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EPA Implements New Rules for Hazardous Waste Generators

EPA Implements New Rules for Hazardous Waste Generators

New Jersey and Pennsylvania have adopted the EPA’s Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule. This revised rule for hazardous waste generators became effective May 30, 2017 for states that do not have an EPA authorized RCRA program (Iowa and Alaska) and for states (such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania) that have adopted the rule by reference.

  • Other Authorized States run the RCRA program in their state and, thus, will go through the state adoption & authorization process for this new RCRA rule. Authorized states will have to pick up the more stringent provisions, typically by July 1, 2018 (or July 1, 2019 if state law change is needed).

What Does This Mean to Your Site’s Operations?

  • The new rule allows for Very Small (formally “Conditionally Exempt Small”) and Small Quantity Generators (SQG) to have an episodic increase in hazardous waste production without resulting in a change in hazardous waste generator status. There are notification, marking, labeling, storage, and recordkeeping requirements associated with this provision.
  • Additional notification requirements are in effect for Small and Large Quantity Generators.
  • In addition to determining the type of waste that has been generated, hazardous waste generators will have to determine the physical and health hazards of the waste. Hazardous waste container marking requirements include identifying the physical and health hazards of the waste.

Key changes to the Hazardous Waste Generators requirements:

  • Reorganization of the regulatory requirements placing all of the generator requirements in 40 CFR Part 262. The regulation has been reorganized, and the rules are easier to find.
  • New for Small Quantity Generators
    • Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator (CESQG) will now be designated as a Very Small Quantity Generator (VSQG).
    • Creation of the “episodic event” provision which allows SQG and VSQG to generate a volume of waste (that would have previously moved them to a higher-level generator category) with certain limitations. The generator category would not change as a result of an “episodic event”. Note: An increase in production resulting in an increase of waste generation does not qualify as an “episodic event”.
    • VSQG under the ownership of a Large Quantity Generator (LQG) may transport their waste to the LQG for disposal. Note – there are DOT requirements and NJDEP hazardous waste transporter requirements which are not considered as part of this ruling.
    • New rules require SQG’s to submit a notification to the EPA every 4 years beginning in 2021. The notification serves as verification that the SQG is still in operation.
  • New for Large Quantity Generators
    • LQG’s need to notify the EPA or their authorized state if the facility is closing.
    • LQG’s must create and submit a Contingency Plan quick reference guide for emergency responders. The content requirements are found in 40 CFR 260.262. Note: LQG’s with existing Contingency Plans do not need to create a quick reference guide until the next Contingency Plan revision.
  • Hazardous waste container markings requirements now include identification of the hazards of the contents (this can be accomplished with GHS markings and/or DOT markings) in addition to marking as “Hazardous Waste”.

Clarifications to the Hazardous Waste Generators requirements:

  • 3-day rule for moving waste in Satellite Accumulation Areas to a Central Accumulation Area has been clarified to mean 3 calendar days.
  • New rules clarify that a hazardous waste generator can only have one generator category per month. If an activity makes a generator a LQG at a given moment, they are a LQG for the entire month.
  • New rules clarify that solid and hazardous waste determinations must be made at the point of generation before any dilution, mixing, or other alteration of the waste occurs.
  • Storage areas for hazardous waste that do not meet the definition of satellite accumulation areas are called “central accumulation areas” (CAA). The new rules clarify that there can be more than on CAA and that “central” does not mean that it is in the center of the facility.
  • New rules clarify that SQGs and LQGs must identify the RCRA waste code(s) associated with their waste. Hazardous waste determination has always been a requirement for generators; however, many relied on disposal vendor to identify the waste code. The new rules clarify that this is a requirement of the hazardous waste generator.

HOW CAN EMILCOTT HELP?

Emilcott can assist with getting your operation aligned with the Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Final Rule. Every day Emilcott’s experienced professionals help hazardous waste generators understand the new requirements, and how the rule affects their operations. This is your opportunity to learn more about what you can do to comply with the new rule.

Emilcott can provide a broad range of technical support related to RCRA Compliance:

  • Training: Client-needs specific training for site-wide RCRA Awareness for waste generators and shipment manifest signers.
  • Program Development: Update site programs and implementation methods to reflect new requirements.
  • Prepare RCRA Regulatory Submissions: Biennial Reports, Notifications, and Status Updates
  • Gap Assessments: Identify potential gaps in compliance related to program implementation or operational changes.

Please give us a call – we can help you meet your goals!


Portable Space Heater Safety in the Workplace

There are no federal workplace safety rules that prohibit portable electric space heaters in the workplace and statistics regarding commercial property damage caused by space heaters are not readily available. However, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that more than 25,000 residential fires every year are associated with the use of space heaters—resulting in more than 300 deaths. In addition, an estimated 6,000 people every year receive emergency room care for burn injuries associated with contacting the hot surfaces of room heaters, mostly in non-fire situations.

 

So, as the cold weather sets in, employers may be considering if they should permit portable space heaters or actually discourage their use—even outright ban them. However, some work areas can just be cold. This is a frequent problem with older buildings or those areas near entries or doors.  Adding to the challenge, there are many employees with medical conditions that require extra warmth above what is normally considered comfortable and a space heater can fulfill that accommodation without heating up everyone else’s work space.

 

The good news—like so many other hazards, portable space heaters can be used safely if proper care and precautions are implemented. Any employer permitting the use of portable space heaters should highly consider a written policy to spell out exactly what is proper care and sufficient precautions. It could possibly prevent fires, injuries and even death.

