Dangerous Goods Symposium 2018 workshop: “Authoring Closure Instructions”

Howard Z. Skolnik and W. Dean Ricker—chairman and president, respectively, of Skolnik Industries—will lead a workshop on “Authoring Closure Instructions” during the 13th annual Dangerous Goods Symposium, September 5–7, 2018, in Rosemont, Illinois.

“The 49 CFR says every package with a UN certification must have closure instructions to give shippers a way to complete a package to preserve the integrity of the performance test,” says Howard Skolnik. “But it gives no direction as to how it’s written.”

Shippers, of course, know how many closure instructions are written: badly.

Writing effective closure instructions, says Dean Ricker, “is much harder than people think. And it does not get the attention it deserves.”

That’s the point of the workshop these two will lead at the Dangerous Goods Symposium.

A workshop on “Authoring Closure Instructions”

It’s hard to write instructions, even for things you do every day without thinking about them.

The “Authoring Closure Instructions” workshop gives participants simple, everyday items, breaks them out into groups and has them write instructions about how to use the items. Then they move on to UN packaging and attempt to write closure instructions. Finally, the groups attempt to close packages with instructions written by others.

Ricker says, “It’s really a complicated process, telling customers exactly how to close something. Once you have to explain it, you realize how complicated it is.”

“Writing instructions that are proper and can be followed is difficult,” says Skolnik. “It’s not just writing the instructions, but making sure people can follow them to achieve a regulatory closure.”

One of the first things the DOT looks for

Skolnik Industries—founded by Skolnik and now overseen by Ricker—has established a reputation for clear, easy-to-follow closure instructions. Skolnik says, “The quality of closure instructions is a differentiator. The shipper has to be able to close a drum with the same integrity as its test, so if it’s dropped in the street it won’t open.”

He adds, “You’ll see examples that are awful, or illegible, where you have to call the manufacturer to get the proper closure instructions. And they’re manufacturer-specific, so you might have four different instructions by four different people for what’s essentially the same container.”

While proper closure is essential for safety and product integrity, it’s also a major factor in keeping shipments compliant.

Ricker explains, “It’s like when a cop checks to see if you’re wearing your seat belt—it’s one of the first things the DOT looks for. But if people can’t follow your closure instructions, they don’t know their shipment is non-compliant.”

The 13th annual Dangerous Goods Symposium—September 5–7, 2018

Labelmaster will host the 13th annual Dangerous Goods Symposium September 5–7, 2018, at The Loews Hotel in Rosemont, Illinois.

Join us as industry experts and regulators discuss topics and lead workshops that cover everything from training best practices to international and domestic regulatory updates and the latest lithium battery regulations. You’ll never find more DG knowledge or experience in the same place, anywhere.

Sign up now!


Labelmaster is a full-service provider of goods and services for hazardous materials and Dangerous Goods professionals, shippers, transport operators and EH&S providers. See our full line of solutions at labelmaster.com.

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