Safety Priority: The Best Drum Locks for Material Handling and Storage

industrial drum lock installed on a drum with yellow LOTO lock

A key component in maintaining operational safety is the use of drum locks – a simple yet essential device that secures the contents of drums, often containing chemicals, oils, or other dangerous substances. These locks prevent spills, unauthorized access, and contamination, thereby protecting both employees and the environment. The market offers a variety of drum locks, each boasting unique features tailored to different industrial needs. This guide will take you through the ins and outs of selecting the best drum lock for your industrial setting, focusing on top-tier products that lead the industry in reliability and security.

What is a drum lock?

A drum lock is a specialized locking mechanism designed for industrial drums to prevent the unauthorized opening and tampering of the drum's contents. These devices are crafted to withstand harsh environments and resist corrosion, providing a secure seal over the drum's lid. The use of drum locks extends beyond mere security; they also play a crucial role in compliance with safety and health regulations, ensuring the containment of potentially hazardous materials.

Why should you use drum locks?

Utilizing drum locks is a critical step in any industrial safety protocol. They serve not only as a physical barrier but as a compliance measure. By keeping drum contents contained, drum locks prevent hazardous spills that could lead to significant cleanup costs and potential fines. They also secure materials against theft and unauthorized access, adding an essential layer of security in sensitive work areas. Additionally, drum locks are a direct line of defense in upholding workplace safety, protecting workers from the dangers of exposure to harmful substances.

OSHA Safety Requirements

OSHA's regulation 1915.173(a) specifically prohibits the pressurization of shipping drums and containers to extract their contents due to the inherent risks such as explosion and exposure to hazardous materials. Drum locks play a crucial role in reinforcing this rule by ensuring that drums remain securely sealed, thereby eliminating the temptation or possibility to pressurize them as a means of content removal. They offer a mechanical assurance that the drum's integrity is intact, preventing any unauthorized or unsafe attempt to open them that could lead to pressurization.

Additionally, while OSHA regulation 1915.173(b) addresses the need for safety features like relief valves in temporarily assembled pressurized systems, drum locks serve to bolster this safety approach by maintaining the sealed status of drums, reducing the likelihood of accidental releases that could overburden such safety systems.

Furthermore, in line with regulations such as 1915.173(c) and (d), where the safe storage of containers containing flammable or toxic substances away from sources of heat and physical damage is mandated, drum locks provide an extra layer of security. They ensure that the contents are not exposed to dangerous conditions due to inadvertent or unauthorized opening. Drum locks also support compliance with 1915.173(e), which requires adequate spill containment for larger containers.

By preventing unauthorized access and potential spillage, drum locks directly contribute to maintaining a safe and compliant workplace. In all, while drum locks may not be explicitly mentioned in OSHA regulations, their use is implicitly supported as they provide a practical and effective means of upholding the spirit of these safety standards, ensuring that the workplace remains a secure environment for all employees.

Key Features for OSHA Compliance

  • Sealed Containment: Keeps hazardous materials contained within drums, thus mitigating the risk of exposure and maintaining the integrity of the contents against external contaminants.
  • Spillage Prevention: Reduces the risk of spills and accidents, which not only safeguards employees but also prevents waste of materials and potential downtime for cleanup.
  • Unauthorized Access Deterrent: Secures materials from theft or tampering, thereby preserving the quality of the contents and contributing to inventory control.
  • Safety Protocol Adherence: Aids in upholding workplace safety measures, playing a critical role in ensuring that operational practices meet regulatory compliance standards.
  • Environmental Protection: Minimizes the possibility of environmental contamination, which can have significant long-term benefits for local ecosystems and company reputation.

Best Drum Locks for Ultimate Storage Safety

TRADESAFE Drum Security Locks

TRADESAFE Drum Security Locks stand out in the market by expertly balancing cost-efficiency with steadfast reliability. Crafted to enclose the drum's bung opening, the drum lock offers robust security without the need to remove the drum's original seal— a crucial feature for those intent on maintaining the purity of their drum's contents. The choice of non-sparking zinc alloy in their construction ensures both security and high durability even amidst the most challenging industrial environments. These drum locks promise peace of mind, making them a sought-after addition to any safety-conscious operation.

Key Features:

  • Made from corrosion-resistant, non-sparking zinc alloy
  • Easy and quick installation process that fits effortlessly on both metal and plastic drum bungholes
  • Allows for the original seal plug to remain intact; preventing contamination

TRADESAFE Nylon Drum Lock with 2 Rubber Gaskets

The TRADESAFE Nylon Drum Lock is an innovative drum lockout tagout solution designed with a sturdy nylon body and rubber gasket that withstands extreme conditions, offering longevity and reliability. It sets itself apart by providing a versatile and secure locking mechanism, not just for drum bung holes but also for pipe openings and drainage holes, ensuring a wide range of applications while maintaining safety and compliance with OSHA's lockout tagout standards. TRADESAFE also offers two different gasket sizes in one pack that can expand to fit a variety of opening diameters, making it a highly adaptable tool for a wide range of industrial settings.