 

Firstly, OSHA rules do require that electrical equipment must be used according to manufacturer specifications on the unit’s label and in the user manual. Therefore, only employer-purchased and issued space heaters with adequate safety features should be used.  Generally, regardless of the types of space heaters, the following applies:

 

  • Choose only thermostatically controlled heaters to avoid wasting energy or overheating
  • Most heaters come with a general sizing table, so select heaters of varying sizes to fit the size of the areas that needs heating
  • Position heaters on a level surface away from foot traffic
  • All space heaters must be kept away from any combustible material
  • Heaters should have a tip-over automatic shut down feature and a grounded three-pronged plug
  • Require that space heaters always be turned off when the area is not occupied—possibly unplugged at night
  • Plug heaters directly into a wall outlet and in plain sight
  • Remind employees that nothing should ever be placed on top of or touching the space heater
  • Heaters missing guards, control knobs, feet, frayed cords, or otherwise damaged must be taken out of service
  • Discontinue use of the heater if the heater causes the electrical circuit breaker to trip

 

It is not recommended that unvented combustion space heaters, such as those fueled by propane, natural gas, and kerosene, be used for heating inside areas. They introduce unwanted combustion products into the environment—including nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and water vapor—and deplete air in the space. Check for local regulations banning unvented kerosene and natural gas heaters.

 

Office Safety is covered under the OSHA General Duty Clause. Good office “housekeeping” and safety policies can prevent injuries. If you have questions about office safety policy, Emilcott can help.


Does Your Facility Need to File an Annual Community Right to Know Survey?

Community Right to Know (CRTK) Surveys must be completed and submitted by March 1 of each year by all industries with a listed NAICS code. A listing of applicable NAICS codes can be found at the following url: http://www.nj.gov/dep/enforcement/opppc/rtknaics.pdf.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) is initiating an enforcement effort against all entities that have not filed their 2015 CRTK Survey and did not receive an exemption from filing. If your company has not filed a CRTK Survey for 2015 and has not received an exemption, the NJDEP is encouraging entities to file. Filing before being forced to do so by the NJDEP may reduce the risk of a monetary fine.

If you are unsure whether you should file a survey or file for an exemption, here are the basics:

Requirements for Filing a CRTK Survey

1. Your facility is in a regulated NAICS Code

2. Your facility stored reportable quantities of regulated substances as listed in:

http://www.nj.gov/dep/enforcement/opppc/crtk/ehsalpha.pdf and

http://www.nj.gov/dep/enforcement/opppc/crtk/ehscasno.pdf

For an Exemption:

You must submit a CRTK Reporting Exemption Form which you can find at: http://www.nj.gov/dep/opppc/crtk/crtkrptexemptfm.html , if your facility meets one of the following criteria:

1. Your facility is in a regulated NAICS Code however NO environmental hazardous substances (as

listed in:) were present in 2015

2. Listed substances were present but below the applicable reporting thresholds;

3. Your facility is in a regulated NAICS Code and you meet the definition of an unstaffed site

(“Unstaffed site” means a remotely operated site, not contiguous to any other staffed sites and at which no full-time or part-time employees are assigned at any time except for maintenance or emergency repair – N.J.A.C. 7:1G1.2 (h)); or

4. If you determine that your facilities are in a regulated NAICS Code and ALL FACILITIES YOU OWN IN NJ conduct administrative office functions only.

Emilcott professionals are here to help if you determine that your facility needs to file a 2015 CRTK Survey or file for an exemption. Emilcott can also act as a liaison between your organization and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.


Determining Recordability

Employers are responsible for recording all work-related injuries and illnesses. If you are unable to determine if an injury or illness is recordable after you have completed the investigation, and evaluated all available documents, it is recommended that you contact the OSHA area office nearest you.


Incident Investigations and Learnings

With the amount of time that our Emilcott associates spend on different sites, they have seen just about everything when it comes to incident investigations. We thought we would share some of our incident investigation lessons learned, so that you don’t experience similar situations. Here are a couple of example “learnings” from Emilcott’s staff:


Thankful for Safety Lessons Learned

“Safety lessons” are usually “learned” as part of the accident investigation after an injury. The health and safety professional community refers to these investigations as incident investigations – following the logic that almost all worksite fatalities and injuries, along with illnesses, are not accidents – but rather they are preventable incidents.


Fire Safety Prevention and Preparation

Regardless of the industry or type of business you conduct at your work facility, fire safety should always be a main concern. Too often we get wrapped up in our work and do not take the conscious steps needed to prevent work fires. The best way to ensure the safety of your staff is through fire prevention and preparation. Talk with your staff about the following precautions they can take to be aware of their surroundings in the facility to prevent future fire emergencies.


Planning for a Fire in the Workplace is Key!

Nobody ever expects an emergency or disaster to occur in their workplace. Yet the basic truth is that emergencies can strike even in the least expected places, such as work. When it comes to workplace fires, the best way to protect yourself, your workers and your business is to develop a well-thought-out emergency action plan as a guide for when instant action is essential.


Fire Safety In the Workplace

While October is generally recognized as Fire Prevention Month, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and most fire departments designate the second week of October as Fire Prevention Week.  This has roots dating date back to the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 that killed more than 250 people and left more than 100,000 homeless. The purpose of this focused effort is simple—fire safety is serious business.  It deserves a month long effort to underscore the importance of fire safety in the home, in schools and at work.  


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