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

Archive for the ‘HazMat’ Category

A New Dangerous Goods Resource for Everything!

September 22nd, 2020 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: HazMat, Industry News, Skolnik Newsletter

In mid August, Labelmaster launched their new DG Exchange. The DG Exchange is an online community where any DG and supply chain business professionals can share ideas, learn and collaborate to understand and better navigate dangerous goods issues, challenges and trends. Have a question about new shipping regulations? Need help transporting lithium batteries safely? Struggling to improve compliance within your supply chain? Finding solutions to those questions through information sharing and peer support is exactly why the DG Exchange has been created. Furthermore, the DG Exchange is an online community where any DG and supply chain business professionals can share ideas, learn and collaborate to understand and better navigate dangerous goods issues, challenges and trends.

Whether your organization ships dangerous goods daily or a few packages a year, the DG Exchange is a place where professionals at all levels of an organization can come to better understand the complex world of dangerous goods and gain valuable information, insights and connections that will enable them to enhance business performance, improve operations, drive revenue and more.

Not only is it the dangerous goods industry’s first digital community, it’s also the new home for the DG Symposium, so you’ll find all of this year’s planned Symposium content in a new, virtual space.

Register now for the DG Exchange atwww.dgexchange.com

The Labor That Keep Our Communities and Families Safe

September 8th, 2020 by Dean Ricker

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

As we go about our daily lives, each of us has numerous unknown encounters with dangerous goods (hazardous materials) without incident. These encounters are safe because those goods are safely packaged, transported, stored and used, thanks to the hard work of dangerous goods professionals (DG) around the world whose efforts often go unnoticed.

On August 4, 2020, in Beruit, Lebanon, 2,750 tons of ammonia nitrate exploded, killing at least 220 people, injuring more than 5,000, and leaving over 300,000 homeless. The blast is the largest accidental ammonia nitrate explosion ever recorded. At least ten times over the past six years, Lebanese security agencies and judiciary sounded the alarm bell that a massive amount of explosive chemicals were being unsafely stockpiled at the port in the heart of Beirut. Even with all these warnings of an impending disaster, nothing was done, and sadly, a tragedy occurred.

Manufactured in beads that resemble cooking salt, ammonia nitrate is generally safe to handle and is used in numerous ways, such as in fertilizer for agriculture. But storing and transporting it can be problematic. When exposed to high heat and other fuel sources, ammonia nitrate can become explosive. This is why in many countries there are strict rules governing its storage and transportation. For example, many European Union nations require calcium carbonate be added to it, creating calcium ammonium nitrate, which is safer. In the United States, regulations were tightened after two tons of ammonia nitrate were used to create the bomb in the 1995 Oklahoma City federal building attack that killed 168 people; now, under the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards, facilities that store 2,000lbs of ammonia nitrate are subject to inspection.

In my nearly 30 years of work in the dangerous goods community, I have sat through countless meetings, presentations, and hearings discussing the finer points of performance-oriented packaging testing or the proper paperwork and labeling for a shipment of radioactive material. I have had numerous conversations late into the night about the shipment of oxygen cylinders on airplanes. And if you really want to jumpstart a heated discussion, bring up the illegal shipment of counterfeit lithium batteries. The one thing all of these encounters have had in common is the untold number of DG professionals who have dedicated their careers to keeping people and the environment safe.

Not many of us actually set out to have a career in this field, but once we are introduced to it, it becomes a life long passion. Ranging from government regulators, fire department chiefs, trade association members, and dangerous goods managers at companies around the globe, these DG professionals are truly dedicated to keeping us safe from disasters like the one that took place in Lebanon.

As I write this, it is Labor Day weekend in the United States. I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone in the DG community for your work–labor that keeps our communities and families safe.

DGS Symposium on Dangerous Goods will now be Virtual and Free!

May 26th, 2020 by Howard Skolnik

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

Hosted annually by Labelmaster, this year’s DGS Symposium (Sept 9 – 11, 2020) was planned for Chicago. However, due to the social-distancing mandates that will be imposed during the autumn months, they have decided to create the industry’s first virtual Dangerous Goods Symposium that will include live streaming panels and 1:1 conversations, on-demand regulatory updates and more featuring the most sought-after DG experts.

