Made in the UK

  1. Home
  2. Blog
  3. Challenges of Drum Handling in ATEX Environments

Challenges of Drum Handling in ATEX Environments


Handling drums in explosive environments poses significant challenges, particularly when these drums contain flammable liquids or powders. While the risk is minimised when materials are securely sealed within drums, restricting air exchange, and keeping ignition sources at bay, the risk escalates dramatically once these drums are opened.

Increased Risks Upon Opening Drums

Opening drums compromises the sealed environment, allowing gases, vapours, and dust to escape and mix with the surrounding air. This mixture can easily ignite from various ignition sources, necessitating extreme caution from operators to mitigate risks effectively.

Common Hazards

  • Sparks from Electrical Equipment: Devices like electrical switches, solenoids, and plug sockets can emit sparks that may ignite flammable atmospheres.

  • Hot Surfaces: Engine exhausts and machinery heating elements can reach temperatures high enough to ignite gases and vapours.

  • Static Electricity Discharge: Sparks can also originate from static charges accumulated on equipment isolated from the ground, particularly when in motion.

  • Thermic Strikes: Collisions and impacts, such as a forklift truck colliding with an immovable steel pillar, could create sparks sufficient to ignite explosive mixtures.

Preventative Measures

  • Keeping Drums Sealed: Keep hazardous materials in air-tight drums whenever not in use to minimise the creation of flammable atmospheres.

  • Removing Electrical Equipment: Remove or upgrade electrical equipment in the vicinity to ATEX-certified models to eliminate potential ignition sources.

  • Removing Sources of Heat: Ideally, eliminate or minimise heat sources in the area. Segregating hot processes from drum handling operations can further reduce risks.

  • Ventilating the Space: Ensure robust ventilation to dilute flammable vapours emanating from open containers, thereby reducing the risk of ignition.

  • Using ATEX Certified Equipment: Utilise tools and equipment that are certified as ATEX, that have been designed to prevent the introduction of ignition sources into hazardous areas.

At STS, we leverage over 24 years of experience designing and manufacturing ATEX-compliant drum handling equipment suitable for common zoned environments such as Zones 1, 2, 21, and 22. Our commitment to safety and quality ensures that our equipment meets the highest standards required for hazardous atmospheres.

To find out more about our range of products take a look at Drum Handling in ATEX Environments, or for more information about ATEX requirements, get in touch with our team.

Contact Us

Do you have a manual handling issue we could solve? We’d be happy to discuss any handling concerns and advise on the most suitable STS equipment. You can talk to us via telephone, email and social media.

  1. Home
  2. Blog
  3. Challenges of Drum Handling in ATEX Environments