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

Posts Tagged ‘hazardous materials’

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!

Who Certifies the UN Certified Packaging?

December 19th, 2017 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat

Here at Skolnik, every material, design, and production process is carefully engineered to meet the safety standards set forth by the various regulatory bodies that keep a watchful eye on our industry. One such organization is the UN’s Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, the group in charge of the UN Certified Packaging label seen on many of our barrels. While we have written articles translating label components and even unpacking  specific elements, we have not yet examined who dictates these stringent standards.

The UN’s Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods is a subsidiary the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Established in 1946, the ECOSOC is one of the six principal organs of the UN, along with such bodies as the General Assembly and Security Council. The ECOSOC has under it number of commissions which it coordinates, such as the Commission on Human Rights and the Commission on the Status of Women. One of the region-focused agencies is the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE). The ECE actually works with many countries not only in Europe, but across North America and Asia as well. It is within this commission that you’ll find the Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals, aka the people in charge of the certified packaging label.

Quite a circuitous path through bureaucracy, but the committee is important for transportation regulations. In fact, the other major document they’re in charge of, the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS), is an important building block for UN Certified Packaging. The GHS is the UN’s document that puts forth a set of consistent classifications and labelings for chemicals that is used internationally so that countries working with one another can communicate efficiently and accurately across geographic and lingual borders.

In turn, this common chemical language comes in handy when it comes to classifying and categorizing the packaging in which they can be stored. So, while there is plenty that the committee does, it all is in the service of ensuring the safe transportation of potentially dangerous products.

Despite the relative obscurity of the organisation behind UN Certified Packaging, they play a very important role in the everyday operation of many different industries. We here at Skolnik certainly are grateful for the time, energy, and expertise they’ve put into giving our customers the peace of mind with the label we put on our products. Thanks UN!

What Exactly IS The Transportation Index?

August 17th, 2017 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News

There are a number of decisions and calculations involved in the safe transportation of potentially dangerous radioactive materials. Along with considerations such as selecting the right containers (our 7A Type A Drums are great choice for many of these shipping solutions), a crucial rating is the Transportation Index (TI).

Despite its importance, it’s easy to lose the definition of the Transportation Index (TI) among the deluge of terminology, ratings, and regulations. It’s a daunting task to keep track of it all. If you see “TI”, and know that it means “___ sticker goes on the drum,” but would like to fully understand what the term refers to, here is a quick explainer:

The TI is a measurement of radiation that is considered when shipping radioactive material. It does not, however, reflect any relationship with a human body or any maximum safe dose regulations. Rather, it is the measurement of the maximum dose of radiation you would receive one meter away from a package containing radioactive material.

This measurement is then utilized in conjunction with the metrics that establish which colored label a container requires. If a container has a white “Radioactive I” label, no Transportation Index is necessary because these packages produce a negligible reading at one meter. For a package with a yellow “Radioactive II” label, the TI must not exceed 0.01 mSv h-1, and packages with a yellow “Radioactive III” label have a TI that exceeds 0.01 mSv h-1.

There are additional rules for packages that are shipped together. In general, if multiple radioactive packages are being transported together in a common carrier vehicle, the sums of the TIs for all packages must not exceed 0.5 mSv h-1. However, if the vehicle is being used exclusively for the transport of radioactive material, the TI allowances are increased.

These are only a few of the rules and regulations that use the transportation index as a factor. Always consult with the Department of Transportation to make sure you’re fully compliant. However, we hope this helps provide some clarity as you navigate the rules surrounding shipping radioactive materials. Armed with the right information, and perhaps a Skolnik 7A drum, should make the task less intimidating.

The UN System for Dangerous Goods Packaging

August 10th, 2017 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat, Safety

Skolnik steel barrels are all UN tested for their contents/purpose. If a manufacturer or shipper fails to comply with UN standards, they could face hefty fines, litigation and more. It is always important for manufacturers to adhere to UN regulations, but for dangerous goods packaging the stakes are even higher because, in addition to a fine, failure to comply with UN standards for dangerous goods packaging could lead to a spill, disaster or contamination. But what does this mean? How does the United Nations affect packaging regulations?

The UN system for dangerous goods packaging is universally used and recognized. The system is used to classify, package, mark and label dangerous goods to facilitate their safe transport. All national and international regulations governing road, rail, sea and air transport are based on the United Nations’ system. With all manufacturers, suppliers and transport professionals following a single set of rules, the chances of contamination are greatly reduced.

The regulations dictate a minimum standard of performance. These performance standards are based on the intended contents of a package. Packages must exceed these standards before they can be authorized to contain and transport dangerous goods. The UN system starts with a sort of checklist of general criteria and specifications that the design of packages must meet. The packages then undergo rigorous physical testing before receiving UN certification.

At Skolnik, we pride ourselves in consistently engineering and manufacturing steel drums that exceed the UN certification criteria for dangerous goods and other uses. Our industrial packaging is designed and tested to be thicker, heavier and stronger than the industry standard, and our dangerous goods packaging is no different.