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

Posts Tagged ‘hazmat shipping’

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.

Why Use Steel for Salvage Drums?

January 23rd, 2017 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: HazMat, Salvage Drum

Salvage drums are containers designed and certified to hold other damaged, leaking or non-compliant containers. The drums are heavily regulated by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and rightfully so — nobody wants leaking containers holding hazardous goods to be shipped across public roads. While salvage drums can legally be made of steel, polyethylene, aluminum or metal, we recommend steel salvage drums over other materials.

The reason is fairly obvious: steel is stronger.

Salvage drums and overpack salvage drums differ from ordinary overpack drums in their certification to carry and protect damaged or leaking containers. Overpacks are designed to protect non-leaking containers or to be used as a combination pack.

While every salvage drum must pass, at a minimum, standard UN performance requirements for drums shipping solids as well as a 3 psi air leak proof test, Skolnik steel salvage drums go above and beyond. Our salvage drums are thicker, heavier and stronger than industry and DOT standards require.

Our steel salvage drums constructed of high quality carbon steel and are rigorously tested to ensure UN and DOT compliance. Our 85 gallon salvage drums are even T-rated, meaning they have passed the UN ‘T’ test allowing it to hold liquid or solid materials. This test and rating were created to give shippers the confidence that their damaged drum will be securely contained, even if it is holding liquid.

Federal law doesn’t require shippers to use steel salvage drums. However, when considering the safety of the environment and population, steel provides a peace of mind that other materials cannot.

The fines for non-compliance are almost as brutal as the certification tests themselves. Whether out of concern for the community or for your own good standing with the DOT, safe containment and transport of dangerous goods is not an area to skimp on.

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.