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

Posts Tagged ‘un certified’

The Dangers of Re-Selling 55-Gallon Drums and Other Industrial Containers

February 8th, 2018 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News, Safety

The 55 gallon steel drum is one of the best-traveled, most-recognized and most-used industrial containers in the world — they are ubiquitous. So, it should come as no surprise that you can get one virtually anywhere. And, in the age of e-tail and on-demand-delivery, it should come as no surprise that people are deal-hunting and ordering industrial drums online. Cutting corners around the OEM and ordering second-hand drums from EBay and Craigslist is incredibly risky and dangerous.

Many of our drums are used to hold chemicals or other flammable materials. If it isn’t properly recycled or reconditioned, but instead just rinsed and allowed to sit, sealed and forgotten for a time being, the fumes and pressure inside can build to an explosion.

Right now, hundreds if not thousands of used and potentially dangerous containers are being sold online.

An article by the Journal Sentinel reported that, “an examination of accidents involving exploding drums and fires found that many occurred in backyards and garages across the country, where buyers weren’t aware of the danger lurking inside.”

And yet, these drums are sold and re-sold on Craigslist or E-Bay with little to no oversight. Some are even being off-loaded without any labels indicating their previous contents may have been dangerous.

No matter how well a used drum has been rinsed and scrubbed, if it was not properly sanitized and reconditioned by an expert manufacturer, it is dangerous. After all, it is not the liquid that was being contained that is dangerous, but the vapors left behind. According to the Sentinel, “As little as two tablespoons of a flammable chemical can create enough fumes in a 55-gallon barrel to explode when ignited by a single spark.”

The Reusable Industrial Packaging Association (RIPA), which represents drum reconditioning companies, is aghast that these containers are being sold without proper oversight and procedure. As leading experts in the business, RIPA is urging consumers and businesses to trust their fellow experts and stick to purchasing industrial containers from OEMs like Skolnik Industries where most reconditioned drums are certified by the UN.

Many of these drums lurking on online shops are being billed as safe, but without proper oversight and regulation there is no way of knowing for sure. It isn’t a risk anyone should be willing to take.

Just because you see 55 gallon drums everywhere doesn’t mean you should buy them anywhere.

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 Are UN Packing Groups?

November 27th, 2017 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Salvage Drum

All of our products here at Skolnik have been rigorously tested to meet every relevant safety standard required for each of their uses. One such regulation standard that containers such as our overpack salvage drums have is a UN marking, providing valuable information about the contents of the drums. While they can be a bit mystifying, we have resources to help answer questions about those markings, and once explained, most of these make sense. Right in the middle of the code there is, however, a letter designation that perhaps needs more elaboration: the X, Y, or Z of the UN Packing Group.

Each letter describes which of groups I, II and III the container is appropriate for. These groups identify the hazard level of the package, with each groups then representing three levels of danger: I is the highest, II is a medium hazard, and III is the lowest rating.Thus, the letter on the salvage drum establishes what level of protection the container provides and what products can be stored in them.

While this letter may be enough information for day to day operations, this leaves one last question still unaddressed: how does the UN determine what is low, medium, and high danger?

The answer to this is found in the very dry and technical Manual of Tests and Criteria, in which UN details their elaborate testing process for various types of materials. Throughout the graphs and charts, one can find that all explosives are assigned to group II. Or if handling flammable liquids, according to the manual, anything that has a flash point greater than 23 degrees Celsius but less than 60.5 degrees is in group III. There are specifications for substances liable to spontaneous combustion, and for ones that, when in contact with water, emit flammable gases. Multiple types of hazards are examined, quantified, and categorized according to how quickly they explode, burn, or corrode.

So, as it turns out, there is elaborate, methodical and thorough science behind these threat-level groups. These categorizations then go on to inform how the materials ought to be stored. While that’s a bit of a reassuring no-brainer, details such as these can easily be overlooked and taken for granted in the hustle and bustle of shipping logistics. Whether you’re trying to decide which Skolnik brand overpack salvage drum is most appropriate for your needs, or have used the same Skolnik brand overpack salvage drum for years, having a fuller appreciation of the container and its components can provide you with the confidence that you’re making the right choices in your business.