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

Archive for 2014

Hazardous Waste Containment: An Icon of Modern Video Games

December 30th, 2014 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: HazMat

Some might find the bounty of hazardous waste containers in daily life a little surprising or even concerning. But, the fact of the matter is there are many industries that generate hazardous wastes and seeing HazMat drums here and there is commonplace. There are few better ways to illustrate the proliferation of HazMat barrels than in the media. TV shows, films and video games contain a preponderance of hazardous drums and viewers are so used to seeing them, we don’t think twice.

The use of barrels in video games is especially interesting. Whether they are being thrown at you by a giant ape or are merely in the background, barrels and drums can be spotted in almost every video game and gamers know exactly what to do with them. Obviously, if they are being hurled at you by Donkey Kong, you jump, but in other games they are usually used for one of three things: storage or discovery of items, cover from enemy fire, and/or as a weapon. HazMat drums are used for the latter.

While we don’t recommend or condone purposefully exploding a barrel of toxic waste in real life, it is a real handy trick in video games – and second-nature to all regular gamers. In the tutorial portion of a relatively new XBox game, Sunset Overdrive, a booming voice coaches new players on controls and tips for the game. When he points out the brightly painted HazMat drums littering the game’s world the player character interrupts with “Yeah, yeah, I know what to do,” and shoots a drum, causing an explosion. Accuracy aside, it’s a delightful entertaining and meta moment, and also a testament to the iconography of HazMat containers in media and their prevalence in day to day life.

All of that said, not all hazardous materials are combustible and not all HazMat containers will explode if hit with gunfire, but we still don’t recommend testing that every time you come across a drum.

Celebrating Quality at Skolnik

December 29th, 2014 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Industry News, Skolnik Newsletter

Practicing quality is a daily staple at Skolnik, but celebrating quality comes but once a year. Connected to the World Quality Day program, we dedicate one day each November to enrich and support the quality culture that exists at Skolnik. Driven by our Nuclear Quality Assurance program (NQA-1), the attention to detail is critical in all facets of our manufacturing process. On Quality Day, we bring the international connection to Skolnik and link up with customers, vendors, guests and the entire Skolnik staff – factory, office, sales and maintenance. Organized by Stephanie Bravo, Skolnik’s Quality Manager, this year’s theme was Building a Quality World Together and presentations were given by our Warehouse Manager, Bob Kicmal, and Purchasing Manager, Josh Ford. All Skolnik employees attended unique quality training programs, saw demonstrations of best quality practices and shared a lunch together with all presenters and guests. By the end of World Quality Day we have more employees communicating with each other and taking an even higher degree of pride in their work. Check out our pictures from Quality Day here, and see why quality at Skolnik is a celebration!

8 Year Old Invents a Self-Cleaning HazMat Suit

December 16th, 2014 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: HazMat, Industry News, Safety, Skolnik Newsletter

For years, we’ve been promoting the career path of the Hazardous Materials Professional. HazMat is a global industry in which most participants are educated in a related, or totally unrelated field, but no one has a professional HazMat degree. As such, HazMat problems are often the result of chemists, physicists, lawyers, accountants and, yes, even architects, coming together to find solutions to unique, life threatening situations. A case in point is a recent interview with an 8-year-old boy in Mahwah, New Jersey that, with the help of his parents, invented a self-cleaning HazMat Suit to prevent the spread of Ebola. The invention was part of a National Museum of Education competition and won first place! The suit is made from pockets filled with a disinfecting solution. The pockets are inflated using a hand pump, forcing disinfectant out of small holes, killing the virus on the suit.

Check out the video interview with 8-year-old Mark Leschinsky and hear the story of his invention.

Also, if you are interested in taking the HazMat professional career concept to a local school or social gathering, you can view our own Hazmat Awareness presentation. This presentation is also available on DVD. Please email howard@skolnik.com to receive a free copy.

What’s New at Unified 2015

December 9th, 2014 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

The annual Unified Wine and Grape Symposium scheduled for Jan. 27-29 is expected to draw at least 14,000 attendees, making it the largest wine and grape trade show in North America and the largest event Sacramento hosts each year. Building on the popularity of features introduced in 2014, the Program Development Committee for the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium has once again planned a keynote luncheon and guided tours of the trade show floor. Keynote speaker and business operations Jackson Family Wines president Rick Tigner was named speaker for the keynote luncheon first launched in 2014. (The inaugural speaker was Jerry Baldwin, former owner of Peet’s Coffee and co-founder of Starbucks.) Tigner owns an 80-acre vineyard, makes his own wine and worked at Miller Brewing Co., Gallo and Louis M. Martini before joining Kendall-Jackson in 1991. Tigner was named president of Jackson Family Wines, which has more than 30 wine brands spanning four continents, in March 2011. Programming for the 2015 Unified Wine & Grape Symposium shows increased emphasis on opportunities for Spanish-language speakers. On Jan. 29, organizers will offer three educational sessions en Español. It’s a program that has been in the works over the past several years. The first Spanish session, Red Varietal Blenders: What’s Hot and Why, is a joint grapegrowing and winemaking panel discussion that includes a tasting. Leticia Chacón-Rodríguez, director of operations for Safe Harbor Wines, will moderate a panel including representatives from Jackson Family Wines, Treasury Wine Estates, Deerfield Ranch Winery and Turkovich Family Wines. The session will focus on red wine cultivars not often labeled as varietal wines and detail how to control vigor, manage cluster size and maximize yields. Next, winemaking and grapegrowing sessions will run concurrently, with each of them focusing on ways to save water. In the grapegrowing session, Francisco Araujo of Atlas Vineyard Management will moderate a panel called Water Application Efficiency and Vine Response to Irrigation. Speaking with Cecilia Aguero from UC Davis and Martin Mendez-Costabel of E. & J. Gallo Winery, Araujo will discuss grapevine physiology and the latest technology for irrigation. Cristina de la Presa of E. & J. Gallo Winery will talk with Anibal Catania of UC Davis and Sir Walter Jorge from Gallo about developing water strategies and adding water to high-Brix must. To learn more about registration, educational sessions and the trade show at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, visit unifiedsymposium.org. You will be able visit Skolnik Industries at the 2015 Unified Show at booth number 1119.

