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

Posts Tagged ‘hazmat certified’

The DOD Addresses its Hazmat Transportation Issues

August 31st, 2017 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: HazMat

According to a recent study from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Department of Defense (DOD) has started efforts to correct the root causes that have caused the improper documentation and packaging of HAZMAT in the U.S. in past years. While this is certainly a positive and promising development, and the DOD is taking GAO’s advice on the issue, it is too early to tell how effective any changes will be.

Back in 2014, the GAO found such inefficiencies as improper documentation and packaging of hazardous materials, which lead to delays of about 27 percent more hazardous materials received at major domestic military airports than in the past 5 years. Additionally, the DOD was determining which carriers were eligible to transport its most-sensitive HAZMAT shipments using a safety score that lacked sufficient. In a 2015 report, the DOD studied these issues, agreed with GAO, and found that the main issues in their transportation practices were documentation-related issues, as well as human error such as inadequate reporting.

At the time, the GAO had also asked the DOD to examine their use of Transportation Protective Services (TPS) for shipments that could have used less costly methods. The DOD claimed they utilized TPS infrequently on shipments for which they weren’t required; only 518 of more than 31,000 HAZMAT shipments. However, in their report, GAO noted that the DOD didn’t disclose what led them to use TPS, and claimed that the DOD could have saved $126,000 of unnecessary costs.

While the DOD and GAO agree on what corrective actions to take, such as establishing ways to prevent future unnecessary uses of TPS, the gears of bureaucracy are slow turning. Most actions were not implemented until late in 2016, and their efficacy will not be assessable until late 2017.

Considering that the DOD contracts about 90% of their HAZMAT shipments out to commercial carriers, the final assessment of how well these changes work will certainly have an impact on any future business with the Department of Defense.

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.

Overpack Container Regulations At-A-Glance

January 5th, 2017 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat, Salvage Drum

An overpack drum is a type of protective packaging manufactured to contain non-hazardous or hazardous materials or provide outer protection for another container to prevent or mitigate damage. At its most basic definition, an overpack is simply a large container in which another smaller container can be placed. Overpacks can be made out of any material — such as Skolnik’s steel overpack drums. The Department of Transportation (DOT) regulates the movement of all hazardous materials and have specific performance standards that overpack containers must meet.

Not to be confused with Salvage Drums or Salvage Overpack Drums, Overpacks are designed to protect non-leaking containers or to be used as a combination pack.

Because they are designed to provide additional protection, they are built stronger and must meet more stringent requirements than other containers.

So what are a few of those regulations?

  • Overpack containers must always have a UN marking on them that specifies the type of hazardous materials it is certified to contain.
  • An overpack will never have a liquids rating because it is designed to hold another container — a solid. Regardless of what the inner package contains, the overpack technically contains a solid.
  • The container inside an overpack must be intact — if the container is damaged, defective or leaking you must use a salvage drum.

Salvage drums, on the other hand, are certified to hold damaged, leaking or non-compliant containers and are held to even stricter regulations than overpack drums.

These are just a high level overview of the DOT’s overpack regulations. Remember that preparing hazardous materials for shipment can be complicated, and safety and compliance are key. Reserve the task of packing your hazardous materials for someone who has the appropriate DOT hazmat shipping training.

Skolnik Industries TIH (PIH) Overpack Drums range from a 20 gallon overpack to an 85 gallon overpack drum and are certified according to UN criteria and qualify as secure outer packaging. If you have any questions about using an overpack or salvage drum, don’t hesitate to ask your Skolnik representative.