September 14, 2020
Kevin Shibilski, 59, Merrill, Wisconsin, was charged with storing and disposing of hazardous waste without a permit, in his capacity as the Chief Executive Officer of 5R Processors, Ltd., a Wisconsin company involved in the recycling of electronic waste from corporate and institutional clients and from manufacturers that participate in a manufacture-take-back program. The indictment alleges that Shibilski illegally stored and disposed of broken and crushed glass from cathode ray tubes that was hazardous due to lead-toxicity at facilities in Wisconsin and Tennessee.
The indictment also charges Shibilski with eight counts of wire fraud by taking in over $5.76 million from clients but failing to recycle over 8.3 million pounds of their crushed glass from cathode ray tubes that had lead in them and instead stockpiling it at 5R Processors’ warehouses in Wisconsin and Tennessee. The final count of the indictment alleges that Shibilski conspired to defraud the United States by the nonpayment and evasion of more than $850,000 in employment and income taxes for 5R Processors and its nominee entities.
In related cases, Thomas Drake, 80, Jasper, Georgia; James Moss, 61, Ladysmith, Wisconsin; and Bonnie Dennee, 66, Phillips, Wisconsin, who all held positions with 5R Processors, have been charged with conspiring to store and transport hazardous waste without the required permits. Moss also has been charged with conspiring to evade the payment of employment taxes and income taxes to the Internal Revenue Service. Drake, Moss, and Dennee have entered into plea agreements with the United States. Moss pleaded guilty on September 1, and his sentencing is scheduled for November 13. Plea hearings for Drake and Dennee have not taken place.
If convicted, Shibilski faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison on the charge of storing and disposing of hazardous waste without a permit, 20 years on each wire fraud charge, and five years on the tax charge.
The charges against Shibilski are the result of an investigation by the EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division; IRS Criminal Investigation; and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of Law Enforcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel J. Graber and James Cha with EPA Regional Criminal Enforcement Counsel are handling the prosecution.
Work-Related Injury and Illness Data Released by OSHA
OSHA has released work-related injury and illness data
electronically submitted by employers. The agency has posted Form 300A data for calendar years 2016, 2017 and 2018, as well as a data dictionary.
The release follows two rulings in Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) cases. See Center for Investigative Reporting v. Department of Labor, No. 4:18-cv-02414-DMR, 2020 WL 2995209 (N.D. Cal. June 4, 2020); Public Citizen Foundation v. United States Department of Labor, No. 1:18-cv-00117 (D.D.C. June 23, 2020).
Electronic submissions are required of establishments with 250 or more employees that are currently required to keep OSHA injury and illness records, and establishments with 20-249 employees that are classified in specific industries
with historically high rates of occupational injuries and illnesses.
The fact that an employer provided data does not mean that the employer is at fault, that the employer has violated any OSHA requirements, that OSHA has found any violations, or that the employee is eligible for workers’ compensation or other benefits.
Job Openings at Environmental Resource Center
Environmental Resource Center has openings for EHS consultants and trainers. If you are looking for a new challenge, send your resume and salary requirements to Brian Karnofsky at firstname.lastname@example.org
HFC Reductions Included in Bipartisan Energy Bill
U.S. Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.), John Barrasso (R- Wyo.) and John Kennedy (R-La.) announced a bipartisan agreement on changes to a hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) amendment
to S. 2657, American Energy Innovation Act.
Senators Kennedy and Carper offered the amendment to the American Energy Innovation Act earlier this year. The revised amendment will authorize a 15-year phasedown of HFCs at a national level for the first time, administered by the EPA. The amendment requires EPA to implement an 85 percent phase down of the production and consumption of HFCs, so they reach approximately 15 percent of their 2011-2013 average annual levels by 2036. Under the agreement, the revised amendment will also:
- Ensure there are sufficient supplies of HFCs for six, Congressionally-designated essential uses of HFCs that currently have no substitute chemicals, including defense sprays, medical inhalers, semiconductor manufacturing, and mission-critical military uses;
- Preempt state and local governments from regulating HFCs for those Congressionally-designated essential uses for 5 years (unless extended by EPA to a maximum of 10 years if there remains no substitute chemical for a use);
- Provide protection for consumers by ensuring that the EPA acceleration of the 15-year phasedown timeline cannot move faster than technological capacity.