10 Least wanted Items on board Passenger Aircraft

November 25th, 2014 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: HazMat, Industry News, Safety

The Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority, CASA, recently released their list of the “10 Least wanted Items on board Passenger Aircraft.”

The "Top Ten Least Wanted" for 2014 are:

  1. Lithium batteries
  2. Gas cylinders & camping stoves
  3. Chainsaws & whipper snippers
  4. Lighters & matches
  5. Ammunition
  6. Fireworks
  7. Aerosol cans-flammable propellant
  8. Lifejackets & flares
  9. Paints
  10. Household chemicals

To help passengers comply with the proper preparation of batteries brought onboard, CASA has made available a short and informative video, available on YouTube, showing passengers how to travel safely with lithium batteries. Currently listed as the #1 concern amongst in-flight dangerous goods, the 2+ minute video offers basic instructions on how to prepare any battery being carried or shipped onboard a passenger aircraft. You can view the video here.

FAA Proposes Civil Penalties Ranging from $54K to $228K Against six Companies for Allegedly Violating Hazardous Materials Regulations.

November 20th, 2014 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: HazMat, Industry News

Reckless shipping of dangerous goods can be costly to companies offering non-compliant shipments. Recently, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing civil penalties ranging from $54,000 to near $228,000 against six companies for allegedly violating Hazardous Materials regulations. In each case, the FAA alleges the shipments were not accompanied by shipping papers to indicate the hazardous nature of their contents and were not marked, labeled or packed in accordance with the Hazardous Materials Regulations. The FAA also alleges the companies failed to provide emergency response information and failed to ensure their employees had received the required hazardous materials training. The cases are as follows:

$54,000 against Saudi Chem Crete Co., Ltd. of Saudi Arabia. The FAA alleges that the shipper offered UPS two 1-gallon containers and two 1-quart containers of epoxy resin, a corrosive liquid, for shipment by air from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to Elmendorf, Texas. Workers at UPS package discovered the shipment because the contents exceeded the maximum amount of epoxy resin that can be shipped on board cargo aircraft.

$54,000 against Passport Health of Scottsdale, Ariz. The FAA alleges that Passport Health offered UPS three 2.5-ounce containers of flammable, liquid hand sanitizer for shipment by air. Workers at UPS package sorting discovered the shipment.

$57,400 against International Dental Supply (IDS) of Hialeah, Fla. The FAA alleges that IDS shipped a package containing 20 eight-ounce bottles of acrylic, which is a hazardous flammable liquid, on a UPS cargo flight to Puerto Rico. Workers at UPS discovered the shipment was leaking. The FAA alleges IDS did not package the bottles to prevent breakage or leakage.

$65,000 against Freedom Manufacturing LLC, of Fremont, Ohio. The FAA alleges that the manufacturer offered to FedEx a box containing six smaller packages, each holding approximately 1,000 bullets, for shipment by air to Key West, Fla. Workers at FedEx discovered the package. Bullets are explosives.

$66,000 against Quaker City Plating of Whittier, Calif. For shipping a box containing five 1-gallon containers of paint on a FedEx cargo flight to Brunswick, Ga. Employees at FedEx discovered the shipment was leaking. Paint is a flammable liquid.

$227,500 against Shanghai Yancui Import and Export Co. for Alleged Hazardous Materials Violations. The FAA alleges that the company shipped a package containing one bottle of Titanium Tetrachloride on a DHL Express Worldwide cargo flight. Workers at DHL discovered the bottle emitting smoke. Titanium Tetrachloride is a poisonous, corrosive material, and Hazardous Materials regulations prohibit shipping it on passenger or cargo aircraft. The package also contained two bottles of Benzodioxole, which is a hazardous flammable liquid. The FAA alleges that Shanghai Yancui did not mark, label or pack the shipment in accordance with the Hazardous Materials regulations, and the package was not accompanied by shipping papers to indicate the hazardous nature of its contents or emergency response information. Additionally, the FAA alleges Shanghai Yancui did not provide required hazardous materials training for its employees.