A Semi-Monthly Newsletter for Gases and Welding Distributors Association Members April 8, 2010 
Breaking News   •   Safety & Compliance   •   New Members
Industry Beat   •   GAWDA News   •   Education & Training

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Helping Distributors Succeed

A Proven Track Record
Computers Unlimited (CU) has provided first rate integrated computer software solutions and services to welding and industrial gas distributors for over 32 years. More than 30 versions of TIMS (Total Information Management System) were successfully developed and implemented based on the evolving needs of customers, the market at large and CU’s vision of future software requirements. This disciplined approach to software development is successful for CU and its customers, allowing distributors to introduce new technologies into their businesses at minimal risk and cost. Today, TIMS is used by over 20,000 users throughout North America.

The Inside Edge
Please join CU for a special presentation on “Helping Distributors Succeed” before the opening event at the 2010 GAWDA SMC. Listen to stories of how distributors are already achieving success using document imaging, automated credit card payments, electronic catalogs, advanced cylinder management, mobile delivery and Internet-hosted software. Then, get a sneak peek of what’s on the horizon for new tools and technologies in financial management and business intelligence in TIMS V5.0. With the right business management software, you can achieve your goals.

Helping Distributors Succeed
Presented by David Schaer, President
Sunday, April 18, 2010
2:00 - 3:30 p.m.
Hyatt Regency
Skyway Room 260

Limited seating available ...
reserve your space today!

http://info.timssoftware.com/sneakpeek/

 

Breaking News

Spring Management Conference Just 10 Days Away

If you have not yet made your plans to be at the Spring Management Conference in Chicago, it is not too late. You can visit this site and register, or call GAWDA headquarters at 215-564-3484. The host hotel, Hyatt Regency Chicago, is still accepting reservations at the special rate of $249/night. Call the hotel directly at 888-421-1442 or reserve online here. Some airlines recently lowered the cost of travel tickets. Don’t wait any longer. Register 2 full delegates and bring a third at no cost. See the details below in GAWDA News for more information.

Want to learn more about the new health care law
and how it will impact your organization?

Watch NAW’s webcast on Friday, April 9. from
1:00 2:30 pm. More info and how to register here

Fume Litigation Trial Favors Defendant

A jury in Cleveland, OH, returned a unanimous verdict on March 24 in favor of the defendant, Hobart Brothers Company, in the Arroyo MDL case. The trial lasted just over 7 days. Plaintiff was diagnosed as suffering from manganism by his treater, but had only been welding since 2005. Defendants also produced evidence establishing that he had complained of 10 of the 11 symptoms he has before he started welding. Defendants’ attorney John Beisner said, “This verdict makes it abundantly clear that plaintiffs’ claims in the welding fume litigation have no merit. Ensuring the health and safety of welders has always been a priority of the defendants, and today’s decision confirms that the defendants have been unfairly targeted in these baseless lawsuits.”

Five wiki terms you should know
  1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Gas mixture
Zirconiated electrodes
Activated carbon
Wetlines
Nickel equivalent
To add your own term, go to www.GAWDAwiki.org.

Final Rule Limiting Security Plans
Authorizes Changes Today, April 8

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration published a final rule in HM-232F narrowing the list of materials subject to the security plan requirements and reducing the regulatory costs and paperwork burden. 75 Federal Register 10974 (March 9, 2010). The final rule was developed in response to petitions from industry groups arguing that not all placardable amounts of hazmat were capable of being used as weapons and thus did not require security plans.

In the final rules, security plans are no longer required for non-bulk (3,000 liters (793 gallons) or less in a single package) shipments of Division 2.1 flammable gases. No security plans are required for Division 2.2 non-flammable gases, except that security plans are still required for bulk shipments of oxygen and other oxidizers. A variety of changes have been made to the requirements for various other classes of hazmat as well.

 

The final rule is effective as of October 1, 2010, but voluntary compliance is authorized as of April 8, 2010. This means that many GAWDA members are no longer required to have the Hazmat Security Program as of April 8, 2010. If you are still required to have a security plan, then a few changes are that you must review it annually, identify by job title the senior management official responsible for overall development and implementation of the security plan, identify security duties for each position or department that is responsible for implementing the plan or a portion of the plan and the plan for training hazmat employees in security awareness and security in-depth training. If you have any questions about whether or not you are still in the program, please contact Michael Dodd at MLDSafety@hotmail.com or 573-718-2887.


