Already proposed for the tracking of hazardous material shipments and disposal, Radio Frequency Identification tracking (RFID) is soon to be used by the major automobile tire manufacturers to provide an early warning system of defects and better target potential recalls. Installed into new tires will be a small metal tag, or strip, that contains a memory chip and a radio frequency transmitter that can be read at up to 6 feet away. The chip will be programmed with manufacturing identification information that will link directly to a specific vehicle. In the event of a tire recall, it would be easy to target a specific vehicle rather then make a blanket recall. In a similar application, installation of RFID tags for hazardous material shipments would finally allow for the tracking of specific packaging performance, provide accurate incident reporting information and ultimately verify compliant delivery, disposal or burial of dangerous goods.
Drum It Up! Steel Drum Industry News, Trends, and Issues
Archive for 2001
In a recent inquiry to the US DOT, a shipper of hazardous materials asked if the Emergency Response telephone number (49CFR 171-180) required to accompany a hazardous materials shipment can be a phone number in the form of a toll-free number, (ie: 800, 888). The response from the DOT indicated that, "the emergency telephone number must include all necessary area codes needed to complete the call from within the United States." Therefore, any incident occurring outside the US would not be reachable via telephone if the shipper used a domestic toll free number for emergency response. It is the opinion of this author that with the increasing import and export of dangerous goods to the US, shippers will choose to use Emergency Telephone numbers that will include all necessary numbers for these calls to be completed from any point in the world. Numbers should include country codes and indicate optional internal dialing codes (ie: 0 or 1).
Being the only country in the world that tracks hazardous material incidents, RSPA recently proposed under HM229, new incident reporting requirements and revisions to the report format. The new form, DOT Form F5800.1 has been modified so that more meaningful data can be collected about each incident. This will allow for more effective regulation through risk analysis and actual in-field incident reporting of packaging failures. The new reporting form will collect more information relating to the specific materials involved in an incident, the type of packaging, and how and why the packaging failed. This information will then be used in regulatory review and the effectiveness of current hazardous materials packaging requirements.
In June 2001, a man was found by the Glasgow police, burned to death from a high voltage shock after trying to steal valuable copper cabling from the city‘s rail transit system. Apparently, the unidentified man was quite enterprising with a good knowledge of the railway electrical system. He planned to cut out the special copper during the off-peak time between trains, when no current would be traveling through the system. His plan might have worked but for one small flaw. In the pocket of his charred overcoat, officers at the scene found an out-of-date rail timetable. The train arrived ten minutes before the robber thought it would, sending hundreds of volts of electricity through his hacksaw and into his body!! (Yes….this is true!)
There has been some confusion about how packaging specification markings should appear. The examples given in the CFR illustrate one of several ways the markings can be applied. Therefore, the markings can be applied in a straight line; on multiple lines; with or without the slash between the various segments. What matters is that the information is in the correct sequence. Also, UN certifications are valid for a one year manufacturing period. After 12 months, retesting and issuance of a new certification is mandatory.
Steel drums were recently tested to determine their integrity when exposed to extreme fire situations. The program tested steel drums stacked 2, 3, and 4 high under an AFFF sprinkler system. The drums fitted with non-metallic closures (ie: nylon fittings) met the National Fire Protections Associations definition of a "Relieving-Style Container" and performed beyond expectations. Unlike alternative containers made from plastic resins or paper, the steel containers did not melt or distort, did not lose their contents and fuel the fire, and did not fall from their stacking heights. Though the current NFPA 30 (1996 edition) only recognizes 2-high storage for steel drums fitted with pressure relief devices, it is expected that these tests will result in the ability for users to double storage height when meeting these storage conditions.