July 13, 2020
EPA has updated
the methods required for classifying ignitable hazardous waste (waste code D001). The revised definition of ignitable liquids will be:
It is a liquid, other than a solution containing less than 24 percent alcohol by volume and at least 50 percent water by weight, that has a flash point less than 60 °C (140 °F), as determined by using one of the following ASTM standards: ASTM D93-79, D93-80, D3278-78, D8174-18, or D8175-18 as specified in SW-846 Test Methods 1010B or 1020C (all incorporated by reference, see § 260.11 of this subchapter).
The significant differences are that the Agency has replaced the aqueous
exclusion with an exclusion for wastes that are composed of at least 50% water. And the EPA has updated the analytical method (i.e.,
SW-846 Method 1010A (Pensky-Martens) or Method 1020B (Setaflash)) for measuring flash point to be the flash point of liquids under 40 CFR 261.21
to update to more recent ASTM test methods.
EPA is also updating cross references to Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations to incorporate updated definitions of ignitable compressed gases, oxidizers, and explosives.
Finally, EPA is adding mercury thermometer alternatives in the air sampling and stack emissions test methods in Test Methods for Evaluating Solid Waste: Physical/Chemical Methods (SW-846); specifically, Methods 0010, 0011, 0020, 0023A, and 0051.
Because the new definition is a pre-HSWA regulation, and it is neither more or less strict than the old regulation, the rule will only go into effect (on September 8, 2020) in states that do not have authority to administer own hazardous waste programs. Other states will not be required to adopt the new definitions, however, we think that many will. Learn how the EPA’s new definition of ignitable will impact your site’s hazardous wastes by attending Environmental Resource Center’s hazardous waste training
More Stringent Toxic Emission Standards Proposed for Industrial Boilers
EPA has proposed amendments
to the 2013 National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters. These amendments would further reduce toxic emissions from certain types of units and represent continued clean air progress made by the Trump Administration. This rule – known as the Boiler MACT – establishes emission standards for categories of boilers based on the maximum achievable control technologies (MACT).
Boilers are combustion devices used to generate steam or hot water for on-site use in certain industrial plant operations. Boilers may emit a wide variety of air pollutants, and EPA estimates that there are approximately 444 boilers subject to the emission standards being revised. Of the units covered by these proposed standards, EPA estimates 33 would need to take steps to further reduce emissions. The Boiler MACT does not cover large steam electric generating units operated by electric utility companies. A different NESHAP applies to those boilers.
“America’s air quality is the cleanest it’s been in modern history, and these amendments will reduce emissions of hazardous air pollutants even more. With this action, we are proposing updated standards to limit emissions of hazardous air pollutants from certain industrial boilers. This underscores the Trump Administration’s commitment to reducing air pollution, while providing needed clarity to the regulated community,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.
The proposed updated standards address deficiencies identified by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and align them with requirements in the Clean Air Act. In response to the three remands, EPA is proposing:
- To revise 34 (of 90) emission limits for certain types of new and existing boilers;
- An updated rationale for using carbon monoxide (CO) as a surrogate for controlling organic hazardous air pollutants (HAPs); and
- An updated rationale for our original determination that setting a CO standard below 130 parts per million would not provide any additional organic HAP reduction.
The proposed amendments would continue to reduce emissions of HAPs – including mercury, formaldehyde, benzene, and polycyclic organic matter.
EPA will accept comment on this proposed action for 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register.
Organic Liquids Distribution (Non-Gasoline) NESHAP Revised by EPA
Based on EPA’s required residual risk and technology review (RTR) for the Organic Liquids Distribution (Non-Gasoline) (OLD) source category regulated under National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP), the Agency has amended the storage tank requirements
for this sector. In addition, EPA has taken final action to correct and clarify regulatory provisions related to emissions during periods of startup, shutdown, and malfunction (SSM); add requirements for electronic reporting of performance test results and reports, performance evaluation reports, compliance reports, and Notification of Compliance Status (NOCS) reports; add operational requirements for flares; and make other minor technical improvements. EPA estimated that these amendments will reduce emissions of hazardous air pollutants (HAP) from this source category by 186 tons per year (tpy), which represents an approximate 8 percent reduction of HAP emissions from the source category.
