All posts by SRP Environmental

Asbestos & Renovating: 5 Things Not To Do

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Tearing into materials that contain asbestos can be detrimental to your family’s or employees health, which is why it is important to contact a professional prior to any renovation or demolition work.

Older Office Building With Asbestos and LeadAs a general rule, if the structure or building was built during or prior to the 1970s, there is a good chance that there are asbestos containing materials like floor tiles, ceiling tiles, roof shingles and insulation.  However, SRP Asbestos Inspectors have seen homes and buildings that were built in the 2000s to have traces of asbestos.  Even though manufacturing of products with asbestos has been banned, some of the materials in a newer building could have been recycled or reused.  This why precautions must be taken before any remodeling projects to protect the owner and occupants from asbestos exposure.

Asbestos & Renovation: 5 Things Not To Do

  1. Don’t Start a Renovation Without An Asbestos Inspection. It is important to know what materials contain asbestos and where they are located.  Removing flooring or walls could send asbestos fibers airborne, making your home or office prone to asbestos exposure.
  2. Don’t Assume Asbestos Materials Are In Plain Sight.  Always hire a certified asbestos inspector.  They have the training and experience to locate asbestos containing materials.  The glue or mastic underneath carpet or tile, insulation behind walls, and even piping could have asbestos.
  3. Don’t Ignore Newer Buildings. When in doubt, call a professional to determine if an asbestos inspection is needed.
  4. Don’t Try to Remove It Yourself.  There is a reason why there are trained and certified asbestos abatement contractors.  You could put you and the occupants in danger of cancer causing asbestos fibers when removing materials.  There are proper procedures and regulations in place to ensure the safety of workers and building occupants.  Full containment should be set up, proper personal protective equipment should be worn, and air monitoring should be done during abatement activities.
  5.  Always disclose the presence of asbestos to employees and occupants.  It is important that they know where those materials are located so they do not accidentally remove or disturb the materials.  For example, maintenance personnel may unknowingly expose others to asbestos by drilling into walls or fixing leaky pipes.

Have Questions About Asbestos? Call an SRP Asbestos Inspector Today! Call (866) 222-4972 or email us below.

Prevent Groundwater Contamination: 5 Things Your Business Can Do

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Prevent Groundwater Contamination: 5 Things Your Business Can Do

 

Groundwater contamination is serious business.  It affects drinking water, navigable waterways, and soil. Not to mention contamination poses health risks for you, your family and friends.

You may not think that your business could contribute to groundwater contamination. However, many industries and types of businesses are at a greater risk of contamination.  Plus, there are regulations in place and violating one of them could cost your business.  The Clean Water Act regulates ground water that is shown to have a connection with surface water. It sets standards for allowable pollutant discharges to surface water. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulates treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous and nonhazardous wastes.

Typical Sources of Contamination Include:

  • Auto Repair Shops
  • Construction Areas
  • Car Washes
  • Dry Cleaners
  • Gas Stations
  • Laundromats
  • Manufacturing Facilities
  • Petroleum Production and Storage
  • Storage Tanks (Above ground and Underground Storage Tanks)
  • Toxic or Hazardous Spills and Releases

Five Things Your Business Can Do to Prevent Groundwater Contamination

  1. Re-evaluate Processes.  Consider changing the frequency washing equipment or vehicles.  Or consider implementing a rotation schedule for washing and maintenance so that runoff is kept at a minimum at all times.  Recycle old oil or chemicals instead of dumping them.
  2. Consider Material Substitutions.  Look for affordable, less hazardous materials.
  3. Inspect Storage Area. Make sure all storage tanks and containers are in good condition and properly closed.  Also make sure all containers are labeled correctly.
  4. Inspect Inventory. Check inventory logs to see if you are ordering too much of a certain material or chemical.   The more inventory you have on-site means there is more of a chance for a spill or release.
  5. Periodically test soil and groundwater.  Contamination can often remain undetected for long periods of time. This makes cleanup of a contaminated water supply difficult, if not impossible. If a cleanup is undertaken, it can cost thousands to millions of dollars.  Contact a professional to schedule soil and groundwater testing on a regular basis.

Have Questions About Soil and Groundwater Testing?  Call SRP to Speak With One of Our Environmental Consultants in Your Area.  Call Us Today at (866) 222-2364 or Email Us Below.

Source: Environmental Compliance Alert.

SRP Toolbox Meeting – Lead Awareness

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Control Lead Exposure. Keep Workers Safe & Avoid Costly Fines

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In case you missed it…National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (NLPPW) started October 22, 2017.  NLPPW aims to educate communities, families, organizations and government entities about the risks associated with lead poisoning among children and adults.

