Here at Skolnik, we’re proud to offer UN rated steel drums. To bear the distinctive “UN” marking, these containers had to undergo rigorous testing and meet safety standards established by the United Nations Economic and Social Council. This mark is a valuable testament to a lot of hard work from many people at all stages of manufacturing, but it’s only valuable if there are people working to keep it honest. In the UN, the Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods works to regularly refine testing methods and standards, but an entity as wide-reaching as the UN requires a helping hand.
In America, William S. Schoonover is that hand. As the Associate Administrator of Hazardous Materials Safety for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) of the Department of Transportation, Schoonover is in charge of the allocation of the “UN” mark on packaging here in the states. It’s Schoonover who, among many other responsibilities, is charged with communicating any important information and updated standards with manufacturers and consumers, as well as enforcing the regulations that the UN mark represents.
Within his Office of Hazardous Materials Safety, Schoonover oversees two divisions; Policy and Programs and Field Operations. Both are appropriately named. Policy and Programs works to develop, propose, and implement regulatory policy initiatives and regulations. In addition, this division creates education and outreach efforts designed to promote the adoption and increased use of safety programs, and provides security and technical assistance to state and local government efforts to enhance public safety.
As you may expect, Field Ops is responsible for initiatives that require “boots on the ground”. They provide direction, policy, and national coordination for regional operations and security for hazardous materials shipments. They also conduct investigations, regulatory adequacy determinations, executes education and training activities, and provides feedback, information and intelligence through its nationwide operations.
While the work that Schoonover and his colleges can be tedious and regimented, they play a crucial role in our industry, and in turn, yours. By educating us and keeping us as up-to-date as possible on regulations such as the UN packaging standards, they are ensuring that we are manufacturing the safest products we can. That means, when you see that little UN logo stamped on our drums, you can have the peace of mind that you’re using the best barrels one can buy.