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A spout bottom bulk bag offers convenience when it comes to discharging the material within. Sometimes the spout can become blocked, especially with materials such as mining ore or those with high moisture content, like wet sand. This blockage is also referred to as bridging and it can slow down operations by delaying the discharge of materials.

Blockages pose a safety risk for employees. It usually means that a worker needs to physically unclog the spout, which puts their hands in the line of heavy materials. Since our bulk bags can safely hold up to two tonnes, you don’t want your hands to be in the way when the bridging is suddenly cleared.

Safest ways to unblock a bulk bag spout

The most important safety step when interacting with a filled bulk bag is to never stand underneath it. Luckily, unblocking a spout can be done without standing beneath one. Use a long pole or broom handle to nudge the spout in an attempt to break the bridging material within. This will ensure that you are at a safe distance should the blockage suddenly free itself.

If the pole does not work, try to massage the area around the spout with your hands, but be sure to keep your feet away from the bottom of the spout. Watch closely for any signs of movement within the bag so that you can step back once the blockage starts to flow again. 

In certain instances, you can get above the bulk bag and try to push the material through the spout with a pole from the top opening of the bag. Just be sure to maintain a good footing so that you do not fall into the bag.

If all else fails, you may have to cut the bulk bag around the bottom spout. This should only be done as a last resort as it poses a bigger safety risk and it ruins the bag too. Be extra careful with the blade and try to cut as minimally as possible to avoid an uncontrolled discharge.

Prevention is better than a cure

In some cases, a spout discharge is the wrong method to be used. Always chat with the bulk bag supplier before making a purchase to ensure that you get the best optional extras and discharge methods for your needs. Custom Bulk Bags offers several discharge types, including full-bottom discharge, spouts and no discharge at all. We can guide you towards the best bulk bag for your requirements.

In addition, there are two ways to prevent bridging in the first place. Firstly, use a larger spout or consider a full-bottom discharge to completely remove the possibility of bridging. Secondly, you can use a vented bulk bag that has air vents incorporated into the fabric to allow moist materials to dry out before discharging.

These tips will improve safety and prevent bulk bag spouts from blocking. Be sure to follow all manufacturer guidelines for preventing bridging and unblocking spouts. For more information about our bulk bags, please contact us today. 


Custom Bulk Bags is a South African manufacturer of woven polypropylene bags for various industries, such as mining, chemicals and food. We are able to produce over 3.5-million bulk bags per year, keeping our customers in stock at all times. Our bags adhere to the highest levels of quality as a result of our stringent in-house testing and quality control programmes.

Custom Bulk Bags holds ISO 9001 certification and we currently have a number of UN-certified designs. We are a Level 3 B-BBEE manufacturer and supplier and fall under the ownership structure of Deneb Investments Limited. For more information on our products, contact Follow us on Facebook for our latest news and industry insights.