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

Posts Tagged ‘hazardous material containment’

Amazon’s New Hazardous Product Warehouses

June 18th, 2019 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News

The shipping industry has to take the necessary precautions with hazardous materials to ensure the safety of the packaged materials, environment, handlers and the facilities the packages are being stored in or routed through. There’s no way around it. Any shortcuts could lead to costly disasters. Even if you’re a shipping and fulfillment giant, like Amazon.

According to a recent report, Amazon has decided to build separate warehouses for their hazardous goods. This decision was made after an accident involving a hazardous product in late 2018 resulted in the hospitalization of 25 warehouse workers.

The hazardous material in question? Bear repellent. Immediately following the accident, Amazon not only hit the drawing board to come up with a future solution, they also pulled thousands of cans of bear repellent, pepper spray and similar products from their fulfillment centers for the time being. Moving forward, these products will be in more secure, leak-proof packaging and will only be handled by humans and not the warehouse robots.

Furthermore, Amazon is holding the manufacturers of these products to a higher standard of safety when it comes to the packaging.

The new hazardous material-specific warehouses and fulfillment centers were already in the planning stage when the bear repellent incident occurred, but the accident certainly reinforced the need and escalated the timeline. The first of these warehouses will open this summer.

The new warehouses will boast special sprinkler systems and designated storage areas for flammable products, aerosols and oxidizers. Additionally, the staff at these centers will receive special hazardous material training, particularly on what to do in the case of a spill. As a further precaution, deliveries from these warehouses will be ground-transport only, no planes.

Who is Liable? Hazardous Material Drums and Storage

August 9th, 2018 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: HazMat

You can never be too careful when dealing with hazardous waste, especially when discarding it. Businesses whose work produces hazardous waste as a byproduct must store it properly onsite in hazardous waste drums or other certified containers until it can be removed by hazmat professionals. While the waste is onsite at their business it’s their responsibility, and any mishaps would be blamed on them. However, once the waste is finally taken away to a storage site, these businesses remain in a tenuous situation. Despite the fact that the waste is no longer on their property or within their care, these business owners can still be held liable if something happens at the storage site.

As stipulated in the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) there are four reasons a business can get in trouble for their hazardous waste:

  1. Hazardous wastes are present at a facility
  2. There is a release, or possibility of a release of these hazardous substances
  3. Response costs have been or will be incurred
  4. The defendant is a liable party

In addition, there are four classes of liable parties:

  1. Current owners and operators of a facility
  2. Past owners and operators of a facility at the time hazardous waste had been disposed
  3. Generators and parties that arranged for the disposal or transport of the hazardous substances
  4.  Transporters of hazardous waste that selected the site where the hazardous substances were brought.

Based on these regulations, businesses who hire others to dispose of their hazardous waste can still be found liable for regulations broken by a completely separate party.

Our advice is to do extensive research about prospective hazmat partners. Look into storage quality, trustworthiness of disposal company, and longevity of both. Find hazardous waste drums that are reliable and durable and a partner company who knows their stuff, so you can feel confident that your materials are being stored properly and you won’t get hit with penalties 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.

What Are UN Packing Groups?

November 27th, 2017 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Salvage Drum

All of our products here at Skolnik have been rigorously tested to meet every relevant safety standard required for each of their uses. One such regulation standard that containers such as our overpack salvage drums have is a UN marking, providing valuable information about the contents of the drums. While they can be a bit mystifying, we have resources to help answer questions about those markings, and once explained, most of these make sense. Right in the middle of the code there is, however, a letter designation that perhaps needs more elaboration: the X, Y, or Z of the UN Packing Group.

Each letter describes which of groups I, II and III the container is appropriate for. These groups identify the hazard level of the package, with each groups then representing three levels of danger: I is the highest, II is a medium hazard, and III is the lowest rating.Thus, the letter on the salvage drum establishes what level of protection the container provides and what products can be stored in them.

While this letter may be enough information for day to day operations, this leaves one last question still unaddressed: how does the UN determine what is low, medium, and high danger?

The answer to this is found in the very dry and technical Manual of Tests and Criteria, in which UN details their elaborate testing process for various types of materials. Throughout the graphs and charts, one can find that all explosives are assigned to group II. Or if handling flammable liquids, according to the manual, anything that has a flash point greater than 23 degrees Celsius but less than 60.5 degrees is in group III. There are specifications for substances liable to spontaneous combustion, and for ones that, when in contact with water, emit flammable gases. Multiple types of hazards are examined, quantified, and categorized according to how quickly they explode, burn, or corrode.

So, as it turns out, there is elaborate, methodical and thorough science behind these threat-level groups. These categorizations then go on to inform how the materials ought to be stored. While that’s a bit of a reassuring no-brainer, details such as these can easily be overlooked and taken for granted in the hustle and bustle of shipping logistics. Whether you’re trying to decide which Skolnik brand overpack salvage drum is most appropriate for your needs, or have used the same Skolnik brand overpack salvage drum for years, having a fuller appreciation of the container and its components can provide you with the confidence that you’re making the right choices in your business.