A Guide to Overpack Drums

Overpack drums are a fantastic way of securing your liquid chemicals and oils for transit, providing an extra form of protection against leaks and spills at this potentially very risky time. Here is our guide: 

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What is an overpack drum? 

Essentially, overpack drums are large plastic containers that you put an oil or other liquid-containing drum inside. This provides an extra layer of protection for the contents – if the internal drum leaks or a spill occurs, it is safely contained inside the overpack drum. Similarly, any knocks, abrasions or impacts are taken by the overpack drum rather than the metal drum, which is more easily damaged. 

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What to look out for 

Make sure that, if you are transporting dangerous goods, you use an overpack drum container that is compliant with the United Nations standards for transporting them – this will mean that your goods are secured both domestically and internationally. 

Ensure that the plastic used in the manufacture of the drum is suitably resistant to the chemical you are transporting, and that leaks and spills will not simply react with the overpack drum and cause greater issues. Look for a heavy-duty polyethylene for the majority of common chemicals and oils – for more specialised requirements, make sure to check with your chemical manufacturer to find out if these drums are safe. 

Plastic overpack drums should also be ultraviolet ray-resistant, so they can be transported or temporarily stored outdoors without being damaged by the sunlight. 

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Be sure that the overpack drum is large enough for your chemical or oil drum or container and that there is sufficient capacity to comfortably handle a full leak if necessary. You can find overpack drums that are designed for smaller bottles, cans and buckets with a 76-litre sump, for example, as well as larger versions that are built for drums up to the standard 205 litre. 

The lid of your overpack drum should screw down to prevent it from accidentally popping off if the drum is jostled during transit. Premium models will also incorporate a cell gasket in the lid that helps the seal to close and remain air (and liquid) tight. 

Finally, you need to make sure that the drum is clearly labelled as an overpack drum container, so that throughout its journey it is dealt with appropriately. 

What are the benefits of using overpack drums? 

The biggest benefit of using an overpack drum is that you are massively improving the safety of your working environment. Second to this is that you will be compliant with the United Nations regulations, and thus be able to transport your chemicals around the United Kingdom and internationally safely and in a fully compliant way. Other benefits include being able to move full drums using a forklift truck (not recommended for drums without an external overpack container), cost savings on spills and the necessary clean-up, and added protection for your products when they are on the move. 


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