OSHA estimates that approximately 804,000 workers in general industry and an additional 838,000 workers in construction are potentially exposed to lead. Workers are commonly exposed to lead as a result of the production, use, maintenance, recycling, and disposal of lead material and products.

Of course respiratory protection should always be used, but  personal protective equipment may not be enough.   Because lead exposure is dangerous, employers must implement engineering and administrative controls to minimize employee exposure to the greatest extent possible. Engineering controls can include substituting the use of lead with a less hazardous material, isolating exposure areas, or using ventilation systems.   Administrative controls include polices and procedures, general housekeeping, personal hygiene guidelines, and lead awareness training.

If you suspect the presence of lead based paint or lead dust, DO NOT attempt to remove it yourself.  Always contact a professional to inspect materials that may contain lead.  Also, call a certified lead abatement contractor to remove the materials.

Want to learn more about lead exposure?  Download an SRP Toolbox Guide here.

Have Concerns About Lead?  Call SRP Today to Schedule a Lead Survey or Lead Awareness Training for Your Workers. Call Us At ( 866) 222-4972 or email us below.

 

SRP Toolbox Meeting – Lockout Tagout

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Are Your Workers Engaged in Safety?

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A successful safety program starts and ends with engaged workers.  The goal of a safety program is to protect workers from potential hazards.   A successful safety program will also have the support of upper management who actively abide by the policies in place and set a good example for workers. The program must be implemented and utilized by upper management, then supervisors, and then workers.

How can you tell if you have a successful safety program?

  1. Worker Following Safety ProgramWorkers participate in discussions. Engaged employees will openly share their views on safety and how it relates to their job duties.   They are the ones on the front line day in and day out, so they are a great resource to see how effective your companies’ safety program is.
  2. Workers anticipate hazards. Engaged employees carefully plan on how to complete their job duties.  Constant scanning for hazards and anticipating what could go wrong are good indicators that workers are implementing the safety program.
  3. Workers keep their colleagues safe. Engaged employees keep an eye on their co-workers.  They understand what supervisors are looking for during observations, and ensure consistent safe behavior is being followed.
  4. Workers report near-misses. Engaged employees are not afraid to report near-misses.  They see these events as learning opportunities, and ensure that the near-miss that could have resulted in an injury does not happen again.  

For over 20 years, SRP has provided full-service environmental, health and safety services to companies in the oil and gas, manufacturing, construction, agricultural, and healthcare industries. 

Expect Changes to Lockout Tagout Regs

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Every year OSHA releases the Top 10 Most Cited Standards and lockout/tagout is frequently cited during inspections.   According to OSHA, Lockout/Tagout is the fifth most cited OSHA Violation.  More than 3,400 violations were found last year.  An estimated 10% of serious accidents are caused by failure to control hazardous energy.

Download a FREE Lockout Tagout Toolbox Meeting Guide.

Because of this and that fact the standard is outdated, OSHA plans to issue a Request for Information in 2018.  This is the first step in making changes to standards and would allow OSHA to learn about the strengths and weaknesses of new technology and new potential hazards.  The LOTO standard was adopted in 1989 and since then advances in technology have led to computer-based controls of hazardous energy, which conflicts with the old standard.  The American National Standards Institute has already updated their lockout tagout standards in hopes to coincide with changes in technology.   Hopefully, OSHA will see the same need to update their standard.

Have Questions? Call SRP Today at (866) 222-4972! SRP Safety Consultants can provide lockout tagout training and safety evaluations on site.

 

Know These 4 Common Environmental Issues

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Environmenhttp://srpenvironmental.com/know-these-4-common-environmental-issues/tal management can easily become an oversight as businesses expand and as management responsibilities are shifted.  Non-industrial and commercial facilities may not be aware of these issues because their primary line of business does not require an environmental manager.

For example, an retail product wholesaler with a fleet of commercial vehicles may not be aware of stormwater runoff concerns.  Or a professional services company may not know to obtain an environmental site assessment for their new office building; or to have an asbestos inspection prior to renovating their new office.

Here Are Four Key Environmental Issues That All Business Owners Should Know.

  1. Buying and Selling of Property. Environmental issues are the buyers responsibility under state property transfer laws.  That is why it is important to obtain a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment to determine if there is any soil contamination or groundwater contamination on a property you wish to purchase.
  2. Underground Storage Tanks. Make it a habit to inspect UST’s for leaks.  Identify all tanks that contain heating oil, diesel fuel, chemical waste, etc.
  3. Older Office Building With Asbestos and LeadBuilding Renovations. Asbestos containing materials and lead-based paint is common in older buildings.  Before renovating, always contact a certified asbestos and lead inspector.  They are able to assess building materials that are prone to have asbestos such as tile, mastic, and dry wall materials.
  4. Stormwater. Large impervious parking surfaces may require a permit.  There are a number of runoff controls facilities can use to reduce liability.  Common controls include grassy swales, berms and retention ponds.  Renovating on an acre or larger?  Remember to treat stormwater runoff.