- Maintain the 85 percent phase-down of HFCs, avoiding up to half a degree Celsius of global warming while creating an additional 150,000 direct and indirect U.S. jobs through the expansion of domestic manufacturing of HFC alternative technologies; and,
- Improve the trade imbalance in chemicals and equipment by $12.5 billion and increase manufacturing output by close to $39 billion over the next seven years.
“With this agreement, we now have a clear path in Congress to enact and implement a nationwide phasedown of hydrofluorocarbons, known as HFCs. HFCs are the coolants and refrigerants that keep our homes cool and our groceries cold in the fridge. They can be found in almost every household in America—but they have a global warming effect thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide. Fortunately, with the ingenuity and innovation of American industry, the next generation of climate friendly HFC replacements are already being made in this country and sold throughout the world. It’s time we build on those investments and phase down these potent greenhouse gases out of our economy. With this bipartisan agreement, we can and we will. This amendment would spur billions of dollars of economic growth in domestic manufacturing and create tens of thousands of new jobs, all while helping our planet avoid half a degree Celsius in global warming,” Senator Carper said. “At a time when we could all use some good news, this is great news for our economy and our planet. Let’s get it done.”
“This agreement protects both American consumers and American businesses,” said Senator Barrasso. “We can have clean air without damaging our economy. These chemicals are in every home – from our refrigerators, to our cars, to our air conditioners. I insisted on changing this legislation, so costs don’t skyrocket for American families. This agreement safeguards the critical uses of these chemicals when substitute chemicals do not work – including in bear spray that protects hikers and fire suppression systems on planes that protect travelers. Now, this legislation will help protect our air while keeping costs down for the American people. I want to thank Senators Kennedy and Carper for working with me and I look forward to advancing the legislation in the Senate.”
“American jobs are on the line, and we can protect them by keeping the United States competitive in global industry. To create thousands of jobs, save billions of dollars and safeguard the environment, we must invest in alternatives to HFCs, said Senator Kennedy. “I’m thankful that Chairman Barrasso and Sen. Carper are championing this plan to bring American manufacturing into the future—a plan that both business and environmental groups support.”
Senators Carper and Kennedy introduced
legislation to phasedown the use of HFCs on November 1, 2019. Currently the legislation has an additional 16 Democratic and 16 Republican Senators cosponsoring the legislation, with 34 Senators supporting in total. Earlier this year, Senators Carper and Kennedy offered the legislation as an amendment
to the American Energy Innovation Act on March 4, 2020, with 27 bipartisan Senators as additional cosponsors.
On March 9, 2020, Senator Carper issued a statement
on the American Energy Innovation Act after voting against the cloture motion, which failed by a vote of 47-44.
Safely Get Your EHS Training at Home or in Your Office
To help you get the training you need, Environmental Resource Center has added a number of dates to our already popular live webcast training. Stay in compliance and learn the latest regulations from the comfort of your office or home. Webcast attendees receive the same benefits as our seminar attendees including expert instruction, comprehensive course materials, one year of access to our AnswerlineTM
service, course certificate, and a personalized user portal on Environmental Resource Center’s website.
Upcoming hazardous waste and DOT hazardous materials webcasts:
Smithfield Packaged Meats Corp. Cited for Failing to Protect Employees from Coronavirus
OSHA cited Smithfield Packaged Meats Corp. in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for failing to protect employees from exposure to the coronavirus. OSHA proposed a penalty of $13,494, the maximum allowed by law.
Based on a coronavirus-related inspection, OSHA cited the company for one violation of the general duty clause for failing to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards that can cause death or serious harm. At least 1,294 Smithfield workers contracted coronavirus, and four employees died from the virus in the spring of 2020.
“Employers must quickly implement appropriate measures to protect their workers' safety and health,” said OSHA Sioux Falls Area Director Sheila Stanley. “Employers must meet their obligations and take the necessary actions to prevent the spread of coronavirus at their worksite.”
OSHA guidance details proactive measures employers can take to protect workers from the coronavirus, such as social distancing measures and the use of physical barriers, face shields and face coverings when employees are unable to physically distance at least 6 feet from each other. OSHA guidance also advises that employers should provide safety and health information through training, visual aids, and other means to communicate important safety warnings in a language their workers understand.
Employers with questions on compliance with OSHA standards should contact their local OSHA office for guidance and assistance at 800-321-OSHA (6742). OSHA's coronavirus response webpage
offers extensive resources for addressing safety and health hazards during the evolving coronavirus pandemic.
