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What is a UN Rated Drum?

UN ratings are an essential mark of quality control that signifies whether a steel or plastic drum meets rigorous health and safety standards for storage and transport of hazardous materials.

UN ratings are set by the United Nations. If you’re planning on working with hazardous solids or liquids, then it’s essential to purchase storage materials that are UN rated and approved.

But ratings can be confusing and not all drums are built to the same specifications. In this article, we asked our industrial packaging experts what it means for a drum to be UN rated, and when you might need it. 

What does it mean if a drum is UN rated?

If a drum is UN rated, it means it’s certified to carry hazardous or dangerous materials, either in storage or transport. UN ratings are set by the United Nations and are designed to ensure that industrial packaging, such as a plastic drum or steel drum, has met rigorous safety standards.

If a drum is UN rated, or UN certified, it means it’s successfully passed the rigorous safety standards established by the United Nations. What this means in a practical sense is that a UN rated drum has been manufactured to an extremely high quality standard, and tested for faults and defects.

How can I tell if a drum is UN rated?

UN ratings are universal and are intended as a system that can be easily interpreted anywhere in the world.

For this reason, UN ratings appear on industrial packaging as a long series of letters, numbers and symbols. This marking is permanent, and the UN rating explains which materials or substances the drum is certified to carry.

For an industrial storage drum, for instance, UN ratings denote the following (through this series of letters and numbers):

  • The type of storage container (in this case, a drum or barrel)
  • The material used to construct it (for instance, plastic or steel)
  • The type of opening (open or closed barrels)
  • The level of hazardous material that can be safely stored
  • If the drum is suitable for solids, liquids, or both
  • The year of manufacture (how old is the drum?)
  • Location of manufacture

When is a UN Rated Drum required?

You should always ensure that your plastic drum, steel drum, or any other industrial container is UN rated when storing industrial or hazardous goods within it.

However, you also need to check that your drum of choice is certified to the correct standards before you use it. For example, a fibre drum might be UN rated, but it will only be rated to a certain level in terms of the hazardous material it can store safely. A steel drum is likely to have a higher UN rating in terms of hazardous materials than a fibre drum.

Contact ITP Packaging for more information on UN Rated Drums

ITP Packaging stocks a comprehensive range of UN rated drums designed to meet a wide variety of industrial storage and transport needs.

Our expert staff are happy to provide further information on UN ratings and when they are required. Contact ITP Packaging today to find out more.

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