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Archive for the ‘HazMat’ Category

PHSMA launches HAZMATICS

June 19th, 2018 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat, Industry News, Skolnik Newsletter

Recently, the DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) launched the HAZMATICS portal for shippers of dangerous goods classified contents. The Portal allows a shipper to log in and complete the Form DOT 5800.1 Hazardous Materials Incident Report. The Portal is a ‘One Stop Shop’ where industry, modal, state and other business partners can access PHMSA services via the internet, creating a single source for crucial Hazardous Materials and Pipeline Safety data via single sign-on access.
There are HAZMATICS video tutorials which are not publicly available on YouTube at this time. However, they are imbedded in the User Manual Incident Reporting Guide on the HAZMATICS landing page within the Portal. If you have not yet created a user account within the Portal, this link will take you to instructions on how to sign up. The link also, includes instructions on how to view the HAZMATICS video tutorials. These instructions are located towards the bottom half of the page.

The History of Hazmat and Dangerous Goods Packaging

May 3rd, 2018 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat

If you work in the packaging and transportation industries, there’s a good chance that you come across dangerous goods regularly. If you do, then you also come across the term ‘hazmat’. Now, it’s not hard to understand that the two are connected, but what are those connections exactly? What does hazmat have to do with dangerous goods packaging, and just who establishes the rules behind it all?

First, a quick definition. In the United States, the official term for dangerous goods is hazardous materials, which leads to the portmanteau hazmat. Pretty logical, but also easy to take for granted if it’s just another term in the day-to-day sea of acronyms and abbreviations.

Dangerous goods, and in turn hazmat, is a broad umbrella term that encompasses materials that are radioactive, flammable, explosive, corrosive, oxidizing, asphyxiating, biohazardous, toxic, pathogenic, or allergenic. Also included are physical conditions such as compressed gases and liquids or hot materials, and all goods containing such materials or chemicals, or that may have other characteristics that render them hazardous in specific circumstances.

Oversimplified: anything that can hurt a human.

 

Hazmat Regulation in The United States

With such an intimidating list of dangers under its purview, you would think that protection from dangerous goods has been a high priority for our government as long as possible. But, the DOT, EPA and OSHA, three of the most crucial agencies for regulating the safe handling of hazardous materials in the U.S. weren’t even formed until the late 1960s and 1970s.

Then, it was only in 2004 that the Department of Transportation created the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), which is the agency directly in charge of developing and enforcing regulations in relation to hazmat transportation. Previously, PHMSA’s hazmat and pipeline safety programs were housed within the Transportation Department’s Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA).

Hazmat Regulation Abroad

Regulators at the global level were a little faster to act. The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)’s publication of the first version of The UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods occurred in 1956. While it isn’t obligatory or legally binding on individual countries, this is the guiding document when it comes the establishing procedures regarding hazmat shipping. For example, all Skolnik barrels that bear a UN certification have been produced to the standards established by the most current version of these recommendations.   

The other crucial contribution to hazmat handling that the UN provides is the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, developed in 1992. This is the set of rules that standardized the labeling of hazmat across borders, and is why we use the color coded diamond-shaped pictograms to designate which hazards are in what package.

Further Hazmat Regulatory Bodies

Along with these major organizations, there are plenty of smaller, more specific groups that have their eyes set on specific topics, such as the International Air Transport Association, the International Maritime Organization and the Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail. These are just some of the groups who, as each name suggests, focus on their individual priorities and establish rules and regulations that are adopted, inspire and influence how we handle hazmat here in the states and abroad.


Whether you interact with dangerous goods daily or once in a blue moon, it’s important to not only be able to handle the immediate task of safely storing and transporting these goods, but to know where they fit in larger scheme. If you don’t know why you’re labeling a barrel as hazardous, then it’s easy to make a mistake, and there is little room for error when dealing with hazmat storage and transportation. Luckily, there are plenty of resources for any question you may have regarding hazmat and dangerous goods packaging. All of these organizations have multiple resources you can explore, and if it’s barrel-related, chances are we here at Skolnik can help out too.

And now, Lithium Battery Smuggling!

March 27th, 2018 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat, Industry News, Safety, Skolnik Newsletter

The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) alleges that on February 22, 2017, two passengers affiliated with the J&J Transportation Group of Miami, offered three checked bags containing hundreds of lithium ion batteries to American Airlines for shipment by air from Miami to Buenos Aires, Argentina. The shipment included 318 lithium ion batteries as well as 85 cell phones and 11 laptop computers that contained lithium ion batteries. FAA proposed a $63,750 civil penalty against J&J Tech for allegedly violating the Hazardous Materials Regulations. American Airlines workers at Miami International Airport discovered the shipment during checked baggage screening.

The FAA alleges J&J Tech Group offered, through checked baggage, a greater number of lithium batteries than were allowed by the regulations. Moreover, regulations prohibit offering these batteries as cargo on a passenger-carrying aircraft.

The FAA further alleges that the shipments were not accompanied by a shipper’s declaration of dangerous goods and were not properly classed, described, packaged, marked, labeled or in the proper condition for shipment. Additionally, the agency alleges J&J Tech Group failed to ensure that each of its employees received required hazardous materials training, and failed to provide emergency response information with the shipment.

DOT & OSHA Release Joint Video on Hazmat Communications.

March 20th, 2018 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat, Industry News, Safety, Skolnik Newsletter

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) jointly produced and rolled out a YouTube video that provides clarity on the differing agency labeling requirements to communicate the dangers of hazardous materials in transportation (DOT) and in the workplace (OSHA). Both agencies are responsible for enforcing distinct and separate safety standards regarding the appropriate labeling of chemical hazards through PHMSA’s Hazardous Materials Regulations and OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard 2012. Click here to view the video on YouTube. Consider this video for use in HazMat Training.