New Jersey Hospital Cited for Failing to Protect Workers from the Coronavirus
OSHA cited CarePlus Bergen Inc., doing business as Bergen New Bridge Medical Center, for violating respiratory protection standards at its Paramus, New Jersey, location. OSHA cited the hospital for two serious violations, with proposed penalties of $9,639.
Based on a coronavirus-related inspection, OSHA cited the Bergen New Bridge Medical Center for failing to fit test tight-fitting face piece respirators on employees who were required to use them. The hospital also failed to train employees on proper respirator use and ensure employees understood when to wear a respirator.
“Employers must take action to protect their employees during the pandemic, including implementing effective respiratory protection programs,” said OSHA Hasbrouck Heights Area Office Director Lisa Levy. “OSHA standards require healthcare workers to be fit-tested to ensure the respirators they use provide adequate protection.”
Environmental Resource Center Update
The health and wellbeing of our employees, customers and our communities is what matters most to all of us. To continue to serve you, our seminars have been converted to live online webcasts. You can find a list of upcoming live webcasts at this link
If you have enrolled in a seminar in September through December, in most cases the seminar will be held on approximately the same dates and at the same times via online webcast. We will contact you by phone or email regarding the details on how to attend the class. On-site training and consulting services are proceeding as usual. If you wish to convert these to remote services, please call your Environmental Resource Center representative or customer service at 800-537-2372.
Because many of our live and on-site training sessions have been postponed or canceled, we have staff available to assist you in coping with COVID-19 as well as your routine EHS requirements. If you have EHS staff that have been quarantined, we can provide remote assistance to help you meet your ongoing environmental and safety compliance requirements. For details, call 800-537-2372 x 239.
Christus Shreveport-Bossier Health System Cited for Failing to Protect Employees from the Coronavirus
OSHA cited Christus Shreveport-Bossier Health System in Shreveport, Louisiana, for failing to ensure employees wore proper protective equipment. OSHA has proposed $13,494 in penalties, the maximum allowed by law for a serious citation.
OSHA opened a coronavirus–related investigation after receiving reports of employee exposure. The agency found that emergency facility employees often shared used protective gowns or did not have protective gowns to wear while treating patients.
"Employers, especially those within the healthcare industry, must comply with existing standards to help ensure workers' safety amidst the coronavirus pandemic," said OSHA Baton Rouge Area Director Roderic M. Chube. "Healthcare workers must be provided proper personal protective equipment to limit the spread of the virus."
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citation and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Virtual Safety Summit: Sept 21 – 25
At the Workplace Learning Safety Summit, you can learn how to implement the WLS safety culture development system. The journey begins when safety is more than a goal or objective, but an unwavering value. Environmental Resource Center is partnering with WLS to provide environmental compliance training during the summit on the following topics:
- EPCRA reporting
- SPCC Tier I plans
- Universal Waste
You can find the full agenda and registration details at this link
JBS Foods Inc., Cited for Failing to Protect Employees from Exposure to the Coronavirus
OSHA has cited JBS Foods Inc. in Greeley, Colorado, for failing to protect employees from exposure to the coronavirus. OSHA proposed $15,615 in penalties.
Based on a coronavirus-related inspection, OSHA cited the company – which operates as Swift Beef Company – for a violation of the general duty clause for failing to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards that can cause death or serious harm. The penalty assessed for the general duty clause violation is the maximum allowed by law. The company also failed to provide an authorized employee representative with injury and illness logs in a timely manner following OSHA’s May 2020 inspection.
“Employers need to take appropriate actions to protect their workers from the coronavirus,” said OSHA Denver Area Director Amanda Kupper. “OSHA has meatpacking industry guidance and other resources to assist in worker protection.”
George E Warren, LLC and Gulf Oil LP Fined Over $7 Million for Fuel Violations
EPA announced settlements with George E Warren LLC (GEW) and Gulf Oil Limited Partnership (Gulf Oil), resolving allegations that the companies violated Clean Air Act fuel quality standards that are designed to reduce air pollution from motor vehicles. GEW will pay a penalty of $5.1 million and Gulf Oil will pay a penalty of $2.4 million.
“EPA vigorously enforces Clean Air Act regulations and takes into consideration self-disclosures and good faith efforts to get into compliance,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Susan Bodine. “These settlements reflect that both companies are already back in compliance with EPA’s fuels regulations.”
