In the July 1999 issue of Hazardous Cargo Bulletin ("Accidents waiting to happen!"), Ken Hardman of Van Leer states that there is a lack of uniformity between international package testing standards and that product performance is geared to material thickness — "the thinner the material, the lower the performance." The article turned the heads of steel drum fillers and manufacturers worldwide and resulted in a flurry of letter responses to Hazardous Cargo Bulletin. In the September 1999 issue, HCB Editor, Peter Mackay, makes his comments reinforcing the need to examine the test standards and further refine international packaging integrity and two of the response letters are published. Since many of our customers are not able to obtain a copy of Hazardous Cargo Bulletin, we received permission from HCB to load the Hardman Editorial, Mackay Comment, and our own published Letter to the Editor on our web site. Go to www.skolnik.com and click the link to "References and Editorials." to read this trilogy.
STEEL DRUM INDUSTRY NEWS, TRENDS AND ISSUES
Archive for October, 1999
The US DOT has published the Final Rule on "HM-224A — Chemical Oxidizers & Compressed Oxygen Aboard Aircraft" in the Federal Register, August 19, 1999. This Final Rule prohibits liquid and solid oxidizers in aircraft cargo compartments. Spent oxygen generators are prohibited on any aircraft and are only permitted to be transported by the surface mode. Compressed oxygen cylinders will be permitted in inaccessible cargo compartments on passenger and cargo aircraft provided that they are in an overpack meeting specifications such as those provided in the Air Transport Association of America (ATA) "Specification 300 — Packaging of Airline Supplies." Under the "One cylinder per passenger requiring oxygen at destination" provision, the operator is not required to provide the oxygen cylinder packaging (overpacks) nor is the operator responsible to provide the oxygen cylinder itself. If the operator chooses to provide these services for its customer, they are free to charge for the use of an overpack packaging as well as for the oxygen cylinder. Please note that the references to "Overpack" in this Final Rule are not directly related to the definition of "Overpack" as found in the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations. The term "Overpack" in this Final Rule is the term used by DOT to describe the outer container required to contain the oxygen cylinders.
Two customers of Airborne Express recently had to pay FAA fines as a result of improperly shipping hazardous goods. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has been fined $50,000. for improperly shipping dry-chemical fire extinguishers and Sears, Roebuck & Co. has been fined $55,000. for shipping a garden-tractor battery that contained corrosive materials and explosive gases. Both cases represent the effects of increased haz-mat awareness on the part of transporters and the Federal Aviation Administration. Shippers can verify the hazard level and shipping requirements of contents by contacting the Hazardous Materials department of a transport company.