Guide to Plastic Drums for
Hazardous Materials

Plastic drums are used in a variety of industries to store and transport hazardous materials. According to a recent publication from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the inhalation of improperly stored hazardous materials is a consistent factor in work-related fatalities for personnel who regularly handle hazardous chemicals and substances.

Similarly, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) identified the proper control of hazardous materials (1910.1200) as one of its most commonly issued citations in 2019 across all workplaces in the United States. OSHA standard 1910.1200 outlines the regulations for proper storage, communication, and identification of hazardous materials in the workplace.

A critical component of achieving regulatory compliance regarding the proper storage of hazardous materials is using containers and storage drums designed specifically for that purpose. Plastic storage drums from Eagle are manufactured in compliance with regulatory guidance and are designed to satisfy the regulations concerning the storage of hazardous materials.

To protect personnel from injuries related to the use of hazardous materials and to achieve regulatory compliance, here is an outline of the different types of plastic drums, a description of their intended use, and a proper maintenance guide.

Plastic Drums

Plastic drums from Eagle can be used to store and transport both hazardous and non-hazardous materials. Plastic drums are available in various sizes and configurations, but all plastic drums from Eagle share certain design features.

All eagle drums feature a blow-molded construction and are chemically resistant. Plastic drums are manufactured in compliance with United Nations (UN) HM-181, which outlines the packaging requirements for the shipment of hazardous materials. HM-181 also requires that plastic drums be subjected to a litany of performance tests to ensure maximum functionality.

Eagle’s plastic drums are approved for use with packaging groups I, II, and III as outlined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These drums also feature UV protection and have a UL 94HB Flammability Rating. The specialized design of these drums makes them ideal for the safe storage, handling, and transportation of hazardous materials. They are also intended for use as spill kit containers and biowaste disposal containers.

Plastic Lab Pack Drums

For transporting non-leaking waste materials or chemicals, plastic lab pack drums are ideal. These drums are designed to hold smaller non-damaged bottles, cans, carboys, and 5-gallon pails of non-leaking hazardous substances. Lab packs are not intended to store free liquids or chemicals.

These drums feature a durable design and lightweight construction that makes them easy to transport and store. In addition to storing non-leaking containers, they are also suitable for storing biowaste and incineration items.

Poly Salvage Drums

Salvage drums are designed to contain damaged or leaking containers of hazardous materials or used absorbent materials contaminated with hazardous substances. These drums are manufactured with a white lid and a metal lever-lock band that ensures secure closure for added security.

Salvage drums from Eagle are pressure tested to ensure maximum storage capability. These drums are available in a variety of sizes and configurations, including 20, 30, and 55-gallon salvage drums with lever-lock rings and 95-gallon drums with metal-bolt rings.

Plastic Overpack Drums

For larger storage items, including non-damaged containers, cans, or drums of non-leaking hazardous materials, overpack drums are ideal. Overpack drums can be used to contain leaking 55-gallon drums safely. By filling the overpack drum with sorbents, these containers can secure other containers that are leaking dangerous chemicals. Overpack drums should not be used to contain free liquids.

These drums feature a screw-on lid that is easy to remove. In addition to the safe storage of larger hazardous materials, these drums are suitable for use with biowaste and incineration items.

The Advantages of Blow-Molded Drums

The high-density polyethylene (HDPE) construction of plastic drums from Eagle offers the ideal balance of density and molecular weight distribution. The advantage of using these drums to store and transport hazardous materials instead of other safety drums is that plastic drums have a high impact strength even in very low-temperature conditions.

Additionally, plastic drums offer chemical resistance to a wide range of chemicals, making them suitable for use with many different hazardous materials. These drums also provide abrasion resistance that prevents gouging and scuffing during transportation. The nestable feature of these drums allows them to be easily stacked for convenient storage.

Find the Plastic Drum Containers That are Right for You

Eagle is the industry leader in workplace safety equipment. We supply industries worldwide with the tools they need to handle hazardous materials safely. To protect your staff and comply with regulatory requirements, take a look at our extensive product catalog, and find the plastic drum containers that are best suited to your storage and transportation needs.

Further Reading on Plastic Drums & More