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

Posts Tagged ‘hazmat classes’

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.

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.

Safety And Hazmat Control First!

July 22nd, 2016 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: HazMat

Skolnik Industries has always been a manufacturer that gets the job done. We work with our clients, new and old, to create products that best fit their needs. We engineer and manufacture special, customized drums. And, as safety regulations and restrictions evolve, Skolnik evolves. In addition to the more “obvious” uses of steel drums, Skolnik also have products for a variety of ever-changing safety and hazmat needs.

For example, Skolnik provides products that support the safe transport and disposal of dangerous goods and hazardous materials that are regulated by the DOT and hazardous waste containers for the long term burial of regulated nuclear and radioactive by-products.

Furthermore, Skolnik recently passed the certification for ISO 2009:2015. In addition to our existing Nuclear Quality Assurance (NQA) quality program, we have embraced these new ISO standards as the Business Management System (BMS) to guide the company’s performance and quality control moving forward.

Skolnik serves clients in a variety of industries and we certainly don’t play favorites. However, when we help a client properly contain, transport or dispose of hazardous materials, we like to think that in addition to helping our client, we’re helping the entire population of the planet.

Whether you’re in the aerospace, wine or pharmaceutical industry, your safety is always our top priority – and the proper management of any potentially hazardous materials is a key component to your business and communities ongoing safety.

A Brief Look at U.N. and DOT Hazmat Packaging Classes & Codes

March 31st, 2016 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat

Skolnik drums are built thicker, stronger and heavier to exceed industry standards and ensure an unrivaled level of quality and U.N. packaging compliance. Laws and regulations governing the use, handling, shipping and storage of hazardous materials differ depending on the intended transport or activity of the material and the material itself. It can be a lot to keep track of, but at Skolnik, we keep a steady hand on the pulse of DOT and UN Packaging regulations so our customers can rest assured that their containers are compliant and their materials, facilities and staff are safe.

DOT and UN regulations are particularly stringent when it comes to hazardous materials. The term hazardous material, or hazmat, is used almost exclusively in the United States. Internationally, these materials are known as “dangerous goods.” Dangerous goods are any solid, liquid or gas that can harm people, other living organisms, property or the environment.

There are numerous organizations tasked with governing the use, storage and, especially, the transportation of dangerous goods. Some of the most widely applied and adhered to regulations come from The Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods of the UN Economic and Social Council and the appropriate regional or international transportation agency (e.g. the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Maritime Organization and/or our very own U.S. Department of Transportation).

The U.S. DOT follows the UN regulation model, dividing dangerous goods into nine classes, sub divisions and requiring such materials to be properly labeled and transported in specific packaging. The major UN hazard classes are as follows:

  • Explosives

  • Gases

  • Flammable Liquids

  • Flammable Solids

  • Oxidizers and Organic Peroxides

  • Toxic Materials and Infectious Substances

  • Radioactive Materials

  • Corrosives

  • Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods

Trailers and transport containers are usually marked with a four digit UN code number indicating the nature of their contents to any first responders in case of emergency. Not all countries use precisely the same label and coding protocol in their national regulations, so it is important to refer to the Dangerous Goods Transportation Regulations of the country of interest to ensure your materials are properly labeled and packaged. At Skolnik, UN packaging and compliance is always a top priority. You can be confident that if it is a Skolnik barrel, it will meet all necessary DOT and UN regulations and then some.