Safety & Compliance News

Hazmat Transportation Registration Fee Changes The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has amended the statutorily mandated registration and fee assessment program for persons who transport, or offer for transportation, certain categories and quantities of hazmat. Docket No. PHMSA–2009–0201 (HM–208H). For those registrants not qualifying as a small business or not-for-profit organization, the annual fee is increased from $975 (plus a $25 administrative fee) to $2,575 (plus a $25 administrative fee) for registration year 2010–2011 and following years. The increase is necessary to fund the national Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness grants program at approximately $28,300,000 in accordance with the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2010 budget and proposed Fiscal Year 2011 budget.

Special Permits Incorporated The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has begun a 120-day plan to go through all of the current Special Permits (formerly known as exemptions) to identify those permits with broad applicability and a good safety record for incorporation into the Hazardous Materials Regulations. Special Permits are granted for processes or procedures that offer alternative methods of compliance while providing the same margin of safety as the regulations. PHMSA is attempting to reduce the number of outstanding Special Permits by including certain processes or procedures, thereby eliminating the need for periodic re-application by the holders of and participants in the Special Permit and review by the agency. The Special Permits will be grouped for publication in the Federal Register; the first group will likely include those Special Permits held by associations and those involving leak testing of cylinders (there are currently some 50 Special Permits involving cylinder retesting). Two groups will be published in the Federal Register each year for consideration over the next several years. Del Billings has been tasked with overseeing this project.

Approvals Still Backlogged The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s approvals process is still severely backlogged, even as the agency has made significant improvements in processing applications for Special Permits.

Inspector General Completes Report On March 4, 2010, the Department of Tranportation Inspector General’s Office published its final report on the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s special permits and approvals program. The Inspector General’s review identified several deficiencies with this process. Specifically, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued special permits and approvals without adequately reviewing applicants’ safety histories and proposed level of safety or coordinating with the affected operating administrations (such as the FMCSA for hazmat transported by truck). Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration also does not conduct regular compliance reviews of individuals and companies that have been granted special permit and approvals. In response, action plans already have been developed to address these concerns, and an update with the new criteria and procedures is available here.

The Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has scheduled a hearing for April 22, 2010, on the Department of Transportation’s oversight and management of the special permits and approvals process. A witness list is not yet available.

Cylinder Retesters Investigation The Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Transportation is now investigating retesting facilities for cylinders used for contents under pressure under the Hazardous Materials Regulations.  The investigation is exploring incidents where some retesters have marked cylinders without actually doing the retest, in some cases for payoffs. There also have been instances where cylinder owners have unknowingly received back cylinders marked as retested that did not undergo the actual test.



“There is always somebody out there who will take care of our customers, so it better be me,” says Albright Welding Supply driver Terry Stallman. Read his story in the Spring issue of Welding & Gases Today. Don’t miss the cover story, “Behind the Wheel,” which uncovers some of the lesser-known facts about driving a truck in our industry.

Updated Information on Web Site The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has redesigned its Web site at www.fmcsa.dot.gov and added updated information of interest to motor carriers and drivers. The site contains videos of the public-listening sessions on driver hours of service, as well as how the agency intends to implement its Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010 program. The site still contains write-ups and agency guidance on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and information on how to apply for USDOT numbers and for-hire operating authority.

Driver Pre-Employment Screening Program The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is proposing to establish a system of records under the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a) for its Pre-Employment Screening Program, as required by federal law. The new system of records will make crash and inspection data about commercial motor vehicle drivers rapidly available to commercial motor vehicle drivers (operator-applicants) and prospective employers of those drivers (motor carriers), via a secure Internet site, as an alternative to requiring them to submit a Freedom of Information Act request or Privacy Act request for the data. 75 Federal Register 10554 (March 8, 2010).

The Pre-Employment Screening Program system will be administered by National Information Consortium Technologies. The Pre-Employment Screening Program will provide drivers and carriers electronic access to the following reports contained in FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Management Information System: 1) Commercial motor vehicle accident reports; 2) Inspection reports that contain no driver-related safety violations; and 3) Serious driver-related safety violation inspection reports.

