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

Archive for July, 2019

Easy HazMat Training Options to Remain Compliant

July 30th, 2019 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: HazMat, Safety, Skolnik Newsletter

More than ever before, improper or non-existent training is being viewed as the major cause of many dangerous goods incidents happening today in the US and abroad. A large percentage of the DOT‘s enforcement actions pertain to the failure of employers to provide appropriate hazardous materials training. In most cases, violations are the result of no function-specific training, or no recurrent training which is required every 3 years. We recommend that employers use outside consultants to establish and monitor the efficacy of a training program. An outside consultant can choose appropriate testing requirements, administer testing and track ongoing compliance. This includes training for new employees as well as re-training for employees that receive additional responsibilities.

While many training programs are available, Labelmaster offers face to face, classroom programs that are recognized as being of particularly high quality. Check here to learn more about these options.

For on-line training, Labelmaster also offers 9 critical courses that are essential for dangerous goods shippers and employers. These classes (https://www.labelmaster.com/shop/training) are easy to administer, can be attended from anywhere in the world, and are available 24/7.

Whether face to face or electronically, there is no reason for HazMat employers to overlook their training responsibilities.

Quick and Effective Use of Salvage Drums

July 29th, 2019 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News

When it comes to a potential spill or hazmat clean-up situation, time is of the essence. Prevention is always the primary goal, but if an issue occurs, facilities need to be trained and prepared to respond swiftly. The following is an example of a situation in which a facility utilized a salvage drum to efficiently solve a problem.  It also demonstrates a great use case for salvage drums such as ours, as those who were on the scene quickly handled a dangerous chemical situation. We love to see stories like this where those present reacted quickly and appropriately.

Earlier this year in the town of High Point, North Carolina there was a report of a potential hazmat issue. At the local bus production plant, employees noticed a chemical storage barrel that seemed to be bulging outward and called the fire department. When the fire department arrived on the scene, they discerned that the 55 gallon drum contained a foreign element in addition to the specific chemical it was meant to contain.This foreign material was causing a chemical reaction, resulting in the expansion of the barrel and a leak. After identifying the chemical they were dealing with, the fire department responded by placing the original drum into a salvage drum. Once the spill was cleaned and the compromised drum was removed, the ‘all clear’ was given. Thankfully no injuries were reported.

Events like this can always be prevented with proper safe handling techniques, but mistakes do happen. Spill cleanup is just as important as prevention, a quick response with the right equipment can save untold amounts of time and money, and prevent serious injuries. We’re proud of those at the scene and the responders for all taking the necessary steps to clean everything up. Salvage drums are a vital tool for any business that handles dangerous chemicals, and can be easily used to handle situations like this effectively and safely. Remember that only salvage drums, not overpack drums, are certified to contain a leaking or otherwise damaged package. Utilizing an overpack drum to house a compromised drum would not be DOT compliant.

Skolnik’s 49CFR Cheat Sheet Helps to Quickly Locate Packaging References

July 23rd, 2019 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, Skolnik Newsletter

Not sure where to begin a search for a packaging reference in 49CFR? The CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) is the Hazardous Materials shipping bible. In Title 49, there are definitions, classifications, regulations and a host of specific requirements set forth by the US DOT regarding the safe transport of hazardous materials by air, rail, water or road. Subtitle B of Chapter 1 refers to the Research and Special Programs Administration, with Subchapters A — C targeting Hazardous Materials Transportation Pipeline Safety, Oil Transportation, and Hazardous Materials Regulations. These subchapters are divided into Parts 171-180 with Subparts, Sections, Paragraphs and Subparagraphs. Part 178 addresses Hazardous Materials Packaging Specifications.

Finding a particular reference to a regulatory question can be difficult. For several years, Skolnik has been developing a CFR Cheat-Sheet of specific paragraphs that speak to common questions regarding UN (United Nations) packagings. A part of the Skolnik web site, the CFR Cheat-Sheet lists, and links, to about 50 packaging references and the exact paragraph that explains the regulatory requirement. The Cheat-Sheet primarily focuses on Section 49 of the CFR, and requirements mostly applicable to steel and plastic drums of all sizes.