Source: Environmental Compliance Alert, October 2, 2017, Vol 25, Issue 567

Have More Questions? Call SRP Today to Get Answers.  Call Us at (866) 222-4972 or Email Us Below. 

For over 20 years, SRP Environmental has provided full-service environmental, health and safety services to companies within the oil and gas, construction, manufacturing, healthcare, agricultural industries. 

Hurricanes & Waste Releases: 5 Questions to Ask Yourself

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Hurricanes & Waste Releases: 5 Questions to Ask Yourself

It is a fact that 2017 has made history with the devastation caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Torrential rainfall and destructive winds do not do manufacturing facilities any favors.  Chemical spills, sewage runoff, toxic gas leaks and hazardous waste releases greatly increase during severe weather.

Hazardous Waste & Chemical Spills

These storms have caused industry to reconsider their emergency plans and account for the risk of flooding.   Fire, police and hazmat teams become inundated with phone calls and rescue missions during severe weather and may not have the resources available to assist your facility in the event of a chemical leak or pipe bust.  Environmental, health and safety professionals should think about what happens if emergency responders can’t get to their facility.

Disasters will happen, however there are things your facility can put into practice to help eliminate damages caused by a hazardous release.

Here are five questions facilities should ask themselves.

  1. Are you storing solvents and cleaning agents on the floor? Consider investing in elevated racks and shelves to store your products. Not only will this prevent having damaged goods, it will help prevent potential releases of hazardous chemicals into flood and stormwaters.
  2. Do you need to replace hazardous waste drums? It is never a good sign to see visible corrosion on the bottom of drums.
  3. Can you elevate waste containers? Flood waters can easily make containers fall over, especially if they are light in weight. Consider placing waste containers on pallets or storage racks.
  4. Are you prepared for a rapid shutdown? Always take special precautions when shutting down and restarting equipment.   Equipment and machinery that is normally run automatically is now under manual control during shutdown and start up.  This could cause an increase in safety risk due to human error and compromised attention to detail, resulting in potential releases of chemicals and solvents used during production.
  5. Can you move materials and equipment indoors?  Facilities are held liable for what contents run off their property at any time.  Prior to a severe weather threat, consider moving items indoors to eliminate the risk of hazardous waste or chemical runoff during storms.

Source: Environmental Compliance Alert, Vol 25 No. 566, September 19 2017

2017 OSHA’s Top 10 Violations Announced

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It is that time of year again–the time when the National Safety Council announces OSHA’s Top 10 Most Cited Violations.  Although the number of violations will not be finalized until December, the counts are not expected to affect the list of top ten violations.

Fall protection remains in the top spot with most citations involving the construction industry.  Unprotected edges and failure to provide fall protection on low pitched roofs account for the majority of citations.  Failure to provide safety data sheets (SDS) for chemicals and products used makes hazard communication the second most cited standard yet again.   Scaffolding, respiratory protection and lockout/tagout round out the top five citations with most violations caused by the lack of training and program implementation.

The new standard to the list is Fall Protection – Training Requirements, which made its debut at number nine and replaced electrical general requirements.  Could the updated walking-working surfaces and fall protection standard account for the increase of fall protection citations?

According to an OSHA Fact Sheet, “the rule adds a requirement that employers ensure workers who use personal fall protection and work in other specified high hazard situations are trained, and retrained as necessary, about fall and equipment hazards, including fall protection systems. A qualified person must train these workers to correctly: identify and minimize fall hazards; use personal fall protection systems and rope descent systems; and maintain, inspect, and store equipment or systems used for fall protection.”

2017 OSHA Top Ten Most Cited Violations

  1. Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501): 6,072 violations
  2. Hazard Communication (1910.1200): 4,176
  3. Scaffolding (1926.451): 3,288
  4. Respiratory Protection (1910.134): 3,097
  5. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147): 2,877
  6. Ladders (1926.1053): 2,241
  7. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178): 2,162
  8. Machine Guarding (1910.212): 1,933
  9. Fall Protection – Training Requirements: 1,523
  10. Electrical – Wiring Methods (1910.305): 1,405

Keep Your Employees Safe and Avoid Costly Fines. Make Sure All New Hires Are Properly Trained Before Working Alone, and Make Sure Employees Attend Annual Refresher Training to Stay Up to Date on OSHA Standard Changes.

Have Questions? Call an SRP Safety Consultant Today at (866) 222-4972.  

Source: National Safety Council, 

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