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

Archive for October, 2020

Being Prepared for an Unscheduled DOT Inspection

October 27th, 2020 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, Skolnik Newsletter

Manufacturer’s and Reconditioners of UN certified packagings are, at all times, subject to unscheduled inspections by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). Recently, inspectors have stepped-up visits and therefore, it is best to be prepared if you are visited. There are 14 Checklist items that can help you to be prepared for a successful inspection. You can link to a more detailed item description HERE.

  1. Make sure you, your staff and DOT inspectors wear face masks.
  2. Ask the DOT inspectors for identification.
  3. Ask why the Inspector is at your plant.
  4. Keep Copies of all your required DOT records in one location. Inspectors are likely to ask for:
    hazmat employee training records, up-to-date annual design qualification test reports, closure instructions, and hazardous waste transportation manifests.
  5. Customer information including customer invoices.
  6. Make sure your employees can Answer basic training and/or operation-specific questions from the inspector.
  7. Make sure you or a designated management employee accompanies the inspector during the plant tour.
  8. Prepare in advance for an inspection. DOT inspectors are trained to look at the manufacturing process.
  9. Create your own written record of what was observed during the inspection.
  10. You may be asked to perform on-site testing.
  11. Keep the exit briefing form.
  12. Call Your lawyer if it appears a problem has been found.
  13. Remedy the problem(s) identified by the inspector as soon as possible.
  14. Respond to the exit briefing.

If prepared, the inspection should yield results that will confirm or improve your manufacturing and shipping process. For a more detailed item description of this Check-List, click HERE.

What are Limited Quantities of Dangerous Goods?

October 20th, 2020 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: HazMat, Safety, Skolnik Newsletter

All materials which meet the criteria of one of the nine (9) hazard classes are regulated as hazardous materials for transport. However, when the amount of certain hazardous material packed within a package is limited, the magnitude of the hazard is reduced but not eliminated. Thus, exceptions can be applied for packaging and hazard communication as authorized for certain hazard classes.

In order to qualify for these exceptions, the US Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR Parts 171?180; HMR), the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code), the International Civil Aviation Organization Technical Instructions on the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air (ICAO TI), Transport Canada’s Transport of Dangerous Goods (TDG), and other international regulatory texts authorize specific quantity limitations per inner and outer packaging for each hazard class and packing group. If the quantity of material contained within the inner packaging is below these limitations, and the gross weight of the outer package is within the authorized limits the consignment may be offered for transportation as a limited quantity.

The HMR, IMDG Code, and TDG typically limit the amount of material allowed within the largest inner packaging in a combination package and limit the gross weight of the package, while the ICAO TI limits the net quantity of hazardous material in the package.
Click here for guidance on Limited Quantities in air, sea, road and rail.

Are Bats a New Hero for Winemakers?

October 13th, 2020 by Jon Stein

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

Over the past year, bats have gone from unloved animal to devastating threat, thanks to their suspected role as the original carriers of Covid-19 before the novel coronavirus hopscotched to humans. Yet in Bordeaux, one of the world’s top wine regions, they’re being welcomed as heroes.

Writing in a recent Bloomberg blog, Ross Kenneth Urken reports: “As the 2020 harvest started early, a lot is riding on the region’s vintage amid a spate of challenges. After the United States imposed a 25% tariff on several varieties of European still alcohol last October, the value of Bordeaux wine fell 46% in November, with total sales volume dropping 18% according to the Bordeaux Wine Bureau. Covid-19 has exacerbated these difficulties: High-quality 2019 reds are going for as much as 30% less than the previous vintage, because the pandemic hobbled sales.” The pests, European grapevine moth and Grape berry moth, are what inspired Bordeaux winemakers to turn to local bats to help save the day. While studies are still determining how much the winged mammals have helped boost harvest yields and quality, the region’s winemakers have embraced them, figuratively speaking. Other renowned French wine regions are taking note.

Urken goes on to relate: “Last fall, I traveled to Château Lapelletrie in Saint-Émilion to see the animal-assisted winemaking first-hand. Anne Biscaye, a ninth-generation vintner with the aspect of Juliette Binoche, led me underground, into a former quarry, to check out her collaborators. A pair of bats soon flew overhead. At night, dozens would join them to roam above the vineyard in search of insects.

Biscaye is one of several vintners installing wooden nesting boxes around their properties, adding watering holes and leaving grassy strips between vine rows to create a bat-friendly habitat. They are participating in a long-term scientific study to confirm the impact of local bats on two of the most invasive vineyard pests: the European grapevine moth and grape berry moth. Both lead to botrytis, a destructive gray rot.”

Cécile Mallié-Verdier, the winemaker at Château Brethous in Camblanes-et-Meynac says that by eliminating the moths that create gray rot, she can avoid the moldy grapes that might taint her wines, such as the merlot-cabernet sauvignon blend: Cuvée Arpège. She thinks bats may improve overall wine quality and taste as well by obviating the need for some pesticides that risk harming the grapes aromatic profile.

“Nature has become a real partner of the Bordeaux winemakers,” says Bernard Farges, President of the Bourdeaux Wine Bureau. “Bats are the perfect example of a win-win situation.”

Château Lapelletrie’s, Biscaye is firm in dismissing fears of bats caused by the coronavirus pandemic. “I decided to accept working with nature and—from it—let everything take its place,” she says. “Bats, just like birds, are our friends.”

Here at Skolnik Industries, our stainless steel wine barrels are also a friend to winemakers. 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.