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

Posts Tagged ‘un certification’

The Importance of Clarity: Overpack Drums vs. Salvage Drums

August 1st, 2018 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: DOT/UN, Salvage Drum

We can’t overstate how important it is for everyone involved in the shipment or storage of materials to understand the requirements of the situation and materials. In our line of work, part of that is knowing the right drums are used when shipping materials in order to comply with safety standards. These safety standards are important for keeping people safe, but also for avoiding the penalties that come with using defective drums, or the wrong class of drum entirely.

In the past, there has been confusion among manufacturers, customers, and shippers about the difference between Overpack Drums and Salvage Drums. Due to a lack of clarity, and a industry wide game of telephone, Overpack Drums and Salvage Drums were thought of as the same exact products for a while. This, of course, leads to a whole array of problems. First of all, if you were to use an Overpack Drum to do the job of a Salvage Drum, your materials would not be secure. Second, that particular load would certainly not meet DOT or UN standards.

As you would guess, there is a marked difference between Salvage and Overpack. A difference that, while we are sure most everyone in this industry knows, bears repeating — which is why we revisit this topic regularly. Overpack drums are used to hold packages or materials that are still properly sealed and meet safety and shipping regulations on their own, and the drum is used to consolidate materials. Think of them as a second layer of protection, or a handy way to transport multi-pack items. Salvage drums are used to hold leaking, damaged or otherwise compromised and non-compliant packages.

Clarifying every detail of your materials or shipment is important to everyone involved. There are a laundry list of important regulations that protect us, and the environment, but without clarity and strong communication about standards and norms, it is incredibly difficult to follow them and maintain good, safe and compliant business practices.

 

The Basics of UN Drums

July 13th, 2018 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: DOT/UN

Proper packaging is crucial, especially for dangerous goods. Using the wrong container to transport or store your goods can have a disastrous impact on your facility, community, employees and the environment. With countless manufacturers and transportation companies across the globe building and utilizing industrial containers everyday, there needed to be a level of regulation and oversight in the packaging and transportation industry. One of those levels of regulation comes from the United Nations.

For a drum to be UN approved and rated it needs to be built, tested and certified to contain liquid or solid dangerous materials. Only packages that are certified to have passed the UN packaging standard tests may be used to transport dangerous goods.

A few basics on UN drums and the regulations that surround them:

UN drums are tested against drop, stack, leak and pressure standards. UN performance standards are an internationally recognized system of ratings for solids and liquids.

All UN certified drums are marked with a code that indicates the physical nature of the product for which they are suited. This code always starts with the letters “UN” in a circle. This marking is permanent.

There are three dangerous goods packing groups. The first (packing group I) refers to UN Drums and barrels such as those manufactured by Skolnik. This packing group is built to the highest standard.

It is the shipper’s legal duty to select and fill packages correctly. It is also the shipper’s duty to ensure that packages are marked accordingly. Shipping container packers should check that packages are properly marked and, if they are not, should not transport them. But the responsibility of proper selection falls on the shipper.

Do you know what UN rating your materials need? Skolnik can help you understand the UN ratings and guide you to the packaging suited for your use. What’s more, Skolnik UN drums are built stronger and thicker than the industry standards require.

Overpack Salvage Drums not Recommended for Primary Shipment

June 25th, 2018 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Salvage Drum

Salvage drums have long been used as overpacks for the efficient and effective transport of damaged, defective or leaking containers. However, according to the DOT, salvage drums are NOT to be used as a secondary container, or overpack, for a primary shipment.

Rather, an overpack salvage drum should only be used for damaged, defective, leaking or non-compliant packagings that are discovered after having been placed in transportation.

In 1998, the ‘T’ Salvage drum became the United Nations’ recommended salvage packaging for international use. It is most commonly an 85 US gallon capacity. To bear the UN certification, overpack salvage drums are rigorously tested. They must be able to be dropped 1.2 meters (4 feet) on its most critical orientation without leaking and pass a 30 kPa overall Leakproofness Test. However, while they are certified to hold non-compliant packages in transport, the DOT recommends that, once overpacked in a salvage drum, a non-compliant container should be routed to a facility for disposal or re-containment. You can never be too careful.

And remember, traditional overpack drums are designed to protect non-leaking containers or to be used in a combination pack, they are not certified to hold damaged/non-compliant containers.

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.