Compliance

Annual Safety Audits: 4 Reasons Why You Need Them

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ANNUAL SAFETY AUDITS: 4 REASONS WHY YOU NEED THEM

It is always heart-wrenching when you hear about devastating accidents and fatalities in the workplace.  OSHA reports that on average 13 worker deaths occur each day, and out of all the reported workers, 3% will experience an injury or accident each day.  Thankfully these statistics have decreased since the 1970s, however many of the deaths and injuries that continue to happen today are preventable.

As an employer, it is your responsibility to provide a safe work environment for your employees.  This responsibility not only affects employees, but also their families.  That is why it is imperative to conduct annual safety audits at each facility in addition to meeting OSHA requirements.

Here are Four Reasons Why You Should Conduct Annual Safety Audits:

  1. To Ensure Compliance. Make sure you are in safety and environmental compliance with OSHA and the EPA, as well as state agencies.  Regulations are constantly changing and it is easy to miss urgent updates, even with all the email reminders and newsletters.  Conducting a safety audit with a third-party will help ensure that your facility is up to date with OSHA and EPA regulations.
  2. To Identify Potential Hazards. Facility managers and EHS managers may catch glaringly obvious hazards like damaged guardrails or puddles of water, but it is easy to miss less obvious hazards like noise or chemical over-exposure.   This can be common due to the fact the facility and EHS managers are on-site all day, every day and become acclimated to their surroundings.   Therefore, it is good practice to have someone other than the facility or EHS manager who is well versed in safety to audit the facility and to provide a fresh view of the work environment.
  3. To Evaluate the Effectiveness of Company Safety Training.  A thorough safety audit includes taking a look at the company safety training and policies.
    1. Are all supervisors’ and employees’ up to date with their annual refresher training?
    2. Has each employee completed a new hire orientation specific to their job duties?
    3. Are all employee training courses documented with a sign-in sheet, test materials, and a corresponding safety plan?

If you can not fully answer ‘yes’ to all these questions, it’s time to re-evaluate your safety training program.  Also, you will be able to identify where additional training may be needed.

4. To Assess the Condition of Equipment and Processes. OSHA regulations require inspections of equipment modifications and additions that could affect the safe operation of the equipment.  However, it is recommended that annual, or even semi-annual, inspections are performed on all equipment and processes.  Preventative maintenance is key to keeping equipment expenses within budget.  Additionally, equipment inspections allow supervisors and managers to assess the the safety and effectiveness of all work processes.

Have Questions or Concerns About Your Facility?  Call an SRP Safety Consultant Today!

SRP Safety Consultants work with companies across the United States in oil and gas, manufacturing, construction, agricultural, and healthcare.   SRP has eight convenient locations in Charlotte, Dallas, Denver, Honolulu, Long Beach, Midland, Shreveport and Pittsburgh.  Located elsewhere? Let SRP Come To You.   Call SRP Safety Consultants today at (866) 222-4972 to schedule a safety audit.

Clean Air Permit Changes Expected in November

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Clean Air Permit Changes Expected In November

Two big changes are in motion for air quality compliance.   These changes affect facilities in all industries, and both small and large firms.  Higher fines are effective immediately, and making changes to your Startup, Shutdown and Maintenance policies to omit emission exemptions will be effective November 16, 2016.

Higher Fines from EPA. Violations of the Clean Air Act will now cost the company $44,539 per day of violation period.  That’s up from $37,500.  Expect increases each year, as the EPA is now able to implement higher fines in relation to the cost-of-living.  This is part of the new Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015.

Read More: EPA Increases Violation Fines: Makes Non-Compliance Riskier

Additionally, facilities can expect higher fines for exceeding smoke, soot and smog limits at the state enforcement level.

Remove Startup, Shutdown and Maintenance Clause in Air Plans.  This means that facilities will no long be able to claim a permit shield, or exemption, in the event an equipment breakdown, planned startup, or planned shutdown pushes the facility over the permit limits.

Smoke Stack Air PollutionThere are two crucial impacts on industry:

  1. Many facilities will incur hefty expenses by upgrading their equipment to reduce
    maintenance.
  2. Facilities are face a spike in emissions could go from being labeled a minor source to a major source.  Facilities will have to decide whether to include higher emissions in their permit or hope for the best.

States are Enforcing Changes to SSM.  States including Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Kentucky, Indiana, Colorado, and Louisiana have updated their state Startup Shutdown and Maintenance policies.  If you are in Louisiana, don’t expect any leeway for sulfur dioxide or nitric acid emissions.  Colorado, however, will still provide exemptions for some facilities as long as they immediately report issues and minimize emissions from an SSM event.

While some states are listening to the EPA, nineteen states along with different industry groups are not.  They believe that any issues with equipment that lead to emissions should not be subject to fines.   These states and groups are challenging the EPA in court, but a decision won’t be made till after the November 16th compliance deadline set by the EPA.

Read More About What EPA Inspectors are Looking For Now

Do you have questions about environmental compliance?  Contact an SRP Environmental Consultant today.  We have seven convenient locations in Charlotte, Dallas, Denver, Honolulu, Midland, Shreveport and Pittsburgh.  Call us toll-free at 866.222.4972 or visit us online.

Source: Environmental Compliance Alert, August 15, 2016