Key Features:

  • Industrial strength nylon body and tough rubber gasket.
  • Highly versatile, able to lock out a variety of openings beyond just drum bung holes.
  • Includes 2 rubber gaskets that expand for a secure fit, creating an air and watertight seal.

New Pig Steel Drum Lock

New Pig’s Steel Drum Lock is a tamper-resistant capseal bung lock set suitable for various drum sizes. The locks are constructed from durable, nonsparking zinc alloy with an all-weather locking mechanism and come with two brass keys.

Key Features:

  • Tamper-resistant design.
  • Constructed from heavy-duty zinc alloy for corrosion resistance.

Drumlok ® Closed Head Drum Seal

The Drumlok ® Closed Head Drum Seal utilizes iridited aluminum locking plugs and bar to secure drum contents. This drum includes gaskets to prevent contamination. While it can accommodate both 30 or 55 gallon drums, the mechanism may be more complex and time-consuming to install compared to simpler locks.

Key Features:

  • Corrosion-resistant locking mechanism.
  • Suitable for more than one size, offering versatility.

VESTIL Double Drum Locks

VESTIL double drum lock offers a straightforward, mechanical solution for drum security. This drum lock is particularly ideal for those with double bungs. It features a unique design where threaded cylinders attach to the drum's bungs, allowing for a rod to be inserted through port holes in the cylinders. With a long rod, storage may not be that convenient as compared with other drum locks.

Key Features:

  • Adaptable for drums with double bung openings
  • Easy-to-install screw placement for drum lock

How to Choose The Best Drum Lock

Consider these key points to guide your selection:

  • Drum Compatibility: Ensure the lock fits the type of drums in use. Not all drums have the same lid or ring configurations, so it's crucial to match the lock to your specific drum type to guarantee a secure fit. Additionally, review the dimensions and closure styles of your drums, as some locks are designed for specific models.
  • Material Durability: Opt for locks made from materials that resist wear and corrosion. The choice of material impacts the longevity of the lock in various environments, so consider the typical conditions the lock will face, such as outdoor exposure or contact with aggressive substances. Moreover, robust materials like zinc alloy can deter tampering and provide an extra layer of security.
  • Installation Simplicity: Choose drum locks that are easy to install and operate. A lock that requires minimal tools and time to install reduces downtime and enhances productivity. Drum locks with intuitive design help ensure that they are consistently secured correctly, minimizing the risk of improper use.
  • Compliance Assurance: Verify that the drum lock meets all relevant safety standards. Compliance with regulations can protect your company from fines and ensure worker safety. Additionally, check for certifications or endorsements from safety organizations, which can serve as a testament to the lock's reliability.
  • Security Level: Select a drum lock that offers a high degree of security. Higher security locks often feature complex keyways, anti-pick mechanisms, or tamper-indicating designs.

The selection of the right drum lock is a critical decision for maintaining safety in industrial manufacturing. The brands highlighted offer solutions that cater to various needs, balancing security, ease of use, and compliance. By choosing a reliable drum lock, companies not only protect their assets but also demonstrate a commitment to the well-being of their workforce and the environment.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What materials are drum locks made from?

Drum locks are typically made from metals like steel or zinc for durability and corrosion resistance, and many have coatings to further enhance their resilience against chemicals and weather.

Can drum locks be used on any drum?

Drum locks are designed to fit standard industrial drums, but it’s essential to verify specifications for compatibility, especially for drums with unique dimensions or closures.

Are drum locks reusable?

Yes, high-quality drum locks are built for reuse across multiple applications, and their robust design ensures longevity even in the toughest industrial settings.

Do drum locks come with keys?

Drum locks often come with keys, but some may use separate locks or other mechanisms, offering flexibility for security preferences and multiple user access.

How do I install a drum lock?

Installation typically involves aligning the lock with the drum lid’s ring and securing it in place, but instructions can vary by manufacturer, and some locks may require additional tools for installation.

What is a drum lock ring and how does it enhance drum security?

A drum lock ring is a mechanism that fastens around the lid and body of a drum, such as a 55-gallon barrel, to secure its contents. It's designed to work with a drum lock to provide an added layer of protection against spills and unauthorized access.

The material provided in this article is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to replace professional/legal advice or substitute government regulations, industry standards, or other requirements specific to any business/activity. While we made sure to provide accurate and reliable information, we make no representation that the details or sources are up-to-date, complete or remain available. Readers should consult with an industrial safety expert, qualified professional, or attorney for any specific concerns and questions.


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Author: Herbert Post

Born in the Philadelphia area and raised in Houston by a family who was predominately employed in heavy manufacturing. Herb took a liking to factory processes and later safety compliance where he has spent the last 13 years facilitating best practices and teaching updated regulations. He is married with two children and a St Bernard named Jose. Herb is a self-described compliance geek. When he isn’t studying safety reports and regulatory interpretations he enjoys racquetball and watching his favorite football team, the Dallas Cowboys.