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

Posts Tagged ‘phmsa’

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.

PHMSA Issues Final Rule on Shipping Hazardous Materials

October 19th, 2018 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: HazMat, Safety

Earlier this week, The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) , in consultation with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), issued a final rule on shipping hazardous materials. This much anticipated rule aligns the U.S. Hazardous Materials regulations with other current international standards for the air transportation of hazardous materials.

By aligning with international standards, businesses, shippers and civilians alike can be more confident that hazardous materials are being safely and securely transported and the risk of incident is reduced.

Now finalized, the new amendments revise a number of requirements including packaging requirements and information to the pilot-in-command requirements. Several more amendments are in response to petitions for rulemaking submitted by the regulated community.

Other amendments include changes to proper shipping names, hazard classes, packing groups, special provisions, packaging authorizations, air transport quantity limitations and vessel stowage requirements.

At Skolnik, we take compliance very seriously. Our hazardous material containers are always manufactured stronger and heavier than industry and regulatory standards require.

This Final Rule is detailed in the Federal Register.

The History of Hazmat and Dangerous Goods Packaging

May 3rd, 2018 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat

If you work in the packaging and transportation industries, there’s a good chance that you come across dangerous goods regularly. If you do, then you also come across the term ‘hazmat’. Now, it’s not hard to understand that the two are connected, but what are those connections exactly? What does hazmat have to do with dangerous goods packaging, and just who establishes the rules behind it all?

First, a quick definition. In the United States, the official term for dangerous goods is hazardous materials, which leads to the portmanteau hazmat. Pretty logical, but also easy to take for granted if it’s just another term in the day-to-day sea of acronyms and abbreviations.

Dangerous goods, and in turn hazmat, is a broad umbrella term that encompasses materials that are radioactive, flammable, explosive, corrosive, oxidizing, asphyxiating, biohazardous, toxic, pathogenic, or allergenic. Also included are physical conditions such as compressed gases and liquids or hot materials, and all goods containing such materials or chemicals, or that may have other characteristics that render them hazardous in specific circumstances.

Oversimplified: anything that can hurt a human.

 

Hazmat Regulation in The United States

With such an intimidating list of dangers under its purview, you would think that protection from dangerous goods has been a high priority for our government as long as possible. But, the DOT, EPA and OSHA, three of the most crucial agencies for regulating the safe handling of hazardous materials in the U.S. weren’t even formed until the late 1960s and 1970s.

Then, it was only in 2004 that the Department of Transportation created the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), which is the agency directly in charge of developing and enforcing regulations in relation to hazmat transportation. Previously, PHMSA’s hazmat and pipeline safety programs were housed within the Transportation Department’s Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA).

Hazmat Regulation Abroad

Regulators at the global level were a little faster to act. The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)’s publication of the first version of The UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods occurred in 1956. While it isn’t obligatory or legally binding on individual countries, this is the guiding document when it comes the establishing procedures regarding hazmat shipping. For example, all Skolnik barrels that bear a UN certification have been produced to the standards established by the most current version of these recommendations.   

The other crucial contribution to hazmat handling that the UN provides is the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, developed in 1992. This is the set of rules that standardized the labeling of hazmat across borders, and is why we use the color coded diamond-shaped pictograms to designate which hazards are in what package.

Further Hazmat Regulatory Bodies

Along with these major organizations, there are plenty of smaller, more specific groups that have their eyes set on specific topics, such as the International Air Transport Association, the International Maritime Organization and the Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail. These are just some of the groups who, as each name suggests, focus on their individual priorities and establish rules and regulations that are adopted, inspire and influence how we handle hazmat here in the states and abroad.


Whether you interact with dangerous goods daily or once in a blue moon, it’s important to not only be able to handle the immediate task of safely storing and transporting these goods, but to know where they fit in larger scheme. If you don’t know why you’re labeling a barrel as hazardous, then it’s easy to make a mistake, and there is little room for error when dealing with hazmat storage and transportation. Luckily, there are plenty of resources for any question you may have regarding hazmat and dangerous goods packaging. All of these organizations have multiple resources you can explore, and if it’s barrel-related, chances are we here at Skolnik can help out too.