Welcome to RIPA’s new newsletter format. “RIPA in the News” will enable the association to provide you with timely information about the association’s activities. We still have a few upgrades to make to the new format, but in the meantime we are very excited about this new way to communicate with members.

Paul Rankin, President     C.L. Pettit, Technical Director
Rick Schweitzer, Counsel     Bonnie Cunningham, Meetings & Events


Table of Contents

  • Message from the Chair
  • EPA Region V Focusing on VOCs from Wash Lines
  • Technical Conference May 2-4, 2022 Memphis, TN
  • RIPA Welcomes its New Directors on the Board
  • OSHA Seeks Mitigation of Workers' Heat Stress
  • VAX Req's for Trucks Crossing US / Canada Border
  • Supreme Court Stays Large-Employer VAX Mandate
Save the Dates

RIPA Spring Technical Conference
May 2 - 4, 2022
Memphis, TN

Chair's Message  by Tim O'Bryan

I want to thank the Board and all RIPA members for giving me the opportunity to serve as your Chairman.  It feels like only yesterday that I was first elected to the Board, but in fact I have served as a member of the Board and two years as Secretary of the Association since 2012, and have been involved with the association for over 30 years.  Time really does fly.
In this, my first report to the Board, I want to congratulate our outgoing Chair, Mike Bank, for all he did to steer this association through arguably its most difficult period in recent history.  I believe Mike Bank deserves an enormous amount of credit for holding the group together during COVID and ensuring that our members were fully represented here in the U.S. and internationally.  I regret that the entire membership was not on hand at our fall annual conference to properly thank Mike for his efforts.  But I expect he knows that he earned our deep respect for the work he did as Chair.  Thank you, Mike.
Bill Carroll will be our Treasurer and Eric Bernath will serve as Vice Chair these next two years, and we realize that the members of this organization - - now in its 80th year of operation - - expect nothing less than our best effort. I am confident that this team will help me continue Mike’s legacy and lead RIPA through the challenges facing our industry.
I am looking forward to working with our excellent staff on a wide range of very important issues, including empty IBC placarding, 10/8/10 steel drums, and Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions. 
As we begin a new year, I want every member to know that I am just a phone call or email away.  If you have questions about any issue, or concerns about any association matter, don’t hesitate to call me.  I take my responsibilities as RIPA Chair very seriously, and I am going to do my best to ensure our organization works for everyone.
A healthy RIPA means a healthy reusable industrial packaging industry.  I look forward to working with all of you going forward.  Thank you again for this honor.
Region 5 EPA Seeks to Regulate VOC Emissions in Reconditioning Facilities
Enforcement officials in EPA Region 5 are visiting reconditioning facilities and asking for technical data related to emissions of a class of substances known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC).  The Agency apparently believes that reconditioners have underestimated or failed to properly measure VOC emissions and, as a result, they are seeking data to determine if future regulation of the industry is warranted. 

According to EPA, volatile organic compounds are materials that have a high vapor pressure and low water solubility. They are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids, such as industrial solvents, fuel oxygenates, petroleum fuels, hydraulic fluids, paint thinners, and dry cleaning agents.  They are emitted by a wide array of products including paints and lacquers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, glues and adhesives. 

Presently, the Agency is in the early fact-finding stages of its work and is trying to determine the level of VOC emissions emitted by reconditioning facilities.   EPA staff have visited at least two member companies in the Region that recondition steel drums and intermediate bulk containers. 
Based upon concerns that EPA enforcement activities would surely impact all members in the six-state region (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin), and later all association members, RIPA’s Board of Directors held a special meeting earlier this month to discuss the subject.  They decided to hire a consulting firm with expertise in air issues and begin to map out a strategy for future work with EPA.   
RIPA hopes to convince EPA to work with the association to ensure that enforcement measures will not unfairly or improperly impact facilities with differing size and operating characteristics.  This approach is typically more efficient for both the Agency and the industry, ensures better and more representative data collection, and accounts for small business concerns. 
According to RIPA Chair Tim O’Bryan, “A core purpose of RIPA is to defend the reconditioning industry against regulatory activities that will impact all or nearly all of our members.  We hope that RIPA’s involvement in the Region V effort will encourage EPA to create a fair and responsible national solution to this complex matter.”
Anyone with questions or concerns about this issue should contact the association. 

