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

Posts Tagged ‘epa’

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.

Resources for Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma Aid

September 14th, 2017 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: DOT/UN, Industry News, Safety

Just as relief efforts began to bring aid to those affected by Hurricane Harvey, the country needed to brace itself for a second storm, Hurricane Irma. Hurricane Irma was a vicious storm that added to the already enormous amount of damage, loss of business, and disruption to thousands of lives Harvey has caused. Consequently, we here at Skolnik want to make sure our friends and clients have the resources at hand to make informed, effective decisions for their businesses as they respond to these disasters now and going forward.

First and foremost, the Department of Transportation has a page of useful links regarding emergency declarations and information on how the DOT and various other departments are handling these disasters. They also have information on all restrictions, delays and permits for all types of transportation, including ships, planes, railways, and trucking.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has also released a response to Harvey, including information on special and emergency permits, as well as important phone numbers regarding emergency hazardous materials transportation:

  • Hazardous Materials Information Center: 800-467-4922
  • Approvals and Permits Division: 202-366-4535
  • Office of Pipeline Safety: 202-366-4595

Along with these industry-specific updates, organizations such as FEMA and the EPA have more general, up-to-date information for those affected by these two storms.

For those who are not directly in the path of Harvey and Irma, there certainly are ways to help. One of the most effective means of support is supporting the non-for profits with boots already on the ground. NPR has a great list of both national and local organizations helping in those affected by Harvey, with information regarding Irma undoubtedly soon to follow. Any one of these organizations would appreciate any and all donations so they can continue their work, helping those who need it.

From 5 gallon stainless steel barrels of wine to 110 gallon 7A Type A drums for radioactive materials, Skolnik provides packaging for a wide variety of business. No matter the industry, regardless of proximity to the storm, we hope you all stayed safe last weekend and remain safe as we go into this weekend. To those of you affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, we hope for a speedy recovery for you, your businesses, and all of your loved ones.

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.

Choosing the Right Drum: Hazardous Materials

October 29th, 2015 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat

Most materials shipped or stored throughout the world are contained in a steel drum. This includes hazardous materials or dangerous goods. And at Skolnik, we take proper hazmat containment seriously.

Choosing the right drum for the job is always important, but when it comes to hazardous materials, that importance may be tenfold.

There are many questions to consider when determining the proper container for hazardous material:

  • What type of steel should I use?
  • What size drum do I need?
  • Should the drum be lined?
  • If so, what type of liner should I use? Epoxy-phenolic, 100% clear phenolic or pigmented phenolic?
  • How will the materials be transported?
  • What requirements must be met to safely and legally transport my container on train, truck, sea or air?
  • What certifications does my container require? UN certification? OSHA? EPA? DOT? All of the above?

With so many things to consider when shipping or storing hazardous goods, it can be daunting to get the job done. But at Skolnik, we can help. When you’re shipping hazardous materials, it is your responsibility as the shipper that your contents are properly classified, packaged and labeled, so take care and ask questions to ensure that we can provide you with the right container for your needs. Asking questions up front can save time, money and lives when it comes to the transport or storage of your materials.

Reduce risk and avoid incident with proper hazmat containment. Talk to a Skolnik Industries representative to ensure your contents, facilities, transport vehicles, employees and anyone who may come in contact with your materials are kept safe and protected throughout your containers storage or transport.