Safety Tip: Grounding Drums When Dispensing Lubricants

Recently, we received a question from one of our Latin American customers asking if there is any standard or requirement for the grounding of drums while dispensing lubricants. And, while there is no requirement to ground lubricant drums, there are some basic standards that operators can follow to help safely dispense lubricants.

General grounding standards

In the U.S., both the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have bonding and grounding standard for drums.

The NFPA addresses the need for bonding and grounding in NFPA 30, the Flammable and Combustible Code. In the 2015 edition of NFPA 30, Chapter 18 Part 5.2.2 states that a means must be provided to minimize the generation of static electricity when transferring “flammable” liquids.

OSHA’s requirements for bonding and grounding in general industry are referenced in the Flammable Liquids Standard, 29 Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) 1910.106(e)(6)(ii). The regulation states, “Category 1, 2, or 3” flammable liquids, with a flashpoint below 100°F (37.8°C), shall not be dispensed into containers unless the nozzle and container are electrically interconnected.

Drum grounding basics

Since most lubricants have a flash point above 100°F (37.8°C), they would be exempt from these requirements or standards. However, drum grounding is still a good idea for operators anywhere in the world.

For bonding and grounding to be effective, operators need to maintain metal-to-metal contact between the bonding and grounding wires and the containers. These connections can be of two basic types: permanent or temporary.

Permanent connections may be made by using solid or braided wires, and they must incorporate either screw-type clamps, welding or other similar means.

Temporary connections should use only braided wires in conjunction with spring clamps, magnetic clamps or other similar methods of maintaining metal-to-metal contact.

Wires should frequently be checked for continuity. More information on these principles can be found here:

Drum grounding: A safety best practice

In summary, while there is a requirement to ground drums containing product with a low flash point (<100°F/37.8°C), best-in-class storage and handling facilities typically ground all drums used in dispensing product in order to maintain a high level of safety. It’s something all operators should consider.

If you have any further questions around drum grounding, please leave a question in the comments section below.