consult with your supplier to select the right FIBC for your product
  • Ensure the FIBC is approved for your product (food grade, UN Certified, static dissipative, etc.)
  • Ensure the product going into the FIBC is compatible with the FIBC and all of its components
  • Ensure the FIBC is free from any damage prior to usage
  • Adhere to the information printed on the bag’s label
  • Adhere to all applicable regulatory and safety requirements


Do’s of Safely Handling Bulk Bags

  • Ensure all forklift tines, crane hooks, bars or handling devices are free of sharp edges or protrusions. Edges must be rounded and the radius must not be below 5mm.
  • Adjust the distance between the forklift tines to the correct width to ensure all lift loops or sleeves are vertical to prevent damaging lateral forces.
  • Maintain a clear line of sight when moving a bulk bag.
  • Hold the bulk bag close to the mast of the forklift and as low as possible from the ground. 
  • Ensure personnel are safely clear of any potential hazards.
  • Use slings and all lift loops when righting an FIBC that has tipped over.
  • Only stack FIBCs that are designed to be stacked, you are sure of their stability and they are stacked using a “Pyramid” or “Supported” stacking method.
  • Protect your FIBCs from sunlight and harmful UV rays.
  • For FIBCs with liners: 
    • Pre-inflate the liner prior to filling for ease of use.
    • Extend liners past the fill spout or duffle when filling
    • Ensure liners are properly attached inside the prevent them from pulling out when the bag is discharged
    • Tie off the liner within the fill spout or duffle per the manufacturer’s closure instructions.


Don’ts of Safely Handling Bulk Bags

  • NEVER suspend an FIBC using fewer lift loops, sleeves, etc. than have been provided.
  • NEVER gather loops to lift with one hook, unless the bag is specifically designed (e.g. stevedore straps) and approved by the manufacturer to do so. 
  • NEVER withdraw the forklift tines without removing all of the load from the loops or sleeves. 
  • NEVER allow personnel to stand or place any appendage under a suspended FIBC.
  • NEVER drag or push an FIBC.
  • NEVER subject an FIBC to sudden lifts or sudden stops.
  • NEVER exceed the Safe Working Load of the FIBC.
  • NEVER fill an FIBC in a way that adversely affects its stability.
  • NEVER fill a bag with combustible materials if the bag type is unsuitable for static control.
  • NEVER fill or empty a Type C bag in the presence of combustible materials unless a secure ground connection has been established.
  • NEVER reconnect a detached ground cable to a Type C bag after filling or emptying has started.
  • NEVER move an FIBC if your line of sight is blocked.
  • NEVER tilt the mast of your forklift forward when handling an FIBC.
  • NEVER approach or repair a damaged bag without first removing all bags stacked on top.
  • NEVER leave a bulk bag exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods of time. 


About Southern Packaging, LP

At Southern Packaging, LP we are a leader in bulk packaging supplies, providing supply chain solutions to manufacturers throughout the United States. With the help of our in-stock bulk bag supply lists and inventory management solutions, we can help you maintain your business and supply chain needs! Contact us today to request a quote or discuss your bulk packaging needs. 

Let’s Connect