George E Warren LLC produced gasoline at facilities at Perth Amboy and Carteret, N.J., and Pasadena, Texas, that did not comply with the Clean Air Act fuels regulations. The alleged violations in this case include George E Warren’s failure to achieve certain gasoline volatility standards, meet the per-gallon gasoline sulfur standard, and meet certain reporting requirements. The company, headquartered in Vero Beach, Fla., will pay a penalty of $5.1 million.
Gulf Oil Limited Partnership produced gasoline at facilities in Chelsea, Mass., Carteret N.J., Staten Island, N.Y., South Portland, Maine, and New Haven, Conn., that did not comply with the Clean Air Act fuels regulations. The alleged violations in this case include Gulf’s failure to meet certain gasoline volatility standards, comply with the annual average gasoline benzene credit retirement requirements and comply with certain reporting requirements. The company, headquartered in Wellesley Hills, Mass., will pay a penalty of $2.4 million.
Frozen Food Manufacturer, Staffing Firm Cited for Failing to Protect Hundreds of Workers from COVID-19
Cal/OSHA has issued citations to frozen food manufacturer Overhill Farms Inc. and its temporary employment agency Jobsource North America Inc. with over $200,000 in proposed penalties to each employer for failing to protect hundreds of employees from COVID-19 at two plants in Vernon.
The employers did not take any steps to install barriers or implement procedures to have employees work at least six feet away from each other and they did not investigate any of their employees’ COVID-19 infections, including more than 20 illnesses and, in the case of Overhill Farms, one death.
“It is critical that employers evaluate the workplace and take proactive measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Doug Parker. “If a COVID-19 illness occurs, employers must investigate the case to determine if additional protective measures should be taken and report the serious illnesses and deaths to Cal/OSHA. Employers should also notify workers of possible exposure and report outbreaks to county public health officials.”
On April 28, Cal/OSHA opened inspections with Overhill Farms and Jobsource after receiving complaints of hazards related to COVID-19. The inspections included visits to two facilities in Vernon where Overhill Farms employees and workers from Jobsource manufacture a variety of frozen foods.
Cal/OSHA found hundreds of employees were exposed to serious illness from COVID-19 due to the lack of physical distancing procedures among workers including where they clock in and out of their shift, at the cart where they put on gloves and coats, in the break room, on the conveyor line and during packing operations. At the larger of the two facilities Cal/OSHA identified 330 employees of Overhill Farms and 60 employees of Jobsource were exposed to the virus from the lack of physical distancing. At the smaller facility, Cal/OSHA found 80 Overhill Farms workers and 40 employees of Jobsource did packing operations, worked in the marinating area and processed raw poultry without any distancing procedures or protective barriers in place.
Other violations that put workers at risk of exposure to COVID-19 include the failure by both employers to train employees on the hazards presented by the virus and failure to investigate any of the more than 20 COVID-19 illnesses and one death Cal/OSHA uncovered amongst their employees. The employers did not adequately communicate the COVID-19 hazards to their workforce, and Overhill did not report a COVID-19 fatality to Cal/OSHA.
The COVID-19 related violations cited at both plants yesterday include $222,075 in proposed penalties to Overhill Farms and $214,080 in proposed penalties to Jobsource, with an additional $14,450 in proposed penalties for Overhill Farms for non-COVID related violations. Cal/OSHA also issued citations yesterday to both employers from inspections of two accidents in February, after one worker at each of the two facilities was injured when their hands got caught in unguarded conveyor parts. These accident inspections resulted in citations with $103,780 in proposed penalties to Overhill Farms, including for repeat violations due to a similar accident in 2016
, and $29,700 in proposed penalties to Jobsource.
To help ensure proper COVID-19 infection prevention procedures are in place, Cal/OSHA conducts compliance assistance visits to identify and correct issues on the spot, and engages with businesses as part of an ongoing outreach and education effort that has included emails and conference calls with trade associations, employer groups, employers, labor and other stakeholders. Cal/OSHA is also providing live, online training for employers
in the agriculture, meatpacking and food processing sectors.
Oregon DEQ Statement Regarding Portland Report on Tear Gas and Stormwater
Following Oregon DEQ’s request on July 30, 2020, the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services provided a stormwater report to DEQ on Sept. 9, 2020 with the results from stormwater sampling related to the use of tear gas. The report includes all of the information DEQ requested.
BES did what DEQ would expect under their municipal stormwater permit – proactively address a potential source of contamination and test to evaluate the possible impacts.
