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

Archive for February, 2022

Do Your Employees Need Hazmat Training?

February 22nd, 2022 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat, Skolnik Newsletter

The U.S. Department of Transportation requires every hazmat employer to provide one or several types of training to hazmat employees that perform hazmat transportation functions. Industrial packaging manufacturers, reconditioners, distributors and shippers that cause packagings of hazardous materials to be shipped in transportation, are considered hazmat employers. A hazmat employee is a part-time or full-time employee whose job responsibility “…directly affects hazardous materials transportation.” There are several tiers of training that may apply to your business facilities. They are:

General awareness. This basic level of training applies to all covered employees and includes and is intended to familiarize employees with the basic requirements of the Hazardous Materials Regulations.

Function specific. This secondary training level applies to employees performing key job functions, such as applying markings to containers or operating the leakproofness tester.

Safety. All hazmat employees must receive safety training concerning how to respond to emergency situations; how to protect themselves from exposures to hazmat; and procedures for avoiding accidents. If you provide OSHA, EPA or other training on these subjects, you are not required to re-train employees.

Security awareness training. All employees should receive some basic plant security information, which is required as part of this training level. This training need not be extensive   as it might be for a chemical facility, for example   but be sure to inform your employees about security access points, etc.

In-depth security training. If your plant is required to develop and maintain a security plan, employees must be aware of the plan and its contents.
When must hazmat employee training take place? All new employees performing hazmat functions, and employees that change jobs in a company and become a hazmat employee, must be trained within 90 days. Even though the regulations state that during the initial 90-day period newly hired employees may work in the plant if they are directly supervised. However, hazmat employees are subject to training once they begin actively working.

Testing. DOT requires employers to maintain proof (“certification”) that every hazmat employee has been trained and tested. Be sure your training certificates are dated and signed by the employee and the person doing the training.

Record keeping. Training records must be maintained for each covered employee and be retained for as long as the employee works for the company, and 90 days thereafter.

U.S. Supreme Court Stays Enforcement of OSHA Vaccine/Testing Mandate

February 15th, 2022 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Industry News, Skolnik Newsletter

In a 6-3 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court has halted efforts by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to require that companies with 100 or more employees ensure their employees are vaccinated against COVID or submit to weekly testing.

After cutting through all the legal jargon, the substance of the Supreme Court decision is that the OSHA mandate is effectively dead because the Court ruled that OSHA does not have authority from Congress to impose such a broad public health requirement on employers.

Importantly, this decision does not affect the COVID vaccine mandate for federal contractors and subcontractors. That mandate was established under the federal procurement laws, a separate statutory scheme than the one underlying the OSHA mandate. But the contractor mandate has also been stayed by the lower federal courts and is not currently in effect. Those court challenges are making their way through the appellate process.

Supply Chain Issues Continue in 2022

February 8th, 2022 by Jon Stein

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

Historic trucker shortages, port logjams and labor strikes are just some of the elements that are bringing the wine industry to its knees this year. Supplies are down, and prices are up, across the board. Writing in The Wine Industry Advisor, Kathleen Willcox reports that: “Turning the page on 2020, the wine industry was optimistic about the year ahead. But sunny predictions were eclipsed and chaos—caused by weather challenges and supply chain disruptions — reigned. Now that we have entered 2022, the following issues from 2021 are predicted to recur:

Glass & Labels: Kathleen Inman, owner and winemaker at Inman Family in Santa Rosa, says “glass prices have increased, as have shipping costs and even the costs of printing labels.” Currently, Inman says, it costs more to ship bottles than the base cost of glass itself, and “labels have almost doubled in price.” The price increases for raw materials mean the 2021 vintage will cost $14.95 more per case to produce.

Barrels & Capsules: Bobby Richards, winemaker at Seven Hills Winery in Walla Walla, says driver shortages meant a delay in his barrel delivery. “It’s a perfect storm of delays,” Richards says. “It seems as though everyone is expecting to receive their orders in early versus late spring or early summer, causing many people to over-purchase because they think our suppliers will run out.”

Cardboard & Cans: Ryan Ayotte, CEO and founder of Ohza, a canned mimosa, says that “everything from the cans, to the cardboard to shipping has increased and is harder to come by. Extreme cardboard delays recently went from six to 15 weeks, and it has forced us to change how we forecast sales and find better finance options.”

Labor & Shipping: Hans Herzog Estate in Marlborough, which produces 2,500 cases of organic wine, has overcome several problems—including a 40 percent lower harvest. But their biggest challenge was labor, says co-owner Therese Herzog. “With closed borders there are just not enough laborers in New Zealand,” Herzog says.

Tom Steffanci, President of Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits, which has 24 brands producing 12.9 million cases under its umbrella, agrees that “labor shortages at warehouses, production facilities, and transportation companies” led to “extended fulfillment times and a reduction of service.”

Willcox concludes that “Rethinking the supply chain on the fly isn’t easy, but these producers prove that a steady supply of creativity and flexibility pays off in customer loyalty now, and hopefully into the future.”

Here at Skolnik Industries, our customers are very loyal to our stainless-steel wine barrels. Note that our stainless-steel wine barrels are durable, 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.