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

Posts Tagged ‘department of transportation’

Safe Lithium Battery Containment

June 23rd, 2017 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: DOT/UN, Industry News

Lithium-ion batteries are the most commonly used batteries in consumer electronics and medical devices today, and they have been exploding. For all of the benefits and conveniences, lithium batteries have offered consumers — higher power density, lower memory effect, long life — they have a number of downsides and risks. Their sensitivity can lead to an explosion and, for this reason, they are considered “dangerous goods” and are banned from commercial aircraft.

The result is a kink in the supply line and, for those who rely on medical devices powered by lithium batteries, more than a mild inconvenience. At present, these batteries are only permitted on cargo aircraft and cargo planes only fly to large airports. As a result, the batteries cannot get to their final destinations.

The world isn’t going to suddenly stop needing lithium ion batteries anytime soon, so this is a puzzle that needs a solution. But, you know what they say: Necessity is the mother of invention. Skolnik Industries and Labelmaster have been working together to devise a package that can safely contain spent lithium ion batteries for bulk transport. This overpack package would serve as a multi-pack solution for the batteries as well as a secondary spill containment measure should the batteries be compromised in transit.

While it is always a pleasure to work with our friends at Labelmaster, we’re eager to find a safe and strong solution to this problem. The project cannot be completed until the DOT releases its final testing requirements for these package types, and, as with all Skolnik Industries products, this lithium battery-safe overpack container would be rigorously tested to meet all pertinent DOT regulations.

Once the regulations are set, we look forward to providing shippers and manufacturers with a safe, efficient solution to lithium battery containment, and helping alleviate the delay for those who need battery replacements for their medical devices.

Secondary Spill Containment: The Power of Prevention

May 1st, 2017 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: HazMat, Safety

Containing and transporting hazardous materials or potentially dangerous goods is not a task to be taken lightly. The DOT, UN and EPA all have their own specific regulations regarding the avoidance and management of hazmat leaks and spills and at Skolnik, we strive to prepare businesses and shippers with the tools they need to maintain compliance and keep everyone safe. A solid plan and preparation is the best defense against a potential spill. The EPA calls such planning SPCC, and while it is specifically written with oil spills in mind, we think it holds several important lessons and tips for the handling of any dangerous good.

What does SPCC mean?

SPCC stands for Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasures and it is a key component of the EPA’s oil spill prevention program. Essentially, an SPCC plan is a prevention plan for oil spills and leaks related to non-transportation related on or offshore oil operations.

Prevention is Key

While the EPA also requires oil operations to have a facilities response plan in place – the first step to solving a disaster such as an oil spill is to avoid it all together.

When handling dangerous goods of any kind, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Hazardous materials pose a grave threat to your employees, facility, community and/or the environment as a whole. No matter how careful you are in your operations, there is always a risk of a spill or leak. That’s where an SPCC plan comes in — as a Plan B in case all of your other careful planning has failed you.

In the business of transporting and storing hazardous materials, the most common and trusted form of SPCC are drum spill containers, or secondary spill containers.

Drum Spill Containers / Secondary Spill Containers

Drum spill containers are containers used in the event of an industrial hazardous or chemical spill. All Skolnik steel spill containers are suitable for clean up use or as secondary containment. Secondary spill containers are used either in response to an already leaking package,  in which case the leaking package will be contained in the secondary spill drum, thus mitigating the dangers of the leak; or as a preventative measure, in which case a non-leaking container holding hazardous materials is sealed within a secondary spill container for transportation and storage as an extra safety measure.

Secondary containment requirements are addressed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) contained in title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 264, the 2006 Uniform Fire Code (UFC) in standard 60.3.2.8.3 and in the 2012 International Fire Code (IFC) in 5004.2.

Keeping up with Compliance: UN Certified Packaging

March 24th, 2017 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: DOT/UN

You are probably already a safe, savvy and compliant business, but sometimes even businesses who follow UN and DOT regulations don’t fully understand them. The shipping and storage industry is heavily regulated — especially when it comes to handling hazardous materials or consumer goods such as pharmaceuticals or food and beverage. All of these rules and regulations have been put in place to protect transportation workers, the environment and the population. But, when you purchase UN certified packaging, what exactly does that mean?

The Manufacturer

Let us break it down for you. When buying a UN certified drum, the entire design of the drum, and all of its components is defined by the test samples. Each element — heads, ring, gasket, bolt, nut, plugs — must meet UN specified requirements. If even one of these components, or the design of the drum itself, doesn’t measure up, the drum is not UN compliant. At Skolnik, we

The initial onus for meeting UN standards is on the manufacturer, but once a UN certified package leaves our hands, it is up the filler to maintain compliance.

The Filler

Users cannot alter or exchange any of these components without it impacting the ability for the drum to perform as tested and certified.

If you were to purchase a UN certified drum with a nut and bolt style closure, but later swap that closure for a Leverlock, this would void the UN certification. At this stage in the container’s lifecycle, it is the fillers responsibility to adhere to UN regulations. If replacement parts are needed, fillers must make sure that they get original components form the original manufacturer that continue to meet the test criteria of that specific drum.

Make sure you always follow Skolnik’s Closure Instructions to verify a proper closure before passing the buck to your shipper.

The Shipper

Once a drum is filled, compliance with the UN certification is the responsibility of the shipper. It is up to the shipper to read the UN code and ensure the container is safely stored or shipped according to its contents.

Remember, no matter where you are in the journey of a container, non-compliance comes with a hefty fine. Fines for non-compliant shipments, of dangerous goods especially, are getting larger and more frequent. For the sake of your employees, facility and community, please keep an eye on evolving regulations and restrictions to ensure your UN certified packaging maintains compliance at every stage.

Corporations Urge DOT to Approve Rule to Harmonize Hazardous Material Handling Regulations

February 16th, 2017 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat, Safety

Earlier this month, 22 corporations and trade associations signed on to a letter addressed to the new Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao. In this letter, the companies plea with Secretary Chao to push through the approval and release of a final hazardous materials safety rule that would harmonize US hazmat shipping regulations with international standards.

The final rule, coded HM-215N, was initially posted on the Federal Register website, but was then rescinded and put on hold per the regulatory freeze imposed by the Trump administration on January 20th.

The letter formally urges Chao to review and approve the rule as soon as possible. Putting the rule into effect will not create any new risks in hazardous material handling or transport, in fact, according to the letter, “it will ensure the U.S. hazardous materials regulations maintain alignment with international standards, thus assuring safety and avoiding disruptions to supply chains.”

As a hazmat storage drum manufacturer, the Skolnik team is aware of the importance of hazmat regulation compliance across the U.S. and abroad. The transportation of dangerous goods is heavily regulated, and rightfully so. Manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, exporters, importers, carriers and industries alike would benefit from the harmonizing of the U.S. HMR with international standards to avoid confusion and maximize safety.

For the sake of hazmat safety and supply chains worldwide, we hope that the DOT resolves this issue quickly. In the meantime, the Skolnik team will continue doing everything in our power to ensure that our clients receive strong, compliant hazmat certified drums for their storage and transport needs.