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FIBC Safe Handling Guidelines

Filling and Emptying

Every year more than 500 million bulk bags or FIBCs are used around the world. They’re used to transport a wide variety of solid materials that you see or use every day. And FIBCA, the Flexible Intermediate Bulk Container Association wants to ensure that FIBCs used for these essential materials are filled, emptied, stored, and shipped safely.

To educate the public, FIBCA has assembled safe handling guidelines to address some common situations, but you’ll still want to consult your FIBC supplier regarding your specific application and handling environment. A full set of guidelines can be found on, but in this video, we’ll focus on the key points related to the filling and emptying of FIBCs.

Before filling an FIBC, you need to ensure that it’s approved for the product, like hazardous materials, food, or pharmaceuticals. And you need to make sure it’s appropriate for the filling and emptying environment, considering things like electrostatic concerns in flammable or explosive environments.

Any electrostatic concerns must be addressed before filling or emptying an FIBC. You’ll need to consult your FIBC supplier, the current IEC standard, and experts in the field. Don’t forget to adhere to all other applicable regulations, standards and supplier recommendations.

Before handling an FIBC. You need to ensure that all devices are designed for FIBCs, have safety latches, and are rated for the capacity of the filled FIBC. Handling devices such as forklift tines, crane hooks, or bars must be free of sharp edges or protrusions. Edges must be rounded to have a radius of five millimeters or greater. When you are sure you have the right FIBC and the right equipment, you’ll need to remember these seven critical points when filling and emptying FIBCs:

1. Never suspend an FIBC using fewer lift loops or sleeves than provided.

2. Never gather loops to lift with one hook unless your FIBC is specifically designed to do so.

3. If you’re lifting with one hook or slings, other lifting devices must be used to keep the loops vertical and prevent damaging lateral forces.
4. Never, under any circumstances, allow personnel to stand or place any part of their body under a suspended FIBC. All personnel must be safely clear of any potential hazards when lifting, handling, or emptying an FIBC.

5. Never exceed the safe working load or rated capacity of an FIBC.

6. Ensure that every FIBC is filled evenly and stable.

And 7. Close every FIBC as instructed by your supplier. It’s critical to the performance of the FIBC.

FIBCA is dedicated to providing you with tools to help you safely use FIBCs and we hope these guidelines will assist in making your filling and emptying process safe and incident-free now and into the future. Visit, where you’ll find the full FIBC safe handling guidelines and a list of FIBCA members dedicated to providing you educational resources like these.