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Posts Tagged ‘dangerous goods’

The Various Devices of Secondary Containment

May 17th, 2018 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News

A key component of properly storing and transporting hazardous liquids is to have secondary containment plans in case a spill happens. There are plenty of EPA regulations on secondary spill containment, and central to these rules is having the appropriate gear to keep you and your workers safe when the inevitable spill happens.

Here are a few broad categories of tools and containment devices that you can use in your efforts to prevent the problem before it can happen:

 

Containers

The most obvious solution to a potential spill from your primary container is to have a second container to catch what comes out. Depending on your needs, secondary containers can come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and material, usually metal or plastic. We here at Skolnik have a diverse line of secondary spill containers that are made of either stainless or carbon steel, depending on their compatibility with the materials you’re handling. They meet all applicable UN and DOT regulations, and are specifically labeled with multilingual logos for appropriate international transportation of leaking containers.

Elevated Pallets

As the name suggests, these pallets raise your primary container up off the ground with a tray that has grating on top. This creates a stable platform for your container that can catch spills inside the pallet for proper disposal on a later date. These are useful as temporary solutions and for easily recovering and reusing anything spilled.

Berms

A berm, or raised strip of material, creates a barrier on the floor surrounding the primary container, thus keeping anything spilled corralled into a manageable area for clean-up. These perimeter can be permanently incorporated into the construction of a factory, or temporarily deployed at the loading/unloading site when transporting materials.

Dikes

The opposite of a berm, dikes generate a perimeter by creating channels in the floor that will catch the spill. A common usage of these moats is on construction sites, where they are dug straight out of the ground for a fast and temporary solution for containment.

Slopes

Perhaps the least technologically advanced option, a simple sloped floor may turn out to be the most effective method of secondary containment. The main priority of all of these devices is to pull spills out and away from the primary container for easy, safe clean-up; something a sloped floor can achieve with ease. Usually, sloped floors are incorporated into a larger secondary spill containment system to increase the effectiveness of the other spill containment devices. In fact, depending on what else you’re using, it may be required by law to use them.

Drains and Sumps

Another device regularly added into a system to increase its safety and efficacy is either a drain or a sump. A drain is appropriate if it’s safe to dispose of the liquids you’re handling in your local sewage system. If it would be unsafe to drain the liquid, then you ought to explore sumps, which function similarly to a drain, except the liquids collect in a below ground reservoir instead.

 

Which spill containment device or strategy you use greatly depends on the properties of the material being stored/transported. Containing and addressing a dangerous material obviously comes with different considerations and regulations than a non-dangerous good. In addition to these devices, it’s also crucial to have a plan and the proper tools to control a spill after it happens, which means the appropriate absorbent materials, safety gear and training. Goggles, gloves, absorbent cloth, and first aid are just as important as secondary spill containers when it comes to keeping your workers safe.

 

Spills are an inevitable part of handling liquids at the industrial scale, but if you’re prepared for them, you’ll have the best chance at keeping accidents small. If you have any questions about secondary spill containment, the regulations surrounding it, or what system is the most appropriate for you, contact us here at Skolnik and we’d be happy to help!

 

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.

2018 New Hazmat Rules At-A-Glance

February 22nd, 2018 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat, Industry News

They say the only thing constant is change and that couldn’t ring more true for those of us in the dangerous goods business. As the transportation, manufacturing, chemical and hazmat industries all keep evolving, so too do the regulations that govern them. At Skolnik, we do our due diligence to ensure all of our products meet, if not exceed, the hefty regulatory standards they face. Part of that due diligence is staying on top of changes to the rules and regulations.

In 2018, a few new rules regarding hazmat containers and shipment will hit the books — here’s a quick look at what those regulations, some of which have already taken effect.

Already in effect:

International Air Transport Associations Dangerous Goods Regulations (IATA DGR), 59th Edition – In effect as of 01/01/2018

Changes include:

  • Stricter requirements regarding air-shipment of lithium batteries

  • A re-organized list of Class 9 materials (see Subsection 3.9.1)

  • A new list forecasting changes for air shippers in 2019 (Appenix I).

Furthermore, IATA has already published an addendum to this year’s DGR that impacts air shippers and airline passengers alike, so look for that as well.

2016 International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code) — Updates in effect as of 01/01/2018

Reinforces updates that were made in the 2016 edition. Compliance to these updates was voluntary last year, as of this year they are officially mandatory.