Wine Wars

July 16th, 2019 by Jon Stein

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

In the escalating trade war that threatens the world economy, wine is a minor skirmish at most. But it has its own list of casualties — especially vineyards in the U.S., and drinkers in China with a taste for their product. Writing in the Bloomberg newsletter, “Terms of Trade”, Ryan Haar writes: “U.S. President Donald Trump has raged at Europeans for taxing American wine out of their markets. Chinese tariffs have sent the price of a Californian red soaring in Beijing. Even the apparently unrelated question of Boeing’s competition with Airbus could have fallout for wine-drinkers who, in various parts of the world, have had to get used to higher prices.” Here’s a roundup of wine-trade news:

China

China has slapped three rounds of tariffs on American wine in little more than a year, with the latest one coming into effect at the start of June, according to the Wine Institute, an advocacy group for Californian producers. That’s having a sharp impact on prices in what’s become the fastest-growing major wine market in the world. Honig Vineyard & Winery, based in Napa, California, has been exporting to China since 2007. Before the trade war escalated in 2018, “a bottle of the Cabernet would cost around $50 in our tasting room and about $70 in China,” says Stephanie Honig, director of communications and exports. Three rounds of tariffs later, the Beijing price has gone up to $170 — assuming you can find it. Honig, which exported 1,000 cases to China in 2016, says the number fell to zero last year. The wine industry in California has taken “terrific hits,” Mike Thompson, a congressman from the state, told U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in a House hearing this month. “We are at a disadvantage when competitors are paying zero percent.”

Europe

Ryan Haar goes on to write that: “Trump isn’t at all happy about the terms of American wine trade with Europe, where the world’s biggest exporters are found — and he’s been stepping up his complaints since November. Trump’s threat to retaliate with matching U.S. tariffs also forms part of a much bigger trade argument: the one involving plane-makers Boeing and Airbus. As the dispute escalates, both the U.S. and Europe have drawn up lists of goods that they’ll target with tariffs, and wine is on the American version.” “The only linkage alcohol has with planes is that it’s served on planes,” said Robert Tobiassen, President of the National Association of Beverage Importers. “This injures consumers.”

Here at Skolnik Industries, we buy domestic carbon and stainless steel, and carefully monitor the growing impact of the tariffs. Note that our stainless steel wine barrels are reusable, easy to clean, and recyclable at the end of their service life. Check out the full line of our Stainless Steel Wine Drums here.

Hazardous Materials Incidents on the Rise

July 11th, 2019 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Industry News

Here at Skolnik, we take pride in staying up to date on all safety regulations and precautions. It is vitally important to remember the human and environmental impact that many  materials stored in our vessels can have, especially the materials entrusted to our hazmat storage containers. Our team of hazmat containment experts are always on the lookout, and with good reason.

According to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) the number of hazardous waste related incidents has been increasing over the past ten years. From 2009 to 2018 the amount of annual incidents involving Hazardous materials has increased from 14,816 in 2009, up to 19,839 in 2018. These incidents are spread out amongst several modes of transportation, but the vast majority of them occur on the highway. In 2009 almost 86 percent of all hazardous material incidents occurred on highways, with an even higher 90 percent in 2018. Fortunately not every incident resulted in injuries, with only about one percent of all events listed having reported injuries. But the damages caused by all incidents between 2009 and 2018 totalled out to around 844.5 million dollars in damages. 

We know that there are a lot of situations that are not under our control, and know that a lot of incidents come down to bad luck or unforeseen circumstances. It’s hard to predict everything that is going to happen and to take precautions, but we can certainly try. It’s important to be prepared for anything, and to always be patient and vigilant when it comes to transporting hazardous materials.