OSHA Guidance to Employers to Help Protect Oil and Gas Workers During The Coronavirus Pandemic
Employers with workers engaged in the oil and gas industry should remain alert to changing conditions, and implement infection prevention measures accordingly. The guidance includes information regarding:
- Deferring work requiring close contact with others, if that work can be postponed;
- Configuring communal work environments so that workers are spaced at least 6 feet apart;
- Staggering workers’ arrival, break and departure times;
- Ensuring adequate ventilation in work areas to help minimize potential exposures;
- Implementing other appropriate engineering, administrative and work practice controls, and use of appropriate personal protective equipment; and
- Encourage workers to wear face coverings as a source control to prevent the potential spread of the virus
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:
Henningsen Foods Inc. Penalized for Alleged Clean Water Act Violations
EPA and the state of Nebraska have reached a settlement with Henningsen Foods Inc. to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Water Act at the company’s egg processing facility in David City, Nebraska.
Under the terms of the settlement, the company will spend about $2 million in upgrades to reduce the amount of pollutants the facility sends to the David City wastewater treatment system. The company also agreed to pay a $827,500 civil penalty.
“We are encouraged by Henningsen’s willingness to upgrade its own facility and assist with upgrades to the David City wastewater treatment system,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford. “These actions will protect the residents of David City and Nebraska waters.”
Henningsen processes approximately 1.2 million eggs per day and is one of the largest egg processors in the state. The facility is subject to Clean Water Act regulations that prevent industries from overloading municipal wastewater treatment systems with industrial pollutants.
According to the EPA, high loads of egg-processing waste and cleaning solution generated by Henningsen are sent to the David City wastewater treatment facility. Since at least 2014, this waste has caused both Henningsen and David City to violate the Clean Water Act on multiple occasions by discharging pollutants in excess of state and federal limits to Keysor Creek, which flows into the North Fork Big Blue River. These pollutants included ammonia and oxygen-depleting substances that are toxic to aquatic life and potentially harmful to people. Further, EPA alleges that Henningsen repeatedly failed to submit timely and accurate pollutant monitoring information required by law.
As a result of this enforcement action, Henningsen has installed pretreatment equipment at its facility and agreed to operate and maintain it in order to reduce pollutants before they reach the David City wastewater treatment facility. The company will also continue to pay for its share of upgrades to the wastewater treatment facility to adequately treat Henningsen’s wastewater, and will increase the frequency of its pollutant monitoring and reporting.
The settlement is detailed in a Consent Decree that was filed with the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska on July 7, 2020, and will be subject to a 30-day public comment period before final court approval.
Environmental Resource Center Update
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have combined our Safety and Environmental Tips of the week. This issue includes some of the latest recommendations for you to keep safe at work and at home in this evolving event.
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 July, in many 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.
EPA Takes Action to Help Americans Disinfect Indoor Spaces Efficiently and Effectively
EPA has taken action to ensure that you are able to disinfect public spaces effectively and efficiently to control SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The newly released guidance outlines what information registrants need to submit in order to expedite the review of requests to add electrostatic sprayer application directions to disinfectant product labels for use against SARS-CoV-2.
“Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces continues to be an effective way to reduce the spread of the virus,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “With this guidance, EPA is ensuring offices, schools, and local governments have access to as many effective and approved surface disinfectant products as possible—including those designed to disinfect large indoor spaces.”
Electrostatic spraying has drawn increased interest through the public health emergency because of the need to disinfect large indoor spaces (e.g., schools, offices, businesses) or areas with many surfaces. Unlike conventional spraying methods, electrostatic sprayers apply a positive charge to liquid disinfectants as they pass through the nozzle. The positively charged disinfectant is attracted to negatively charged surfaces, which allows for efficient coating of hard nonporous surfaces.
EPA’s new guidance
covers requests to add electrostatic spraying directions to both new and currently registered disinfectant products—including those on EPA's List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2
—that require review under Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA). This guidance builds on EPA’s previously announced expedited review
of certain submissions for products intended for use against SARS-CoV-2.
