Focusing on international shippers and freight agents, the US Customs Service has established a security program to manage the huge share of goods that move by surface modes. The effort has won widespread support from shippers, carriers and forwarders as it focuses at the point where government oversight and commercial supply chains intersect. The Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) is a joint effort between industry and the US government. For meeting enhanced security criteria, shippers will face fewer cargo inspections, faster border clearance times and account-based import processing. Some of the enhanced security issues will include: assessing the security of cargo and the facilities, checking the background of vendors and employees, providing security inspections of product safety, data and documentation, and implementing a self-diagnostics compliance program that includes security policies and procedures. To find out more about C-TPAT or to understand how C-TPAT will affect your organization, visit C-TPAT for more specific information.
Drum It Up! Steel Drum Industry News, Trends, and Issues
Archive for 2002
When buying a UN specification drum, the entire design of the drum and all its components (heads, ring, gasket, bolt, nut, plugs) are defined in the certification testing. All of these elements are incorporated into a drum type that must meet a test standard, and thus, users cannot alter or exchange any of these components as it might impact the ability for the drum to perform as certified. If a filler were to change the ring from a bolt style to a leverlock or even change the gasket type, this would void the UN certification for the container. If replacement parts are needed, fillers must make sure that they contact the manufacturer and get original parts that meet the test criteria of that specific drum. Once the drum is filled, compliance with the UN certification is the responsibility of the shipper.
Last month, we erroneously reported that 97% of the DOT inspections were the result of employee complaints, and to this, the DOT (US – Dept. of Transportation) contacted us to correct this number. In fact, less than 5% of inspections are generated from complaints. The vast majority of inspections are generated from numerous databases including packaging manufacturers, reconditioners, cylinder retesters, past incidents, shipper registrations, observations of packages in commerce, re-inspections of previous civil penalty actions, exemption and approval holders, 3rd party testing labs and many other in-field activities and incidents. The good news is that DOT is out in the field validating the integrity of our safe and secure transit system.
Tis‘ the season when we all turn on our furnaces, close up the windows and seek warmth from within. However, each year, it is critical to check out the exhaust performance of your furnace flues and chimneys. Carbon Monoxide, a dangerous silent killer, is prevalent in many of our homes and can be responsible for affecting or taking the lives of our loved ones. Whether in a single family home or an apartment/condo, check to see that you have a Carbon Monoxide Detector (they are about $20.00), that the battery is operational, and have your furnace and flue cleaned out annually….even if you do not have a fireplace! Please make this, and many more, a Happy Holiday Season!
The debate over appropriate metal thickness for steel drums has turned a corner as a result of our increased concerns about reducing risks and increasing safety. Since the adoption of Performance Oriented Standards, it has been up to the drum manufacturer to establish their own guidelines for the metal thickness used in their United Nations (UN) and US Department of Transportation (DOT) approved packaging. Often claiming that the metal thickness can be reduced and drums can still pass the certification tests, the thinner walled drum does not offer any margin of error for in-transit damage (which is the #1 reason for drum failure). Forever a proponent of reducing the risk of in-transit damage, SKOLNIK drums are known for being thicker, heavier and stronger than others in the field. This is due to the purchasing specifications that we apply to our steel. Even within a gauge, metal thickness can vary up to 10%, and therefore, we purchase steel that is on the high side of every gauge. We know we are unusual since many of our steel suppliers question why we don‘t buy steel "like the other drum manufacturers." And to this, we respond "it is not worth the pennies of saving to buy thinner steel and cause our customers to use drums that merely meet the UN/DOT certifications. Skolnik has a reputation for making a premium product and using thicker steel is just one example of the way we source our raw materials."
Closure Instructions for steel drums require that the ‘art’ of closing a steel drum be translated into technical instruction. These instructions are written without any DOT guidelines but must indicate the measures necessary in order to properly secure a package for transport. Recently, the DOT stated that they do expect Closure Instructions to include some reference to torque capacities. Be sure that your Steel Drum supplier is providing Closure Instructions that meet the requirements of CFR 178.2(c) and that you have the tools on hand necessary to comply with these instructions. Verify that you have current SKOLNIK Closure Instructions for your SKOLNIK containers at: www.skolnik.com/pages/closure.html.