RIPA Spring Technical Conference May 2-4, 2022  Memphis, TN

Get ready for the return of  RIPA’s Spring Technical Conference  in spring 2022 in the charming river city, Memphis, Tennessee.  The hotel will be the legendary Peabody Hotel.

There will be several important sessions including the Steel Drum, Plastic Drum and IBC Product Groups.   Also, a Product Group Plenary Session and a Suppliers Showcase Panel are being planned.  (There are no tabletop displays at the spring meeting.)

The Technical Conference is traditionally planned as a forum for not only owner/operators, but for plant managers and other plant personnel as well.   So, give some thought to how you and your colleagues will benefit by attending.

Memphis is a centrally located destination with many amenities and cultural attractions.   The food, the music, the river.  We will make sure your visit is remarkable.

FYI: The conference will begin with a Suppliers’ Welcome Reception Sunday evening.   RIPA Supplier Members traditionally sponsor a significant share of the overall event.  Thank you to the Supplier Members for this special support!    

                   The Peabody Hotel
         Memphis Hot Spot Beale Street   
RIPA Board of Directors Elections: Welcome New Directors!
Members of the Reusable Industrial Packaging Association have elected five persons to the association’s Board of Directors.  Each newly elected Board member will serve a three-year term, from January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2024.
RIPA is a North American trade association representing the interests of businesses engaged in the reconditioning, remanufacture and manufacture of industrial packagings, including steel, plastic and fiber drums, as well as intermediate bulk containers.  RIPA is also a founding member of the International Confederation of Container Reconditioners, which represents the industry in various international regulatory and standards organizations.

The incoming Board members are (alphabetical order):
  • Mike Chorpash, Centurion Container, LLC
  • Phil Dworsky, Consolidated Container Company, LLC
  • Tim Evoy, FDS, Inc.
  • Dean Ricker, Skolnik Industries, Inc.
  • Randy Speights, Mitchel Container Services, Inc.

U.S. OSHA Seeking Input on Mitigation of Workers' Heat Stress 
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has initiated a rulemaking to protect indoor and outdoor workers from hazardous heat.  The agency is interested in obtaining additional information about the extent of hazardous heat in the workplace and the effectiveness of interventions and controls used to prevent heat-related injury and illness.

Heat is the leading cause of death among all weather-related phenomena. Excessive heat exacerbates existing health problems like asthma, kidney failure, and heart disease. It can cause heat stroke and even death if not treated properly and promptly.  

Historically, OSHA has relied on its "General Duty Clause” to cite employers for heat-related hazards.  However, under the General Duty Clause, OSHA cannot require abatement before proving in an enforcement proceeding that specific workplace conditions are hazardous; whereas a heat stress standard would establish the existence of the hazard at the rulemaking stage, thus allowing OSHA to identify and require abatement measures without having to prove the existence of a hazard in each case.

U.S. Supreme Court Stays Enforcement of OSHA Vaccine/Testing  Mandate

In a 6-3 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court has halted efforts by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to require that companies with 100 or more employees ensure their employees are vaccinated against COVID or submit to weekly testing.
After cutting through all the legal jargon, the substance of the Supreme Court decision is that the OSHA mandate is effectively dead because the Court ruled that OSHA does not have authority from Congress to impose such a broad public health requirement on employers.  
The Supreme Court stated, “The Act empowers the Secretary to set workplace safety standards, not broad public health measures.”  The opinion continued, “Permitting OSHA to regulate the hazards of daily life—simply because most Americans have jobs and face those same risks while on the clock—would significantly expand OSHA’s regulatory authority without clear congressional authorization.”
Importantly, this decision does not affect the COVID vaccine mandate for federal contractors and subcontractors.  That mandate was established under the federal procurement laws, a separate statutory scheme than the one underlying the OSHA mandate.  But the contractor mandate has also been stayed by the lower federal courts and is not currently in effect.  Those court challenges are making their way through the appellate process.
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