When using these products, always follow the directions and safety information on the label. A disinfectant product’s safety and effectiveness may change based on how it is used. If a product’s label does not include disinfection directions for electrostatic spraying, EPA has not reviewed any data on whether the product is safe and effective when used by this method.
EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released updated guidance
to help facility operators and families properly clean and disinfect spaces. The guidance provides step-by-step instructions for public spaces, workplaces, businesses, schools, and homes. EPA has compiled a list of disinfectant
products, including ready-to-use sprays, concentrates, and wipes, that can be used against COVID-19.
DCP Operating Company Fined $5.3 Million for Excess Air Emissions
The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) issued an administrative compliance order to DCP Operating Company, LP (DCP) for ongoing alleged violations of state and federal law related to the protection of air quality. The administrative compliance order assesses a civil penalty of $5,313,390 and requires immediate compliance with air permit emission limits and operational requirements.
Between December 2017 and June 2019, DCP submitted 367 excess emission reports for eight New Mexico facilities totaling over 2.1 million pounds of pollutants.
“Matters like these absolutely confirm the need for the Department to finish developing its methane and ozone emission regulations for the oil and natural gas industry,” said NMED Cabinet Secretary James Kenney. “It is not enough to develop rules and issue permits; a strong and robust compliance program is essential to protect both air quality and communities.”
To remedy the violations, DCP must immediately comply with all air permit emission limits and governing rules.
Failure to comply with state and federal air quality laws and permits results in uncontrolled emissions of volatile organic compounds, oxides of nitrogen, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and carbon monoxide. These uncontrolled emissions may impact public health and the environment, as well as contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone and hazardous air pollutants.
PA DEP: Capping Carbon Pollution Would Save Hundreds of Lives and Billions of Dollars
Cutting carbon dioxide pollution from power plants would save hundreds of lives and billions of dollars in Pennsylvania, according to new analysis from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Governor Tom Wolf has made reducing air pollution from power plants by participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) a top climate priority. Participating in the program would also drive up economic activity in Pennsylvania by billions of dollars and create tens of thousands of jobs.
The analysis by DEP, using EPA methodology, shows that participating in RGGI could save the lives of 639 Pennsylvanians by 2030 thanks to lower carbon emissions as well as lower emissions of other air pollutants associated with electricity generation like nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide. In addition to saving lives, adults and children will have more opportunity to work and play without fear of respiratory complications.
“We know that cleaner sources of energy are good for the environment, but this helps quantify the benefits to people’s health as well,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “With more than 90,000 of our fellow Pennsylvanians diagnosed with COVID-19, which affects breathing among other things, it is even more clear that we must be doing more to eliminate air pollution. The data is clear that cutting air pollution by participating in RGGI will save people’s lives - full stop.”
Economic modeling shows that participating in RGGI will lead to a net increase of more than 27,000 jobs and add $1.9 billion to the Gross State Product in Pennsylvania. The full analysis will be presented to the Environmental Quality Board along with the rest of the regulatory analysis, which details the total costs and benefits of participating in RGGI. These estimates do not include jobs created as a result of investments of RGGI revenues. Pennsylvania is projected to receive more than $300 million a year in proceeds from RGGI auctions. The Wolf Administration intends to use these revenues to fund job creation and retention programs, including new workforce development opportunities, energy efficiency improvements for businesses and homeowners, economic support for communities affected by changing electricity generation and usage, and clean energy sources.
Other health related benefits include:
- More than $6 billion worth of health benefits through 2030 from reduced sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides pollution
- More than 45,000 fewer asthma attacks for children aged 6-18
- More than 1,000 fewer cases of childhood bronchitis for children aged 8-12
“An argument against reducing air pollution through RGGI is an argument for making people sick,” said McDonnell. “The benefits to communities that have fewer Code Orange Air Quality days to worry about, or to parents that won’t have to worry that they may need to take their kid to the emergency room for an asthma attack, cannot be understated.”
