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

Archive for the ‘Safety’ Category

PHMSA Issues Safety Advisory for COVID-19 Diagnostic Samples.

July 28th, 2020 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, Safety, Skolnik Newsletter

PHMSA plays a leading role in ensuring the safe transportation of hazardous materials in commerce throughout the United States. As a result of the ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency, certain shipments of COVID-19 diagnostic samples (e.g., nasal swabs, vials of sputum, and other related items) are classified as a Category B infectious substance (Division 6.2) hazardous material under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR).

Recent compliance inspections and found several instances of improperly marked or packaged diagnostic samples that were offered for transportation. In response, PHMSA is issuing this Safety Advisory Notice to provide information on the HMR related to offering and transporting these materials.

Why and How: Face Masks!

July 21st, 2020 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Industry News, Safety, Skolnik Newsletter

Face masks are one tool utilized for preventing the spread of disease. They may also be called dental, isolation, laser, medical, procedure, or surgical masks. Face masks are loose-fitting masks that cover the nose and mouth, and have ear loops or ties or bands at the back of the head. There are many different brands and they come in different colors. It is important to use a face mask approved by the FDA.

Facemasks help limit the spread of germs. When someone talks, coughs, or sneezes they may release tiny drops into the air that can infect others. If someone is ill a face masks can reduce the number of germs that the wearer releases and can protect other people from becoming sick. A face mask also protects the wearer’s nose and mouth from splashes or sprays of body fluids.

Consider wearing a face mask when you are sick with a cough or sneezing illness (with or without fever) and you expect to be around other people. The face mask will help protect them from catching your illness. Healthcare settings have specific rules for when people should wear face masks.

Disposable face masks should be used once and then thrown in the trash. You should also remove and replace masks when they become moist. Always follow product instructions on use and storage of the mask, and procedures for how to put on and remove a mask. If instructions for putting on and removing the mask are not available, then follow the steps below.

How to put on a Face Mask

Clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer before touching the mask. Remove a mask from the box and make sure there are no obvious tears or holes in either side of the mask. Determine which side of the mask is the top. The side of the mask that has a stiff bendable edge is the top and is meant to mold to the shape of your nose. Determine which side of the mask is the front. The colored side of the mask is usually the front and should face away from you, while the white side touches your face. Follow the instructions below for the type of mask you are using. Face Mask with Ear loops: Hold the mask by the ear loops. Place a loop around each ear.

If your Face Mask has Ties, bring the mask to your nose level and place the ties over the crown of your head and secure with a bow. Then take the bottom ties, one in each hand, and secure with a bow at the nape of your neck. Pull the bottom of the mask over your mouth and chin.

If your Face Mask has Bands, hold the mask in your hand with the nosepiece or top of the mask at fingertips, allowing the headbands to hang freely below hands. Bring the mask to your nose level and pull the top strap over your head so that it rests over the crown of your head. Pull the bottom strap over your head so that it rests at the nape of your neck. Mold or pinch the stiff edge to the shape of your nose.

Clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer before touching the mask. Avoid touching the front of the mask. The front of the mask is contaminated. Only touch the ear loops/ties/band. At the end of use, throw the mask in the trash. Clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer.

Safe Packaging and Transportation of COVID-19 Materials

May 12th, 2020 by Howard Skolnik

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

Infectious substances, such as certain COVID-19 tainted materials, can pose a risk to health, safety, and property if packaged and transported incorrectly. When transporting such materials, it is extremely important to consult PHMSA’s Hazardous Materials Regulations to help minimize risk and exposure.

To assist medical facilities, clinical laboratories, and hazardous waste carriers in their efforts to move COVID-19 specimens, cultures, isolates, and medical wastes, PHMSA developed a COVID-19 Quick Reference page that provides guidance on how to package and transport these materials safely.

See PHMSA’s Guidance on Transporting COVID-19 Infectious Substances for more information.

Business as Unusual: Skolnik Industries

April 7th, 2020 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Industry News, Safety, Skolnik Newsletter

Emergency situations have a habit of sneaking up on those affected, but being prepared for various unknowns can set you up for success during a crisis. Chicago-based, specialty steel drum manufacturer, Skolnik Industries understands this better than most. Through years of business continuity strategizing, careful planning and communication, this essential industrial packaging manufacturer positioned itself to survive and thrive throughout a myriad of disastrous mishaps, including a global pandemic like Coronavirus (COVID-19). Both Chairman, Howard Skolnik and President, Dean Ricker, gave their invaluable insights on what the company has done to prepare for the current crisis we’re in and how it’s managing through it.

