Filling a bulk bag
The bulk bags should be supported at the top by whichever means is available to support the upper body of the bag (i.e. 4 corner loops, single point lift, stevedore loops). The base of the bag should be on a pallet or on the ground. Ensure that if there is a discharge spout, it is closed prior to filling. If necessary, inflate the liner before filling. When evenly filled, the bag should not be more than twice as tall as the width of the bag for maximum stability. Ensure that the top of the tote bag is closed properly.
Do not exceed the Safe Working Load (SWL) under any circumstances!!! The SWL is stated on a Bagwell label attached to each bulk bag.
Closing a bulk bag after filling
Bulk bags constructed with a duffel top or spout top should be closed properly after they are filled. All Bagwell bulk bags with duffel tops or spout tops have two straps attached to the tops (in red shown in the drawing below). The tops should be folded (goose necked) and tied as show in the drawing. If the bulk bags have an inner liner, the opening of the liner should be tied the same way as the outer duffel or spout top, and tucked inside the bag before closing the outer top.
Lifting a bulk bag
The tines on the forklift should not have sharp or 90° edges. Ideally the edges are beveled, rounded or have protective coverings. All lifting loops, sleeves or other lifting means on the bag should be straight (not twisted). The loops should be vertical, eliminating any lateral forces and stresses on the loops and body of the bag. Ensure that the tines of the forklift are set to the correct width prior to lifting.
There are situations where a forklift or other lifting system is not available or practical. If you are using a crane or hoisting device, it is advisable to utilize a crane adapter. This adapter will allow you to lift filled bulk bags in a safe manner by ensuring the loops remain vertical while the bag is being transported.
Carrying a filled bulk bag by means of a forklift
The forklift must be appropriate for the loads it will need to carry. All filled bulk bags should be raised and lowered smoothly. The forks or tines of the forklift should be horizontal or slightly tilted upward. The bag should be raised far enough off the ground to allow for it to be moved without dragging on the ground. Bring the forklift to a complete stop before raising or lowering the forks. Ensure the bag is sufficiently away from the forklift to avoid it coming into contact with the wheels or mast. Be careful when traveling with loaded bags on the forks, their weight may create an unstable situation. Make certain that the loaded bulk bags do not in any way interfere with the view of the driver. The forklift should be driven in a slow and smooth manner to avoid the bag swaying.
Handling bulk bags with cranes or hoists
When using spreader bars, hooks or other lifting devices, they should have protective covers or rounded edges to prevent cutting of the loops. The hooks should have a large enough radius to prevent bunching or squeezing of the loops. It is preferable that the hooks have integrated latches to prevent the loops from accidentally slipping off the hooks. When the bags are suspended, the loops should hang vertically without any twisting. If using crane hooks, make certain they are of sufficient roundness so as to avoid cutting the loops.
Handling fallen bulk bags
If a filled bulk bag has toppled over, it should be lifted using all the loops available. Simply using one or two loops could seriously damage the bag and risk spilling the contents.
Discharging bulk bags
The most common method of emptying bulk bags is using gravity. If using a flat-bottomed bulk bag, the base of the bag must first be cut. Controlling the flow is done by simply lowering the tote onto the discharged contents. With respect to spout bottom bulk bags, altering the size of the spout can control the flow and lowering the bags onto the discharged contents can stop it. Spout bottom bags should be supported by a safety structure that will support the bag in the event of a loop failure.
No one should stand under a bulk bag while it is being emptied or while it is being suspended. No one should put his or her arm under an unsupported bulk bag.
Stacking and storage of bulk bags
When stacking bulk bags, every effort should be undertaken to ensure that the stack is stable. Stacking along one, two or (preferably) three walls is desired. Ideally, the higher the stack, the more walls that are required for support. If no walls are available, it is best to stack them in a pyramid shape in the manner shown in the middle graphic below. Ensure that if transporting filled bulk bags that they are adequately secured.
Remember, care should be exercised when adding to a stack of bags. DO NOT force the bags into place as this could result in damage to the body of the bag.
When storing filled bulk bags, ensure that they are not left in standing water. Ensure the top closure is properly tied to avoid any moisture getting in. Keep out of the sunlight unless the bags have sufficient UV protection. Avoid extremes of temperature.
When handling bags with UN, TDG, or DOT regulated materials, special care should be exercised. If you have concerns regarding these materials, check with the manufacturers MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets). If you have any further concerns, contact Bagwell Supply Ltd and we will try to assist you.
Disposal of bulk bags
All materials used in Bagwell bulk bags are 100% recyclable, and the inks used for printing on our bags is in compliance with the Canadian Hazardous Products Act, and have minimal impact on the environment. When discarding used bulk bags, recycle them or dispose of them in compliance with all Federal, Provincial and local laws and regulations.
Most common causes of bulk bag failures
Problem #1: The strap just broke.
Causes: Sharp edges or burrs on the fork tines.
Preventative Measures: Regularly inspect the fork tines. If a sharp edge or burr found, it should be immediately ground down so that the tine surface is smooth.
Problem #2: The bag slips off the tines of the forklift, tearing the body fabric.
Causes: Carrying the bag near the fork tine tips, or handling a bag with a large diameter (over 48”)so that the front two lifting straps have to be very near the tine tips.
(A) The forklift driver can elevate the fork tines to prevent snagging a corner of a loose tote bag under the wheels during transport.
(B) Installing a pair of extra long fork tines on the forklift to ensure that it can safely carry large-diameter bulk bags.
(C) Place each bulk bag on a pallet and use the forklift to raise and transport the pallet rather than move the bag by its lifting straps.
Problem #3: The filled bag has a puncture hole.
Causes: Forklift tine contacting a filled bag.
Preventive Measures: In our experience, this is the most common type of problem with bulk bags and we cannot stress enough the importance of forklift drivers being aware of their vehicle and its proximity to filled bulk bags. Ensure that your lines of sight are clear and there is sufficient space to manoeuvre the forklift.
Problem: UV degradation of the bag components (fabric, straps, and thread) as the result of outdoor storage
Causes: The polymer-based fabric, sewing thread, and lifting straps are susceptible to Ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The strength of the body materials can degrade when exposed to the Sun during outdoor storage. UV damage is difficult to observe and quantify, and it can happen even during relatively short-term outdoor storage. Any weakened spot on a component of the bag will reduce the bag’s safety strength, and perhaps lead to a bag failure.
(A) Use UV-treated bags if the bag will be subject to the outdoors for a longer period of time.
(B) Always try to minimize the bag’s exposure to sunlight by covering the bags, empty or filled, with a tarp, or store under cover.