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Drum It Up! Steel Drum Industry News, Trends, and Issues

Archive for 2011

Nearly Naked Passenger Sues for Rights Violation

September 16th, 2011 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Industry News, Safety

Airport security has been a delicate issue for many years. As a frequent flyer, I know that I must hold back my frustration of partially undressing and having to walk barefoot, or in my socks, through a security machine or pat down. Few travelers dare to question the process. However, Aaron Tobey, 21, of Charlottesville, Va., a student at the University of Cincinnati, was passing through Virginia’s Richmond International Airport on December 30, 2010 when he opted-out of going through the full body scanner. He was instead seeking an enhanced pat down. When he went through security, he took off his pants and shirt to reveal the Fourth Amendment written on his chest in magic marker. He went there knowing he would not do the advanced imaging and instead do the pat-down. Tobey was handcuffed and briefly held on charges of disorderly conduct. A federal civil rights lawsuit was filed on his behalf, claiming Tobey’s First and Fourth Amendment rights were violated. The lawsuit was filed by the Rutherford Institute, a civil liberties group.

During the last week of August 2011, U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson threw out most of Tobey’s claims, but agreed to proceed with charges that his free-speech rights were violated.
The judge also rejected the equal protection and search-and-seizure claims against the TSA screening officers who summoned police, but said it was premature to dismiss the free-speech claim. The final outcome and charges are yet unknown. Bizarre behavior continues to plague our security screening which, by its design and implementation, does, sometimes, cause travelers to act out their frustrations.

Top Educators Offer HazMat Lithium Battery Shipment Illegally

September 13th, 2011 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: HazMat, Safety

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing a $175,000 civil penalty against the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for alleged violations of Department of Transportation Hazardous Materials Regulations. The FAA alleges that MIT offered a fiberboard box containing 33 electronic devices to FedEx for transportation by air from Cambridge to Seattle on Aug. 25, 2009. Each electronic device consisted of a lithium battery attached to a circuit board and tube-like container. The package was discovered with smoke and flames coming from it while it was moving on a conveyor at the FedEx sorting facility in Medford, Mass. Two of the devices in the package heated and melted, which caused the surrounding cushioning and packaging to catch fire. Because the package was not properly labeled and marked, Federal Express employees did not know the shipment contained hazardous material. They made several unsuccessful attempts to extinguish the flames with a fire extinguisher.

Specifically, the batteries were not packaged in a manner that would prevent a short-circuit that could create sparks or generate a dangerous quantity of heat. MIT allegedly offered the box when it was not packaged, marked, classed, described, labeled or in condition for shipment as required by regulations. The airbill accompanying the shipment specifically stated the shipment did not contain dangerous goods. In addition, the FAA alleges MIT employees were not properly trained and tested to handle hazardous material. MIT is allowed to negotiate the FAA fine.

SIP Certified: Sustainability in Practice

September 8th, 2011 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Wine

On a recent trip to California we happened to notice many wine bottles touting the “SIP” Certified Seal — Sustainability in Practice. The certification program evolved from nearly two decades of effort to understand and implement sustainable farming practices, such as soil conservation, pest management, water quality, and special attention paid to biodiversity and habitat. When one finds the SIP seal on a bottle of wine, you can be assured that growers are preserving and protecting the natural environment, treating their employees and community with care, and have sound business practices with a long-term view that protects both the present and future. Third party auditors confirm adherence to the strict standards. This “Gold Standard” program was developed with the input of experts from the Environmental Protection Agency, National Resources Defense Council, university advisors, community and environmental organizations, and adapts and improves as practices evolve. SIP seals are now appearing across the country at select grocery stores, membership warehouses, wine stores and restaurants. Not only do we think this is a great idea, but we are happy to see that several of our stainless steel barrel customers have made the list!

PHMSA Launches Online Database of HazMat Incident Reports

August 9th, 2011 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has launched an online database of hazardous materials incident summary reports. The annual and 10-year summary reports include the number of incidents related to specific causes, the number of injuries or fatalities, as well the cost of damages. For instance, while California, Texas, Illinois and Ohio have the most incidents of the 50 states, Texas is #1 for having the most deaths or major injuries, the most hospitalized injuries and the most non-hospitalized injuries. By far, most HazMat transportation incidents that result in injury occur at the unloading portion of the transport experience. Users of this database can download up-to-date, useful information from the database because it is updated on a nightly basis and the data can be sorted based on the details of the incident. The creation of this database streamlines the delivery of this information to the public and continues PHMSA’s commitment to increased Government transparency. The database can be accessed on the PHMSA website.