Rules include:

  • New dangerous goods marking and labeling criteria

  • New packing instructions for certain shipments of engines, lithium batteries and aerosols

  • Adjustments to the IMDG Code Dangerous Goods list

Coming soon:

Enhanced Safety Provisions for Lithium Batteries by Air (RIN 2137-AF20)  — Expected 02/2018

This Interim Final Rule will harmonize the 49 CFR hazmat regulations with evolving international standards for the air shipment of lithium batteries. International requirements already in effect under the latest IATA DGR will be adopted into 49 CFR.

Rules include:

  • Prohibiting lithium-ion cells and batteries as cargo on passenger aircraft

  • Limiting state-of-charge to 30%

  • Limiting the use of alternate provisions for small cells or batteries by air

Response to Industry Petitions (RIN 2137-AF09) — Expected 02/2018

Currently, parties must petition US DOT to amend, remove or add hazmat regulations to enhance safety/efficiency for shippers and carriers. In 2018, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) plans to address 19 of these petitions. This response will likely include new amendments and rules.

 

Miscellaneous Amendments Pertaining to DOT Specification Cylinders (RIN 2137-AE80) — Expected 04/2018

Likewise, DOT will address various petitions from industry stakeholders. These petitions pertain to the manufacture, maintenance and use of DOT specification cylinders. This ruling will incorporate two existing hazmat special permits into the 49 CFR Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR)

 

EPA’s Electronic Hazardous Waste Manifest System — Roll-out to begin 06/2018

The Hazardous Waste Manifest is a shipping paper required for the transport of hazardous waste, and hazardous waste is regulated in transport by US DOT. While this rulemaking has implications across various industries, here are the consequences specific to hazmat shippers:

The new e-Manifest system will be rolled out on/by June 30th. The EPA plans to utilize the e-Manifest to collect domestic hazardous waste manifests and domestic shipments of State-only regulated hazardous wastes. The e-Manifest system will be funded via user fees for the treatment, storage, and disposal facilities and State-only waste receiving facilities.

Oil Spill Response Plans for High-Hazard Flammable Trains (RIN 2137-AF08) — Expected 07/2018

A Final Rule from DOT to expand the applicability of oil spill response plans for trains transporting Class 3 flammable liquids in specific volumes and orientations across the train. This requirement will apply to High-Hazard Flammable Trains (HHFTs).

These are just the new hazmat rules that are already on the horizon. As always, Skolnik will continue to monitor future regulations or updates that may impact operations, shippers, brokers and carriers, and we encourage all other dangerous goods professionals to do the same.

Doing your due diligence now can prevent a disaster (or hefty fine) later.

Using Lasers to Examine Overpack Drums

January 26th, 2018 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Cool Stuff, HazMat

Overpack drums are used to contain a wide variety of hazards, from harsh chemicals to combustible materials. One of the more dramatic uses of these drums is to store spent nuclear fuel.

The fuel rods are confined in a welded stainless steel canister that is shielded and protected by a concrete and steel overpack drum, then placed into storage. While this may be the best solution we have right now for our nuclear waste, this process requires regular maintenance and examination to ensure safety. These storage casks need to be frequently inspected for degradation such as stress corrosion cracking. Unsurprisingly, inspecting hundreds of tightly packed irradiated barrels is not the safest task for a human to undertake.

That’s where the lasers come in.

By utilizing laser ultrasonics, a fancy method of shooting pulse lasers at an object, researchers have combined that process with fiber optics and a very specially-developed lens, integrating it into a robot system. That way, their compact set up can provide a clear, nondestructive inspection of the degradation happening to each barrel, specifically pitting. What that all means is that inspectors will have tools that can operate in the harsh, confined and hazardous spaces that are generated situations such as nuclear waste storage, piloting the robot from a safe distance.

This technology can be applied further than merely overpack drums. It’s suited for any environment that is cramped, high temperature, highly irradiated; anywhere that’s unsafe for humans. In particular, the system is great for inspecting defects in pipelines exposed to high temperatures and radiation inside nuclear power plants and inspection of inaccessible, cramped and hazardous areas for preventive maintenance.

Lasers and nuclear waste? Sounds like a dystopian sci-fi plot, but it is very much a current scenario. At this point, research is still ongoing to perfect the system, and it’s unclear how close they are to becoming commercially available tools. As long as we continue to store waste in the current, overpack method, the importance of technology to reduce the risk of hazard will only become more critical as time goes on.