The levels detected in stormwater, while concerning, are not high enough to cause immediate harm to human health. DEQ staff in the Stormwater Program and at the Lab will evaluate this report over the course of the next several weeks. What DEQ does know is that the Portland Police Bureau and federal agents’ deployment of tear gas has created elevated levels of pollution in stormwater, particularly near the downtown areas where it was deployed regularly. Other protest activities, including fireworks and burning materials, may have also contributed. In addition, some of these pollutants enter stormwater through daily human activities.
DEQ will be working with the City of Portland to determine next steps to ensure that their stormwater protects the Willamette River. More information about the report is available at http://ordeq.org/teargas
Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for Power Plants Electronic Reporting Revisions
In the September 9 Federal Register
EPA finalized amendments to the electronic reporting requirements for the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Coal- and Oil-Fired Electric Utility Steam Generating Units (also known as the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS)). This action revises and streamlined the electronic data reporting requirements of MATS, increases data transparency by requiring use of one electronic reporting system instead of two separate systems, and provides enhanced access to MATS data. No new monitoring requirements are imposed by this final action; instead, this action reduces reporting burden, increases MATS data flow and usage, makes it easier for inspectors and auditors to assess compliance, and encourages wider use of continuous emissions monitoring systems (CEMS) for MATS compliance. In addition, this final action extends the current deadline for alternative electronic data submission via portable document format (PDF) files through December 31, 2023.
CARB Targets Heavy-Duty Diesel Vehicle Noncompliance in the Imperial Valley
The California Air Resources Board announced that it has settled eight diesel cases totaling over $130,000 for violations of the Truck and Bus Regulation in the Imperial Valley.
The Truck and Bus Regulation protects public health by reducing emissions of diesel particulate matter, oxides of nitrogen, and other pollutants from diesel-fueled vehicles. This regulation requires companies that hire or direct the operation of vehicles to verify that each hired fleet is compliant. Companies that hire non-compliant fleets undermine the regulation, and subject communities to unhealthy air quality conditions.
In spring of 2018, through the CalEPA Environmental Justice Task Force work in the Imperial Valley, CARB staff met with local residents to learn about community concerns related to air pollution. Community members expressed concerns about heavy-duty diesel traffic and compliance issues associated with cold storage facilities and drayage at the Calexico Port of Entry.
Based on the concerns, CARB targeted 35 facilities, from which staff initiated eight case investigations on brokers, in-state carriers, and persons hiring vehicles subject to the regulation.
“Breathing particulates from diesel vehicle emissions is extremely harmful, causing respiratory illness, increased risk of heart disease and cancer, and premature death,” said Todd Sax, Enforcement Division Chief. “Companies must check that the fleets they hire are compliant with California’s rules. We will enforce against those who fail to do so in order to protect both the public health, and compliant fleet operators from unfair competition.”
The cases settled totaled $130,750, of which $20,375 will fund the installation of air filtration systems in schools in Calexico.
A&U Mex-Export Inc.
Baja Freight Forwarders, Inc
Cargo Northwest Forwarders, Inc.
Casas International Brokerage, Inc.
Imperial Valley Foods, Inc.
Richard L Jones Calexico, Inc.
San Luis International Freight Services, L.L.C.
Vilore Foods Company, Inc
What Is the Most Dangerous Hazardous Waste?
Is it toxic, reactive, or dangerous to the environment? Does it pose an acute hazard, or is it long lasting? What are its properties? Is it currently regulated? If not, should it be? Give us your opinion, and explain why you think a particular hazardous waste is the most dangerous. Entries will be judged by Brian Karnofsky at Environmental Resource Center and the person that is the most convincing will win an Amazon HD10 tablet.
The deadline for entries has been extended September 17, 2020 to email@example.com
. The more details you provide, the better your chances of winning. Only one entry per person, but multiple entries from the same company or organization will be accepted. We’ll announce the winner and some of the runner-up entries in a future Tip-of-the-Week. Let us know if you do not want your name or company affiliation mentioned.
Free Amazon HD 10 Tablet with RCRA and DOT Training
Annual hazardous waste training is required for anyone who generates, accumulates, stores, transports, or treats hazardous waste. Learn how to manage your hazardous waste in accordance with the latest state and federal regulations. Learn how to complete EPA’s new electronic hazardous waste manifest, and the more than 60 changes in EPA’s new Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule. Environmental Resource Center’s Hazardous Waste Training
is available via live webcasts. If you plan to also attend DOT Hazardous Materials Training
, call 800-537-2372 to find out how you can get your course materials on an Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet at no extra charge.
Trivia Question of the Week