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

Archive for the ‘Safety’ Category

The Dangers of Re-Selling 55-Gallon Drums and Other Industrial Containers

February 8th, 2018 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News, Safety

The 55 gallon steel drum is one of the best-traveled, most-recognized and most-used industrial containers in the world — they are ubiquitous. So, it should come as no surprise that you can get one virtually anywhere. And, in the age of e-tail and on-demand-delivery, it should come as no surprise that people are deal-hunting and ordering industrial drums online. Cutting corners around the OEM and ordering second-hand drums from EBay and Craigslist is incredibly risky and dangerous.

Many of our drums are used to hold chemicals or other flammable materials. If it isn’t properly recycled or reconditioned, but instead just rinsed and allowed to sit, sealed and forgotten for a time being, the fumes and pressure inside can build to an explosion.

Right now, hundreds if not thousands of used and potentially dangerous containers are being sold online.

An article by the Journal Sentinel reported that, “an examination of accidents involving exploding drums and fires found that many occurred in backyards and garages across the country, where buyers weren’t aware of the danger lurking inside.”

And yet, these drums are sold and re-sold on Craigslist or E-Bay with little to no oversight. Some are even being off-loaded without any labels indicating their previous contents may have been dangerous.

No matter how well a used drum has been rinsed and scrubbed, if it was not properly sanitized and reconditioned by an expert manufacturer, it is dangerous. After all, it is not the liquid that was being contained that is dangerous, but the vapors left behind. According to the Sentinel, “As little as two tablespoons of a flammable chemical can create enough fumes in a 55-gallon barrel to explode when ignited by a single spark.”

The Reusable Industrial Packaging Association (RIPA), which represents drum reconditioning companies, is aghast that these containers are being sold without proper oversight and procedure. As leading experts in the business, RIPA is urging consumers and businesses to trust their fellow experts and stick to purchasing industrial containers from OEMs like Skolnik Industries where most reconditioned drums are certified by the UN.

Many of these drums lurking on online shops are being billed as safe, but without proper oversight and regulation there is no way of knowing for sure. It isn’t a risk anyone should be willing to take.

Just because you see 55 gallon drums everywhere doesn’t mean you should buy them anywhere.

PHSMA Warns about Refilling Propane Cylinder

January 29th, 2018 by Howard Skolnik

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

It has been an extreme winter and PHMSA has recently campaigned for awareness about not refilling certain propane cylinders. To highlight the safety concern,
PHMSA has created a New YouTube Safety Video and Poster cautioning against refilling DOT 39 Cylinders. With safety as its primary mission, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) produced the following promotional items:

Both promotional pieces target and cautions the public to never refill DOT 39 cylinders, such as the 1lb. cylinders used for camping. While many types of propane cylinders are designed to be refilled, a DOT 39 cylinder of any size is strictly non-refillable. Hazardous materials incidents involving refilled DOT 39 cylinders have been reported and include one fatality. If you have any questions about refilling any cylinder, please contact a qualified refiller, or PHMSA’s HAZMAT Info Center at 1-800-467-4922, https://www.phmsa.dot.gov, or e-mail: infocntr@dot.gov.

—Howard Skolnik

Steel and plastic drums are conventionally sold as new and/or reconditioned from recognized drum manufacturers and distributors. Used primarily to transport dangerous goods (hazmats), it is imperative that if a drum is going to be reused, the contents of the drum must be professionally cleaned according to regulatory and industry standards.

Most recently, Craiglist and Ebay were cited for knowingly selling used drums that have not complied with the reuse regulations. The result is that both sites have created an outlet for drums that could cause fatal injuries and potential explosions. Hundreds, if not thousands, of used and potentially dangerous industrial barrels are listed for sale on Craigslist and other sites where they are advertised as good for everything from rain barrels and trash cans to catfish traps and “smoker” backyard grills. Often, the containers come with a dangerous twisted and torn-off labels making it impossible to identify the previous contents. In most cases, these drums once held toxic chemicals and hazardous, flammable commercial products. The sellers of these drums have no real knowledge of how the drums were previously used and are offering drums that could have contained poisons!