Final Rule on Electronic On-Board Recording Devices On March 18, 2010, the White House Office of Management and Budget approved the draft final rule on electronic on-board recording devices for commercial motor vehicles. Although the exact wording of the final rule is not yet known, this rulemaking would amend the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations to incorporate performance standards for electronic on-board recorders installed in commercial motor vehicles manufactured two years after the effective date of a final rule.

Court of Appeals Hears Argument in Rail-Truck Preemption Case The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit heard oral arguments on March 24 regarding an attempt by the City of Alexandria, VA, to limit the number of trucks that may access a rail-operated ethanol transloading facility within the city limits. The City imposed a license requirement that limited the facility to receiving 20 trucks per day for transloading of ethanol, citing the need to preserve safety on city streets. But Norfolk Southern, operator of the facility, claimed that federal law preempts the authority of local governments to limit or prohibit the transportation of hazmat by rail in interstate commerce. The railroad argued that the ordinance was a thinly veiled effort to limit the amount of hazmat rail traffic within the city, and therefore was preempted. The three-judge panel appeared sympathetic to Norfolk Southern’s arguments on preemption. A decision, which would have implications for local ordinances nationwide, is expected in the next few months.

Second TSA Nominee WithdrawsFor the second time, the nominee to be administrator of the Transportation Security Administration has withdrawn his name from consideration due to controversy. On Friday, March 26, Major General (Retired) Robert A. Harding withdrew his nomination after just two-and-a-half weeks. Harding’s withdrawal occurred after questions arose about a government contract that Harding's company was awarded in 2004 to provide private interrogators to Iraqi prisons for the Defense Intelligence Agency. Harding sold the firm, Harding Security Associates, in 2009. The contract was originally worth more than $50M but was terminated after only a year at the convenience of the government. The termination triggered an audit that revealed the company had double-billed the government, and a Defense Department inspector general investigation ultimately required the company to reimburse the government more than $2M, over a third of what Harding's company received. The White House has provided no information on when a third person might be named to the position.

April Safety & Technology Organizer Online The April Safety & Technology Organizer is now available at www.gawda.org. Topics include CSA 2010, Part 2, Forklift Maintenance and Inspection, and others.


New and Returning Members

GAWDA is pleased to welcome supplier Dapco Industries (Ridgefield, CT), and welcome back distributor All Gas And Welding Supply (Monticello, NY), and suppliers LA-CO Industries (Elk Grove Village, IL) and Label Solutions (Marshfield, MO).


Industry Beat
(what people are talking about)

GAWDA Member Climbs EverestThe snow-capped peak of Mount Everest pierces the sky at a staggering 29,035 feet above sea level. The freezing temperatures and ultra-thin air make reaching the peak an incredibly dangerous undertaking. Estimates suggest that only 4,300 people have ever reached the summit. Furthermore, the unforgiving mountain has claimed the lives of more than 200 climbers.

Everest is the world’s tallest peak, and the most sought-after accomplishment for mountaineers. Last year, Air Liquide Distributor Representative Christopher Guest set out to reach its pinnacle.  The March issue of GAWDA Edge chronicles Guest’s ascent, the many obstacles along the way and the oxygen distribution system that helped him survive it all. Read it here.

Aluminum Precision Products Establishes ESOP (Santa Ana, CA)Aluminum Precision Products, Inc. will gradually transfer ownership of the company to its employees through an ESOP. Founded 45 years ago by Philip Keeler, the family-owned company has experienced significant growth throughout its history. After 44 years at the helm, Mr. Keeler passed away in July 2009. The company has chosen this course not only as a reward to employees, but also as an assurance to customers that it will continue building on Keeler's legacy. This action will not change the management or operations of the company, nor will control of the company by the Keeler family be relinquished in the short term. It is expected that over time, the controlling interest and eventual full ownership of the company will transfer to employees through the normal process of the ESOP. Catalina Cylinders, a division of Aluminum Precision Products, has manufacturing facilities in Garden Grove, CA, and in Hampton, VA.

Air Products to Build Renewable Hydrogen Station (Allentown, PA)Air Products will build a renewable hydrogen fueling station in Fountain Valley, CA, that will produce clean on-site power, heat and renewable hydrogen. The contract, to demonstrate a renewable hydrogen fueling station, was awarded to Air Products by the California Air Resources Board and supported by the South Coast Air Quality Management District and United States Department of Energy. The fueling station is to be installed at the Orange County Sanitation District’s wastewater treatment facility. The system will be fueled with biogas from wastewater treatment operations and produce 300 kW of power and up to 300 lbs. of hydrogen per day. This hydrogen could be used for early market fuel cell applications such as back-up power and forklifts and is sufficient to fuel roughly 100 fuel cell cars.

