What’s in a Label?

Top five safety handling instructions to look for in an FIBC:

Safe Working Load

The Safe Working Load must be printed on every FIBC.  The Safe Working Load or SWL indicates the maximum weight a particular FIBC is rated to hold in order to pass the minimum U.S. safety standard factor of 5:1.

Safety Factor

The U.S. Safety Standard for an FIBC, in accordance to ISO 21898, is 5:1.  This means that the bag must pass normal handling and jarring up to five times the Safe Working Load designed for a particular FIBC or Bulk Bag.

Handling Recommendations

It is equally important, if not more so, to pay extra attention on what to avoid when reviewing the handling recommendation to avoid any misuse that could lead to a potentially serious injury.  As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.

The most critical points of safety are during the lifting and discharging of an FIBC.  Pay close attention to the forks on the forklift and avoid sharp edges that may fray or cut the lifting loops.  Make sure to use all lift loops when lifting a Bulk Bag.  Ensure that the forks on the forklift are position directly on top of the loops.  The more angular the loops the lower the safety factor.  Avoid UV exposure and increment weather.  UV protection is critical to the safety and handling of an FIBC.  Unless tested in a laboratory, it is very difficult to tell whether an FIBC has suffered any UV or weathering degradation, until it fails during handling.  Some of the tell-tale signs can be color fading, or stiff and brittle fabric.  Using protective covers for an FIBC or properly storing the Bulk Bags in an enclosed facility are two options to consider to prolong the life of bag and your valuable product.


The ability to trace the life cycle of an FIBC is critical for accountability, quality control, and product consistency.  The size of the bag, the test standards used, production identification, FIBC test standard, and name and address of manufacturer or distributor should be clearly indicated on each bag label.

As the application of FIBC ‘s becomes more sophisticated and continues to expand in packaging of products for human consumption, pharmaceutical production, and dangerous goods transportation, it is critical to be able to trace the entire production process, handling, filling, storing, discharging and eventual recycling or discarding of the FIBCs.   

FIBCA Member

Look for the FIBCA Member logo and identification number.   FIBCA is a global voice for over 30 years.  Promoting the benefits of FIBC’s, educating the industry of the safe use, sustainability and much more.  Members must comply with all FIBCA by-laws including, but not limited to all the latest safety measures, must carry a minimum of $1,000,000.00 liability insurance. Liability insurance provides protection from claims arising from product related injuries or damage to people or property.


by Jules Teffaha