Early on, Skolnik Ind. recognized the importance of having contingency plans in place, should an emergency occur. In the spirit of preparedness, they partnered with Integrated People Solution’s, John Estrada, an executive coach and HR consultant, to further this endeavor of business continuity planning. Estrada regularly provided guidance on developing a more robust organization effectiveness and performance during a crisis. This helped leadership to better manage their talent, building a stronger rapport between them and all the employees — especially when devising drills and emergency scenarios the company might encounter. Through constant communication and care given to the workforce on all levels, the emergence of the COVID-19 crisis has been met with a smooth and purposeful, company-wide transition led by Dean Ricker. Recognizing the threat to health, Ricker proactively shifted the company to a mode of social distancing and applicable remote work to ensure a safer environment for all. Constant communication with employees throughout the crisis has helped to alleviate unnecessary stresses that managerial silence would bring.

No stranger to disaster, Skolnik Industries has realized the importance of preparing for the unpredictable. After the company suffered a devastating fire in 1987, it eventually bounced back stronger and with a renewed sense of paramountcy placed on the people that would run it. As they began to regain their footing as a company, Howard Skolnik came to see the incident as an opportunity that would not only help to create jobs, but also identify and obtain key talent that would help guide the business with informed experience. From this, a culture of safety and forward thinking was born, and subsequently came with the need for building out a contingency plan, should another crisis emerge. For decades, they’ve practiced some sort of disaster response training, emphasizing proactivity over reactivity. Ultimately, through the increased sense of teamwork and proactivity expressed within the company, they’ve not only identified better processes to work by, but set themselves up for a better adapted future.

Planning for business continuity is part of our corporate culture. For almost a decade, John Estrada, (john@ipeoplesolutions.com) of Integrated People Solution’s, has guided us in preparing for unexpected business interruption.

This interview was conducted by Ian Fortune (fortunewrit@gmail.com).

Canada Slows Trains

March 24th, 2020 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: HazMat, Industry News, Safety, Skolnik Newsletter

To protect Canadians who live along rail corridors, it is critical that the transport of dangerous goods by rail is done safely. Following the derailment of an important, or key, train on February 6th, 2020, in Guernsey Saskatchewan, a Ministerial Order was issued for the immediate slowdown of key trains. A key train is one carrying 20 or more cars containing dangerous goods like petroleum crude oil; or a train carrying one or more cars of toxic inhalation gas. Since then, Transport Canada officials have worked diligently with large railway companies to further assess the causes of recent derailments, and to develop plans to address the areas of greatest concern. New measures are being implemented to reduce the speed of the higher risk key trains traveling through areas of greatest concern.

The speed limit for key trains is now limited to 35 mph in metropolitan areas. Outside of metropolitan areas where there are no track signals, the speed is limited to 40 mph. Higher risk key trains are trains where tank cars are loaded with a single dangerous goods commodity moving to the same point of destination; or trains that include any combination of 80 or more tank cars containing dangerous goods.
For now, the speed limit for higher risk key trains is now limited to 25 mph where there are no track signals. For metropolitan areas, the speed limit is 30 mph unless the metropolitan area is in a non-signal territory where the speed limit will be maintain at a maximum 25 mph.

This new Order was effective immediately and will remain in place until April 1, 2020. Transport Canada is working with the railways to develop a more comprehensive set of safety measures, which will include permanent measures such as track infrastructure maintenance and renewal, review of winter operations, safety practices of the railway companies, and other actions necessary to keep Canadians safe. Rail safety is the Minister of Transport’s top priority, and the Government of Canada is continuously looking for ways to make their railway system safer for Canadians.

Drum Components that are UN Certified are not Interchangeable.

March 17th, 2020 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, Safety, Skolnik Newsletter

While steel drums may look alike, once they are United Nations certified for hazardous materials, they are as unique as the manufacturer. The entire design of a UN drum, and all its components (metal thickness of the body and heads, ring type, gasket, bolt, nut, plugs), is set and defined when being subjected to the Performance Oriented Packaging Standards per CFR 178.600, the US Code of Federal Regulations. The specific components used to perform the test comprise a drum type, or certification, that must meet a designated test standard for classified HazMat products. Once in the field, shippers cannot alter or interchange any of these components, even though they may appear similar, changing these features will impact the ability of the drum to perform as certified. This also applies to the required Closure Instructions per CFR 178.2(c), which are required to be given to the shipper by the specific packaging manufacturer. If replacement parts are needed, fillers must make sure that they get the originally tested components from the manufacturer. Once a drum enters transportation, compliance with the UN Certification is the responsibility of the shipper. Failure to comply with the UN certification may result in a fine from the DOT.