The headlines surrounding zero carbon emissions have been dominated by some of our largest brands, with the majority of recent progress coming from global corporations looking to reduce CO2 emissions and improve energy efficiency. Much of the initial emission reduction progress by large businesses is due to pressure they are facing from their shareholders and the general public. As a result, the majority of the support, guidelines and incentives available for the development of sustainable programs and for reporting emissions reduction, have been developed for large companies and do not cater to small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Chemicals, whether natural or synthetic, play an important role in our daily lives and are largely unavoidable for personal use and in the workplace. With all the information and protections we have in place to mitigate chemical exposure, you might be shocked to learn that most of the 80,000+ chemicals currently used in the United States have not been adequately tested for their human health effects. Laboratory employees are particularly vulnerable to hazardous chemical exposure through their daily operations. Exposure to hazardous chemical substances in laboratories and the lack of appropriate control measures can lead to catastrophic events, precipitating serious injuries and even fatalities, thereby underscoring the importance of chemical safety on the employer and user end.
Beginning in 2008, The American Academy of Ophthalmology named July as UV Awareness Month. It makes perfect sense for the hottest month of the year to be designated UV Safety Awareness Month. People are outdoors more, it is very warm, and the potential to damage to one’s exposed skin is at its peak from radiation in the form of ultraviolet light. UV rays are invisible radiation that comes from the sun, tanning beds, and sunlamps. These rays can penetrate and change skin cells.
Across the country this week, temperatures are forecasted to reach record highs in many areas. Heat stress may be thought of as a summertime safety issue; however, it is present indoors year-round due to environmental ambient conditions caused by heat sources from process equipment in certain industries.
Phase Is are conducted per ASTM E 1527-13 and include several major components: a site reconnaissance, completion of a User Questionnaire, a regulatory database search, interviews with persons knowledgeable of the property, and a review of reasonably ascertainable and readily available historical sources to identify the use of the property back to 1940 or its first developed use, whichever is earlier. As such, the ASTM E 1527-13 Standard Practice provides specific guidance as to what must be addressed. However, there is no ASTM standard for Desktop Reviews (more commonly called Risk Search with Risk Assessments-RSRAs). Therefore, RSRAs differ from consultant to consultant and also do not provide protection on CERCLA.
With the onset of pollen season, what better time to discuss indoor air quality? As defined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air quality (IAQ) is the air quality, specifically as it relates to the health and comfort of occupants, within and around buildings and structures. COVID-19 has increased the population’s general awareness and importance of IAQ as well as the transmission of infectious diseases. The EPA recently released a Clean Air in Buildings Challenge as part of the Federal government’s new IAQ initiative, which happens to also be a facet of the National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan.
Fatalities caused by falls from elevation is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for workers, with over 600 workers dying annually and almost 50,000 injured each year due to falls from elevation. All these deaths and injuries are preventable.
Given Lockout/Tagout’s established place on OSHA’s annual Top Ten Most Cited Violations list, it is not surprising that I spend a lot of time as an EHS consultant responding to clients’ questions regarding the control of hazardous energy. Regardless of industry or perceived corporate success, the majority of facilities nationwide struggle to effectively address the hazards associated with servicing, maintenance and other activities that require employees to bypass safety devices and reach their hands into machines.
The year was 1971. It was second ever Earth Day and it was spring, which meant baseball season. Fighting for the starting catcher job on my high school team, I was scheduled to start later on that afternoon. A couple of friends and I figured to celebrate Earth Day, we’d walk to school. Stopping at a friend’s house along the way, we reached the school campus an hour or two late. Of course, we had to sign in at the front office and receive a late pass, which required each teacher’s signature indicating we were in class; so, there was a record.
When considering environmental due diligence, one must consider the environmental conditions of the property in question (herein the subject property) and adjoining and nearby properties that might impact the subject property. This includes impacts to soils, surface waters, and groundwater from hazardous substances and/or petroleum products. When performing environmental due diligence (mostly likely a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment [Phase I]) one must look at potential sources of contamination from not only the subject property, but also from adjoining and nearby properties. So the actions of your neighbors might affect the value of your property, the perceived value of your property, the ability for you (the owner) to sell the property, the ability of a bank to foreclose on a property, plans for redevelopment of the subject property, and restrictions on the use of the subject property.
This week, April 3rd through the 9th, marks the annual Occupational Health Nurses Week (OHN) Week. This national observance serves to recognize and celebrate members of the occupational and environmental health nursing profession. Soon I will be coming up on my fourth decade as a medical professional. Throughout my career, I have worn many hats, but no hat have I enjoyed donning more than that of an “Occupational Health Nurse.” This profession has been enriching, rewarding and fun…and continues to be so.
