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

Archive for 2011

HazMat Fines: More Common, More Expensive!

October 11th, 2011 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat, Industry News

Fines for non-compliant shipments of dangerous goods are getting larger and more frequent.

Only recently, Jones International Groups, Inc. agreed to pay EPA $17,000 for failing to comply with requirements related to the export of universal waste – spent lead-acid batteries — to Hong Kong through the Port of Portland in Oregon. Quality Carriers, Inc. will pay more than $46,000 to settle hazardous chemical reporting violations at its facility in Kent, Washington, for storing large amounts of hydrogen peroxide above threshold planning quantities without properly reporting it to the Kent Fire Department, King County Local Emergency Planning Committee, and the state emergency response commission. The DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced $3,876,000.00 in fines against American Welding & Tank, LLC (AWT) of Fremont, Ohio for violating federal hazardous materials safety standards. The company was fined for manufacturing and selling unsafe nurse tanks — a type of cargo tank used to store and transport anhydrous ammonia, a hazardous material used in farming operations.

But the fine that is the most astounding is that Logitech was fined $261,000 for making unsubstantiated pesticide claims for its computer keyboards. The company incorporated a silver compound designed to protect a keyboard against deterioration, then marketed the keyboard as protecting the user from bacteria and microbes. To promote such benefits for that use a company must have the product tested, then registered by the EPA. Products that kill or repel bacteria or germs and/or claim to do so are considered pesticides, and must be registered with the EPA before their sale or distribution, pursuant to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). EPA will not register a pesticide until it has been tested to show that it will not pose an unreasonable risk when used according to the directions.

Super Sonoman Testing Seamless Stainless Barrels

October 10th, 2011 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Wine

We are always excited to hear when our winery friends and customers have big news, and that is exactly what we are hearing about our friends at Super Sonoman. Winemaker Chris Taddei is making big waves in the wine world with his amazing artisanal wines. It began with his desire to make the best Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County has ever produced. The diverse geology of Sonoma County and its topography have made it the ideal location to make world class wine for years but the grapes that are most often associated with the region have been Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Zinfandel to name a few. If you were looking for an elegant, age-worthy Cabernet Sauvignon however, the choice was easy, go to the Napa Valley. Super Sonoman is now bringing wine lovers another choice. The first grapes were harvested in October of 2003 and they now have the first four vintages in the bottle and two vintages in barrel. Chris is now experimenting with Skolnik’s new 55 GALLON SEAMLESS STAINLESS STEEL WINE BARREL with the CREVICE FREE INTERIOR. We can’t wait to try what Super Sonoman releases next, their wines truly are in a class of all their own.

Nearly Naked Passenger Sues for Rights Violation

September 16th, 2011 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Industry News, Safety

Airport security has been a delicate issue for many years. As a frequent flyer, I know that I must hold back my frustration of partially undressing and having to walk barefoot, or in my socks, through a security machine or pat down. Few travelers dare to question the process. However, Aaron Tobey, 21, of Charlottesville, Va., a student at the University of Cincinnati, was passing through Virginia’s Richmond International Airport on December 30, 2010 when he opted-out of going through the full body scanner. He was instead seeking an enhanced pat down. When he went through security, he took off his pants and shirt to reveal the Fourth Amendment written on his chest in magic marker. He went there knowing he would not do the advanced imaging and instead do the pat-down. Tobey was handcuffed and briefly held on charges of disorderly conduct. A federal civil rights lawsuit was filed on his behalf, claiming Tobey’s First and Fourth Amendment rights were violated. The lawsuit was filed by the Rutherford Institute, a civil liberties group.

During the last week of August 2011, U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson threw out most of Tobey’s claims, but agreed to proceed with charges that his free-speech rights were violated.
The judge also rejected the equal protection and search-and-seizure claims against the TSA screening officers who summoned police, but said it was premature to dismiss the free-speech claim. The final outcome and charges are yet unknown. Bizarre behavior continues to plague our security screening which, by its design and implementation, does, sometimes, cause travelers to act out their frustrations.

Top Educators Offer HazMat Lithium Battery Shipment Illegally

September 13th, 2011 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: HazMat, Safety

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing a $175,000 civil penalty against the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for alleged violations of Department of Transportation Hazardous Materials Regulations. The FAA alleges that MIT offered a fiberboard box containing 33 electronic devices to FedEx for transportation by air from Cambridge to Seattle on Aug. 25, 2009. Each electronic device consisted of a lithium battery attached to a circuit board and tube-like container. The package was discovered with smoke and flames coming from it while it was moving on a conveyor at the FedEx sorting facility in Medford, Mass. Two of the devices in the package heated and melted, which caused the surrounding cushioning and packaging to catch fire. Because the package was not properly labeled and marked, Federal Express employees did not know the shipment contained hazardous material. They made several unsuccessful attempts to extinguish the flames with a fire extinguisher.

Specifically, the batteries were not packaged in a manner that would prevent a short-circuit that could create sparks or generate a dangerous quantity of heat. MIT allegedly offered the box when it was not packaged, marked, classed, described, labeled or in condition for shipment as required by regulations. The airbill accompanying the shipment specifically stated the shipment did not contain dangerous goods. In addition, the FAA alleges MIT employees were not properly trained and tested to handle hazardous material. MIT is allowed to negotiate the FAA fine.

SIP Certified: Sustainability in Practice

September 8th, 2011 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Wine

On a recent trip to California we happened to notice many wine bottles touting the “SIP” Certified Seal — Sustainability in Practice. The certification program evolved from nearly two decades of effort to understand and implement sustainable farming practices, such as soil conservation, pest management, water quality, and special attention paid to biodiversity and habitat. When one finds the SIP seal on a bottle of wine, you can be assured that growers are preserving and protecting the natural environment, treating their employees and community with care, and have sound business practices with a long-term view that protects both the present and future. Third party auditors confirm adherence to the strict standards. This “Gold Standard” program was developed with the input of experts from the Environmental Protection Agency, National Resources Defense Council, university advisors, community and environmental organizations, and adapts and improves as practices evolve. SIP seals are now appearing across the country at select grocery stores, membership warehouses, wine stores and restaurants. Not only do we think this is a great idea, but we are happy to see that several of our stainless steel barrel customers have made the list!

PHMSA Launches Online Database of HazMat Incident Reports

August 9th, 2011 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has launched an online database of hazardous materials incident summary reports. The annual and 10-year summary reports include the number of incidents related to specific causes, the number of injuries or fatalities, as well the cost of damages. For instance, while California, Texas, Illinois and Ohio have the most incidents of the 50 states, Texas is #1 for having the most deaths or major injuries, the most hospitalized injuries and the most non-hospitalized injuries. By far, most HazMat transportation incidents that result in injury occur at the unloading portion of the transport experience. Users of this database can download up-to-date, useful information from the database because it is updated on a nightly basis and the data can be sorted based on the details of the incident. The creation of this database streamlines the delivery of this information to the public and continues PHMSA’s commitment to increased Government transparency. The database can be accessed on the PHMSA website.