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

Archive for the ‘DOT/UN’ Category

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles!

March 30th, 2021 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat, Skolnik Newsletter

As a result of our February 2021 newsletter, we were learned that many of our “non-hazmat” readers did not know that the steel drum industry is regulated by the Pipeline for Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), an arm of the United States Department of Transportation (DOT). When most people think of the DOT, they naturally think of transportation; planes, trains, automobiles, ships and highways. But the DOT also regulates items classified as dangerous goods, or hazardous materials, that are packaged and transported on public right of way via those planes, trains, automobiles, ships and highways.

The United States Department of Transportation was created by act of President Lyndon Baines Johnson in 1966. The purpose of the Department of Transportation was/ is to create, develop, and coordinate policies to provide an efficient and economical national transportation system. This system will incorporate respect for the environment, regards the needs of the people, and will employ and monitor national defense of the transportation system. This is the primary organization at the cabinet level to shape and administer policies that protect and enhance the safety, adequacy and efficiency of the United States transportation services and system.

The primary regulatory vehicle used to govern the safe transport of dangerous goods is Title 49 of the US Code of Federal Regulations. CFR Title 49 – Transportation, is one of fifty titles comprising the United States Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Title 49 is the principal set of rules and regulations issued by the Departments of Transportation and Homeland Security, and other federal agencies of the United States regarding transportation and transportation related security. Publication of Title 49 began in 1938, at which point it was entitled Transportation and Railroads.

Part 178 of Title 49 CFR prescribes the manufacturing and testing specifications for packaging and containers used for the transportation of hazardous materials in commerce. The requirements of this part apply to packagings manufactured to a DOT specification, or to a UN standard for packagings manufactured within the United States. A manufacturer of a packaging is subject to the requirements of this part and is responsible for compliance with these requirements. However, any person who performs a function prescribed in this part shall also perform that function in accordance with this part. Part 178 also requires that a packaging be marked with a DOT specification or UN standard marking. Marking of the packaging with the appropriate DOT or UN markings is the certification that all requirements of the DOT specification, or UN standard, including performance tests, are met and all functions performed by, the person or entity whose name or symbol appears as part of the marking conform to requirements specified in this part.

See the complete 49 CFR here.

Biden’s Made-In-America Executive Order

February 23rd, 2021 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, Skolnik Newsletter

On January 25th, 2021, this Order was issued by the US Department of Transportation:
The Department of Transportation is a strong supporter of Buy American and today, we applaud President Biden for taking bold action today to ensure our future is made in America — and by American workers. The crises we face have created an opportunity to build back our economy better than before, and President Biden’s executive order will empower us to be a central force in our country’s recovery. We look forward to implementing President Biden’s Made in America executive order that will ensure transportation-related capital purchases, equipment, and supplies are acquired when available. In addition, we will also ensure that the President’s strong support of the Jones Act is realized so that only U.S.-flag vessels carry cargo between U.S. ports. With these goals in mind, the Department stands ready to help President Biden create good-paying, union jobs, and strengthen the middle class.
As this applies to the purchase of packagings bought by the DOT and other Federal agencies, we believe this will help to fuel our recovering domestic packaging industry.


PHMSA 2019 Enforcement Activities

January 26th, 2021 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Associations, DOT/UN, Skolnik Newsletter

Each year, the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Pipeline of Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) publishes a list of the fines that they have given for violation of the Code of Federal Regulations, CFR49. DOT is becoming a very aggressive regulator, and manufacturers and shippers must be sure they are complying with the rules. Recently, DOT issued its Annual Civil Penalty Report for 2019. The Agency processed a total of 418 penalty actions in that year, resulting in the collection of $2,615,244 in civil penalties.

DOT issued 13 penalties to eight (8) manufacturers and reconditioners of industrial packagings. The highest penalty was for $26,680, and one was a low as $1,213. The average penalty issued was just under $9,500.00.

The most common penalties for the industry were:

  1. Failure to conduct the required hazardous materials training, (particularly function specific training);
  2. Failure to maintain proper training records; and
  3. Failure to maintain proper design type test records.

DOT is on our streets and in our businesses, checking test records and procedures. Take the time to verify that your CFR requirements are being performed and documented.

How the DOT sees it!

January 19th, 2021 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, Skolnik Newsletter

Understanding the perception of the DOT will help a shipper to comply with classification, package selection, and mode of transportation. Here are 4 items from how the DOT sees it:

  1. The transportation of hazardous materials exclusively on private property, to which signs, gates and guard stations prevent public access, is not subject to the Hazardous Materials Regulations.
  2. If a carrier is present during the time of unloading and the motive power is still attached to the transport vehicle when an incident occurs, the carrier is responsible for submitting an incident report per CFR 171.16. If the carrier has dropped the transport vehicle and the motive power is removed from the premises, the carrier obligation is fulfilled and transportation is ended; thus, the hazardous materials incident reporting would not apply.
  3. Employees subject to hazardous materials training must be tested for general awareness/familiarization, function specific and safety training in accordance with CFR 172.704. In addition, recurrent training must cover these three primary areas of knowledge. Therefore, an employee must successfully pass initial hazardous materials training in addition to recurrent training. Recurrent training cannot be waived.
  4. If a hazardous material at ambient temperatures meets the definition of a solid under CFR 171.8 when packaged and offered for transportation, it is a solid material. However, if the solid will likely encounter temperatures in transportation that may cause the material to become a liquid per CFR 173.197(e)(5), then the packaging must be capable of containing the hazardous material in the liquid state.

Free HazMat Training Webinars from DOT

November 17th, 2020 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat, Industry News, Safety, Skolnik Newsletter

PHMSA offers Hazmat transportation training workshops and webinars throughout the year. These free training opportunities are for anyone who offers or transports hazardous materials in commerce, or has a desire to learn more about DOT’s Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR).

PHMSA conducts webinars specialized to meet the needs of industry or the public safety community. Transportation webinars provide a basic overview of the regulatory requirements – what they are, how they apply, and how to comply with them – for shipping and transporting Hazardous Materials.

To register for any of the webinars below, please use the following link:

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.