From your home, you will be able to attend:

  • Live Q&A sessions and panels with industry and regulatory leaders scheduled at specific days and times between September 9th and September 11th
  • On demand regulatory update presentations for viewing on whatever day and time is best for you
  • Live streaming small group sessions, based on industry or interest
  • Private, one-on-one meetings with industry leaders
  • Networking opportunities and games
  • And, it’s FREE

Topics will range from:

  • International and North American regulatory updates
  • PHMSA work session for operations, investigations and looking forward
  • The FBI, Homeland Security and Dangerous Goods
  • Compliance vs. Competence
  • A look at China’s regulatory complexities
  • Technology in transportation
  • Cross generational training: Challenges and opportunities
  • And, of course, Lithium Battery Friday!

Put the Symposium on your calendar for Sept 9- Sept 11, 2020.

Then register to attend at: www.labelmaster.com/symposium Thank you Labelmaster for turning lemons into lemonade!!!

Safe Packaging and Transportation of COVID-19 Materials

May 12th, 2020 by Howard Skolnik

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

Infectious substances, such as certain COVID-19 tainted materials, can pose a risk to health, safety, and property if packaged and transported incorrectly. When transporting such materials, it is extremely important to consult PHMSA’s Hazardous Materials Regulations to help minimize risk and exposure.

To assist medical facilities, clinical laboratories, and hazardous waste carriers in their efforts to move COVID-19 specimens, cultures, isolates, and medical wastes, PHMSA developed a COVID-19 Quick Reference page that provides guidance on how to package and transport these materials safely.

See PHMSA’s Guidance on Transporting COVID-19 Infectious Substances for more information.

Canada Slows Trains

March 24th, 2020 by Howard Skolnik

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

To protect Canadians who live along rail corridors, it is critical that the transport of dangerous goods by rail is done safely. Following the derailment of an important, or key, train on February 6th, 2020, in Guernsey Saskatchewan, a Ministerial Order was issued for the immediate slowdown of key trains. A key train is one carrying 20 or more cars containing dangerous goods like petroleum crude oil; or a train carrying one or more cars of toxic inhalation gas. Since then, Transport Canada officials have worked diligently with large railway companies to further assess the causes of recent derailments, and to develop plans to address the areas of greatest concern. New measures are being implemented to reduce the speed of the higher risk key trains traveling through areas of greatest concern.

The speed limit for key trains is now limited to 35 mph in metropolitan areas. Outside of metropolitan areas where there are no track signals, the speed is limited to 40 mph. Higher risk key trains are trains where tank cars are loaded with a single dangerous goods commodity moving to the same point of destination; or trains that include any combination of 80 or more tank cars containing dangerous goods.
For now, the speed limit for higher risk key trains is now limited to 25 mph where there are no track signals. For metropolitan areas, the speed limit is 30 mph unless the metropolitan area is in a non-signal territory where the speed limit will be maintain at a maximum 25 mph.

This new Order was effective immediately and will remain in place until April 1, 2020. Transport Canada is working with the railways to develop a more comprehensive set of safety measures, which will include permanent measures such as track infrastructure maintenance and renewal, review of winter operations, safety practices of the railway companies, and other actions necessary to keep Canadians safe. Rail safety is the Minister of Transport’s top priority, and the Government of Canada is continuously looking for ways to make their railway system safer for Canadians.

Pack it Right! Ship it Right!

February 25th, 2020 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Associations, DOT/UN, HazMat, Safety

A compliant shipment of dangerous goods has never been more critical, more complex and more expensive if done improperly. In addition to lives at risk, planes, ships, trains, trucks and all public right-of-way can be severely impacted when an incident does occur. In order to educate shippers on how to identify, pack and ship hazardous materials, many agencies and industry partners are developing resources to provide the latest in safety regulation as well as videos and tools on how to transport products safely. The Council on Safe Transport of Hazardous Articles (COSTHA), has gathered this information and created a web page that is an outstanding resource for learning about compliant shipping of dangerous goods / hazardous materials. Check out the webpage and learn how you can help to ensure that regulated shipments in commerce are properly prepared.