Investigated recently by Rick Barrett of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, this dangerous practice is being brought into the public eye with the hope that this illegal practice will cease. Industry officials say they would prefer that used barrels be properly refurbished and reused, or be scrapped, rather than be sold to consumers through unregulated web sales.

Ebay and Craigslist Selling Illegal Drums!

January 22nd, 2018 by Howard Skolnik

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

Steel and plastic drums are conventionally sold as new and/or reconditioned from recognized drum manufacturers and distributors. Used primarily to transport dangerous goods (hazmats), it is imperative that if a drum is going to be reused, the contents of the drum must be professionally cleaned according to regulatory and industry standards.

Most recently, Craiglist and Ebay were cited for knowingly selling used drums that have not complied with the reuse regulations. The result is that both sites have created an outlet for drums that could cause fatal injuries and potential explosions. Hundreds, if not thousands, of used and potentially dangerous industrial barrels are listed for sale on Craigslist and other sites where they are advertised as good for everything from rain barrels and trash cans to catfish traps and “smoker” backyard grills. Often, the containers come with a dangerous twisted and torn-off labels making it impossible to identify the previous contents. In most cases, these drums once held toxic chemicals and hazardous, flammable commercial products. The sellers of these drums have no real knowledge of how the drums were previously used and are offering drums that could have contained poisons!

Investigated recently by Rick Barrett of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, this dangerous practice is being brought into the public eye with the hope that this illegal practice will cease. Industry officials say they would prefer that used barrels be properly refurbished and reused, or be scrapped, rather than be sold to consumers through unregulated web sales.

No Matter What, A Spill Response Plan is Crucial for Worker Safety

January 2nd, 2018 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Safety

While the end of December is a great time to look backward and take stock, it’s just as important to look ahead to make sure that 2018 is a successful, productive, and most importantly, safe year. The barrels we produce here at Skolnik are thicker, heavier, and stronger than industry standards, and their durability can help prevent spills. No matter the precautions taken though, accidents are an inevitable part of any workplace, and absolutely it’s crucial to have a spill response plan in place. Training, proper equipment, and products such as drum spill containers are important for starting the year out on the right foot.

The first component to any response plan is preparation. Thoughtful warehouse organization can minimize the damage done by a spill. For example, segregate anything that could react and produce harmful vapors or combustion. By keeping acids on one side of the warehouse and oxidizers on the extreme other side, you reduce the chance that they’d ever come in contact with one another and make an accident that much more dangerous.

Proper spill stations are also a key part of a safe workspace. Make sure each include absorbent pads, instructions, and PPE such as masks, gloves, goggles and face shields. These stations then need to be distributed strategically across the warehouse, paying extra attention to high risk areas such as receiving and shipping areas.

Spill response plans aren’t effective unless your employees know how to use them, and training is the most important element of any preparation. Awareness of the chemicals used in a workplace and adequate training on how to handle them will reduce a lot of potential accidents. Then, when the inevitable spill happens, your employees need to know what to do in an emergency, who the emergency contacts are, and how to effectively utilize spill stations. Safety data sheets also ought to be easily accessible.

The next component of a response plan is containment. When a spill occurs, the workers need to notify their supervisors, then carefully work on creating a perimeter. Using such products as an tube of absorbent material, or “snake”, they can prevent the spill from spreading further. From there, they can determine if they can manage the spill themselves or if it requires a third party company that is certified in handling the clean up.

If the spill is most appropriately handled by your employees, then the clean up process can begin. Most clean ups involve putting down absorbents, which come in various types. There is a range of absorption capacities, as well as general purpose products and specific use ones. With corrosive spills, neutralizing agents need to be used. Weak acids are used to neutralize bases and vice versa, but no matter the chemical, it’s important to work slowly to insure that the chemical is fully neutralized. Depending on the type of spill, you can recover some of the product and store it in containers such as Skolnik brand salvage drums.

While a good spill response plan is focused on the safety of your workers, a well crafted plan is also mindful of the environmental impact of the spill. Always be aware of the drainage system in your workplace to ensure that no dangerous chemicals wind up escaping out to the public at large.

As 2017 winds down, we here at Skolnik want to thank you for your partnership; we’re very proud of the work we done this year to help you and your company be the very best, and safe, it can be. It’s been a good twelve months, and we’re looking forward to another amazing twelve ahead of us. See you next year!