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

Archive for 2009

Thanks Labelmaster! DGIS IV Was A Great Success!

October 14th, 2009 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat, Industry News

The basis of all regulatory standards is the ability to communicate effective understanding and implementation of the requirements. Nowhere in the world are regulatory inspectors more aggressive than in the US, and nowhere in the world are companies more susceptible to non-compliance fines than in the US. For the last 4 years, Labelmaster has privately hosted the Dangerous Goods Trainer’s Symposium — a gathering of DG trainers from around the world to learn how to communicate and implement hazardous material requirements more effectively. Held just last month in Chicago (from September 23-25, 2009), the Symposium featured guest speakers Bob Richard and Nancy White of PHMSA-DOT, Donna Lepik of Chemtrec, James Gaidry of the Institute of Hazardous Materials Management, Jorge Cardena of the Instituto de Capacitacion International en Carga Aerea in Mexico, Bashyam Govinarajan of Tirwin Management Services in India. In addition, there were a host of Labelmaster staff presentations on dangerous goods initiatives from Jeanne Zmich, Rhonda Jessop, Tracie Cady and Neil McCullach. I was asked to present “A Clear Language Approach to Proper Closure Instructions — How to Interpret and Use Them.”

In addition to the educational aspect of the Symposium, the newly formed Dangerous Goods Trainer’s Association (DGTA) also used the Symposium to offer their DG Training Course and to hold their Board Meeting. The continued success of the meeting is possibly due to the common interest that affords participants a place for embracing creative solutions to emerging issues. Thank you Labelmaster, you gave the gift of learning to all those present.

Regulators Say ‘No’ To Working With Industry

October 14th, 2009 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Associations, DOT/UN, HazMat, Industry News

In a sudden turnaround of the US Department of Transportation, a decade of efforts to work with industry to improve the safe transport of dangerous goods is being brought to an end. Once an Agency that relied on fines to teach compliance, the DOT of the 1960’s – 1980’s used financial penalties as a means to encourage industry to properly manufacture, package, transport and dispose of hazardous materials. In the 1990’s, this method was ultimately deemed an “old school” approach and with the introduction of Performance Oriented Packaging, the DOT set out to improve the education and training of HazMat professionals in both manufacturing and service industries. DOT regulators saw the benefits of teaching industry to proactively “do the right thing” rather than wait for accidents to occur and issue non-compliant fines. Last month, DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) was brought under investigation for their work with industry. DOT has signaled that there will be a return to a less cooperative effort with industry that will return to emphasizing fines, not education. Two organizations which submitted response papers to the Congressional Hearings are the Council on The Safe Transport of Hazardous Articles (COSTHA) and the Dangerous Goods Advisory Council (DGAC). Both organizations represent companies worldwide that collaborate with DOT to improve dangerous goods transport. Noting the accomplishments of PHMSA’s “partnerships with industry,” both the COSTHA Submission and the DGAC Submission are available for review and, in my opinion, offer excellent references to the success of DOT’s past efforts to improve HazMat safety.

Can’t Wait for Wine Drums to Be Manufactured?

October 14th, 2009 by Jason Snow

Filed under: Wine

Even with a less than desirable amount of rain this year, the grape harvest is running rather smoothly for most winemakers. We‘ve done our part to fulfill our stainless wine drum orders on time, but we know that the end of the season is rapidly approaching. If you find that you need 30 or 55 gallon stainless steel wine drums, you can call Skolnik to see if we are able to ship your drums immediately from stock, or check our lead time for custom orders. However, if you don‘t have the ability to wait for us to manufacture and ship the barrels, there’s another option to pursue. The Vintner Vault, located in Paso Robles, California, and Davison Winery Supply, located in McMinnville, Oregon, both stock our standard 55 gallon stainless drum with the 2” Tri-Clover fitting in the center of the body of the drum. Both Vinter and Davison keep an inventory readily available, and are capable of getting drums to customers quickly. Vintner Vault can be contacted at 805-226-8100 – ask for Ryan Horn. Davison’s contact number is 503-472-1711 – ask for Terry Sherwood. Happy Harvesting!

Already Like the Skolnik Web Site? You’re Going to Love Our New One!

September 16th, 2009 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Industry News

The Skolnik web site is, unquestionably, the best industry resource for carbon and stainless steel drum products, detailed resources and technical information. However, this week we launched an even more useful site because we felt we could better organize and simplify the information presented. Go to www.skolnik.com and see our new look — it’s clean, simple and two calls-to-action help you find the products you want or the information you need. It’s that simple!
We’ve created live-links to many sources of our information. This means, for example, that if you are using our CFR Cheat Sheet, just click on a topic and it takes you to the specific CFR regulation. We’ve added calculators which instantly convert length, pressure, temperature, volume, weight/mass and even currency. We’ve updated and grouped our FAQ’s for ordering, shipping, features, testing and quality, and we’ve even added some questions we don’t want to answer. We hope that you will find the new site to be straightforward and uncomplicated. We welcome your comments and suggestions if you believe we’ve missed something!

E-Verify Rule for Federal Contractors Becomes Law

September 15th, 2009 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Industry News

Effective September 8th, 2009, the Federal Acquisition Regulation will require that Federal contractors and sub-contractors use the E-Verify system to electronically verify the employment eligibility and immigration status of their employees. E-Verify is an internet-based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security and the US Citizenship and Immigration Services that allows employers to verify the employment eligibility of their employees, regardless of citizenship.

Requirements for compliance with E-Verify is that: 1) E-Verify must be specified in new or modified Federal contracts, 2) projects must be for more than $100,000 for contractors and more than $3,000 for sub-contractors, and 3) the period of performance must be longer than 120 days. If awarded such a contract, employers can enroll on-line and they will then have 90 days to confirm that all of their new hires and existing employees, who work directly on federal contracts, are legally authorized to work in the United States. If your company is a contractor or sub-contractor of Federal contracts, you will want to investigate your compliance with this new law.

With Roots as Far Back as the 1500’s, New Mexico Winemaking is Coming Back!

September 15th, 2009 by Jason Snow

Filed under: Wine

The state of New Mexico is home to some of Skolnik’s most significant industrial customers, but very few are winemakers. Surprisingly, we recently learned that New Mexico is now considered to be one of the best up-and-coming grape and wine producing regions in the United States. In fact, New Mexico is producing wine that is getting the attention of customers and critics throughout the United States. Another interesting fact about the New Mexico winemaking business is that it is actually one of the oldest wine and grape growing regions in the United States.

Early Spanish settlers were planting grapes and making wine there in the early 1500’s. The wine industry grew through the 1800’s with thousands of wineries, until prohibition put an end to the business. Though New Mexico chose to develop industrially in the 1900’s, they are once again reclaiming their past as a wine producer. As new technology reaches this rich winemaking region, so are the Skolnik stainless steel wine barrels. Our New Mexican customers have chosen Skolnik stainless steel wine drums for the processing and aging stages of wine production. They tell us that these stainless wine barrels have now become essential tools of their wine industry. We’re happy that we’ve been able to participate in the redevelopment of this historic winemaking region.