Have you ever come across a situation where the property owner provides a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment (Phase II), which indicates the property is “clean.” You contact your bank and your loan officer indicates you still need a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (Phase I). You are confused and after you hang up the phone, you are still unclear why you need to have the added cost of a Phase I.
Happy Global Recycling Day! Today marks the 4th official recognized “Global Recycling Day.” Originally started in 2018; this day was chosen by Ranjit Baxi, President of the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR), to bring awareness to sustainability through recycling on a global scale. With a rise in the focus on climate change and the effects we all have on our environment; Mr. Baxi designated this day to encourage individuals and nations alike to view recyclable materials differently and promote immediate action.
March is National Ladder Safety Month, which began in 2017. The Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that more than 500,000 people are treated (over 1,300 per day) and about 300 people die from ladder-related injuries every year in the United States.
Statistics show you’re more likely to give first-aid to someone you know than a stranger. When minutes count, you’ll be the person to give the necessary aid to a family member or co-workers before Emergency Medical Services (EMS) arrive. Having the knowledge and skills to act can save or restore someone’s life and prevent you from wondering – what if?
A Regulatory File Review is required under ASTM Standard Practice (E 1527-13 [effective 11-13-13]) when the subject property or an adjoining property is noted in the Standard Environmental Records Sources during the course of a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA). Conducting a Regulatory File Review involves the procurement of regulatory files from Federal, state, and/or local governing agencies for review by an Environmental Professional (EP).
When you have a Closure Assessment Report (CAR) stating underground storage tanks (USTs) have been removed and that removal has been granted a No Further Action status from the state or other governing regulatory body, it might seem that nothing else is needed. While this is often the case, many times it is unknown if additional tanks remain on site; including tanks that pre-date the requirement for registration at the Federal and state levels in the 1980s.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Radon Awareness Week is this week (January 24-28, 2022). Radon is a naturally occurring invisible, odorless, tasteless and radioactive gas, which when trapped in homes and buildings can build up causing occupant exposure. Prolonged exposure to elevated radon concentrations causes an increased risk of lung cancer.
Wherever business managers lean politically, most concur that routine workplace testing of employees to identify COVID carriers is an effective measure to minimize occupational COVID transmission. The virulent nature of the Omicron variant (akin to measles in virulence) makes rapid antigen testing of the workforce a common sense choice to prevent them from spreading COVID to coworkers. What better concept to identify those employees who are infected with COVID and isolate them from their fellow workers to “Nip occupational COVID transmission in the bud!?”
Sustainability and ISO Management Systems: Are ISO Standards a Bunch of Hooey or a Helpful Sustainability Tool?
In recent years market drivers have played a more pivotal role in convincing management to embrace a corporate sustainable culture. In fact, even without new regulations or legal requirements, 90% of major US companies published a sustainability report in 2019, up from 20% in 2011. Sustainability has become a means of gaining market visibility and differentiation. This shift in business is about drivers in the marketplace and not regulation. Sustainability efforts at your facility may be driven by the requirements of multi-national companies with headquarters in Europe or possibly the requirements of customers within your global supply chain.
March is National Ladder Safety Month
March 1, 2022
January is all about Radon Awareness and Action
Jan 25, 2022
Selling Corporate Sustainability to Management
October 10, 2021
The Fundamentals of Confined Spaces
September 23, 2021
The End of Leaded Gasoline
September 17, 2021
What Does Swiss Cheese Have to Do with Preventing COVID-19?
August 19, 2021
The EPA Reviewing Risk Management Program Rules
June 15, 2021
Lessons Learned from a Health & Safety Career
June 9, 2021
The TOP 10 OSHA Violations of 2020
May 18, 2021
US EPA Announces New Lead Dust Clearance Level Standards
February 2, 2021
It’s Simply the Rules: Part II
December 8, 2020
It’s Simply the Rules: Part I
December 2, 2020
EPA RCRA Enforcement Priorities to Continue in 2021
Novermber 18, 2020
Norm Abram, Van Halen and the Importance of Reading the Manual
October 21, 2020
Environmental Surveillance: COVID-19 Testing of Wastewater
September 3, 2020
Lessons Learned from Occupational COVID-19 Screening
August 27, 2020
Are You Neglecting Safety Programs During the Pandemic?
August 18, 2020
Airborne COVID-19 Transmission in the Workplace
July 23, 2020
Training Students in the Era of COVID-19
May 7, 2020
Is COVID-19 Recordable on the OSHA 300 Log?
April 15, 2020
Minimizing Airborne Exposure to COVID-19 in Buildings
March 23, 2020
RCRA Requirements: Does Your Facility Generate Hazardous Waste?
February 19, 2020
Deep Breath: Respiratory Protection in the Growing COVID-19 Epidemic
February 13, 2020