Corp Brothers employees celebrate the achievement of ISO 17025 accreditation.

Corp Brothers Receives ISO 17025 Accreditation (Providence, RI)Corp Brothers Inc., a PurityPlus Specialty Gas laboratory, received ISO 17025 accreditation, the quality standard for testing and calibration laboratories. “As an ISO 17025 accredited lab, the traceability and reliability of our source productions, in conjunction with our documented testing procedures, enables us to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations every time,” says Rob Walkinshaw, Corp Brothers’ laboratory manager. He also notes that accreditation will afford customers confidence that they are purchasing products made to their exact specifications, the peace of mind that their products are traceable to a known ISO or NIST standard, and the assurance of the reliability of product quality, uniform from day to day and cylinder to cylinder.


GAWDA News

Spring Management Conference Draws Large AttendanceGAWDA members are registering in record numbers for the Spring Management Conference, to be held in Chicago at the Hyatt Regency Chicago Hotel from April 18-20. As of today, more than 500 delegates are set to attend. The number of distributor attendees is nearly double the amount of 2009. Registrations continue to come in.

Here are some specifics:

Attendees                    2009       2010
Distributors   94 170 
Suppliers  127  216 
Contact Booths   71  101 

View the list of Registrants and Exhibitors/Floor Diagram.

Convention Registration SpecialRegister 2 full delegates for the Spring Management Conference (SMC) and receive a complimentary third full delegate registration. To qualify, the 2 other full delegates must be registered from the same GAWDA member company, be current on their dues, and issue full payment to headquarters.

Exhibit Booths Still AvailableGAWDA supplier members can still submit their exhibit application. Download the application here.

Meeting Highlights
  • How to Make Yourself and Your Employees Accountable:  Mike Scott, Mike Scott & Associates
  • Measurement Tools for Running Your Business:  Lloyd Robinson, AWISCO; Ned Lane, Cee Kay Supply; and Ned Pontious, Norco
  • Merchandizing – Transforming Consumer Needs into Purchases:  Andy Stawksi, Miller Electric
  • Business and Corporate Integrity:  Mike Workman, Workman Associates
  • Young Executive Roundtables:  Discussions with Industry Leaders
  • Distributor Owner Roundtables:  Executive Compensation
  • President’s Reception
  • Contact Booth Program


Special Sale...Offer Ends April 20
GAWDA literature is on sale. Members can purchase safety posters, cylinder tags, membership directories and more at discounted prices. Download the order form and fax in your request today.

HR Report AvailableThe April 2010 HR Manager's Legal Reporter is now available for download at www.gawda.org. Read 8 Rules for Dealing with Poor Performers.

The GAWDA Clearinghouse has been updated for the month


Workshops, Web Conferences & Seminars

GAWDA University at No Cost to GAWDA Members
One of the toughest challenges facing companies today is training new employees and keeping current employees up-to-date on safety, compliance and industry best practices. GAWDA University is an industry-tested training program that will help your company. And now it’s completely without cost. If you would like to take part in a brief overview of GAWDA University please e-mail Kate Marlys, GAWDA membership director, at kmarlys@fernley.com to register.

Upcoming Events
For more information about these events, please click
on underlined titles or call GAWDA at 215-564-3484.
April 8-9 Mobile, AL Regional Meeting
April 18-20 GAWDA Spring Management Conference
May 16-17 Birmingham, AL Regional Meeting
May 26-27 Atlantic City, NJ Regional Meeting
June 1-2 East Lansing, MI Regional Meeting
June 27-28 Hattiesburg, MS Regional Meeting
July 15-16 Naperville, IL Regional Meeting
July 21-23 Whitefish, MT Regional Meeting
July 22 Seven Springs, PA Regional Meeting
August 17 N. Stonington, CT Regional Meeting
August 23-24 Kansas City, MO Regional Meeting
September 8 Gettysburg, PA Regional Meeting
October 2-5 • GAWDA Annual Convention
 



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