Texas Company Cited for Confined Space Hazards After Investigation into Two Employee Fatalities
OSHA has cited Alpha Technical Services (ATS) – doing business as Quala Rail and Specialty in Pasadena, Texas – for exposing employees to confined space hazards after two employees were fatally overcome by fumes while cleaning a tank trailer. The company faces $499,134 in penalties.
OSHA investigators determined that one employee became unresponsive after entering the trailer’s confined space. After employees failed to correctly use a non-entry rescue retrieval system, several employees entered the tank in an attempted rescue when a second employee became unresponsive. OSHA cited ATS for a willful and two repeat violations for confined space hazards, including failing to conduct appropriate tests to ensure atmospheric conditions were safe for entry.
“Employers must recognize the dangers of assigning work in confined spaces, and properly identify, test, control, and ventilate the atmosphere to ensure the safety of workers,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt.
OSHA’s Confined Spaces
webpage offers extensive resources to help employers and employees understand how to recognize and evaluate hazards and possible solutions related to confined spaces.
Candy Manufacturer Cited for Exposing Employees to Machine Hazards
OSHA has cited Chicago-based Ferrara Candy Company for violations of OSHA’s machine safety standards after employees suffered severe injuries in two separate incidents at the Bellwood, Illinois, facility. The company faces $485,008 in penalties, and OSHA has placed them in the agency’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
OSHA received an employer-reported referral in January 2020 after an employee suffered a fingertip amputation after contact with an unguarded rotary valve. While that inspection remained open, the employer reported in March 2020 that another employee required hospitalization after being caught-in machinery.
OSHA cited the company for inadequate machine guarding and failing to control hazardous energy sources, provide lockout/tagout devices, and perform periodic inspections of lockout procedures and train employees on these procedures. The agency also cited for failing to maintain electrical protective gloves, conduct safety-related employee training on electrical hazards, provide insulated electrical tools, install permanent electrical wiring and record a work-related injury.
“Proper safety procedures, including machine guarding and the effective lockout of all sources of energy, could have prevented these employees’ injuries,” said Chicago North OSHA Area Director Angeline Loftus. “Employers have a legal responsibility to train workers and protect them from exposure to hazards in the workplace.”
“Amputations are preventable when employers comply with required machine guarding and lockout/tagout standards,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt. “Employers must take proactive steps to develop and implement energy control procedures to minimize risk to their workers.”
Online Reporting Form for Filing COVID-19 Complaints with Oregon OSHA
While people may still call the division with complaints, the online reporting form offers a quicker way to bring concerns to the division’s attention.
“We will continue to take phone calls about workplace hazards concerning the novel coronavirus,” said Michael Wood, administrator for Oregon OSHA. “However, our online system is just as fast – if not faster – at absorbing complaints and allowing us to efficiently respond to them.”
Company President Gets Jailed and Fined for Clean Air Act Violations Leading to Explosion of Wibaux Oil Processing Plant
The former president of Custom Carbon Processing, Inc. was sentenced to 18 months in prison, three years of supervised release and fined $50,000 for his actions related to an explosion that injured three workers at the company’s oil processing plant in Wibaux, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.
A jury in September found Peter Margiotta, 63, of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, guilty of all three counts in an indictment, including conspiracy, Clean Air Act—general duty and Clean Air Act-knowing endangerment.
U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters presided. Judge Watters took restitution under advisement and will issue a ruling later. Margiotta was released pending assignment to a federal prison.
“By failing to comply with the law in the construction and operation of a plant that handled hazardous materials, Mr. Margiotta endangered his employees, three of whom were injured in the explosion. Companies doing business in Montana must follow environmental regulations," U.S. Attorney Alme said.
“By knowingly operating an oil processing facility without appropriate safeguards, the defendant endangered workers and the public,” said Bert Marsden, Resident Agent in Charge of the Environmental Protection Agency’s criminal enforcement program. “Today’s sentencing reflects the egregious nature of the defendant’s actions.”
“Employees expect that their employers prioritize their safety by ensuring adherence to Federal safety regulations. In hazardous material transportation and processing, this expectation is paramount,” stated Cissy McCune, Regional Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General. “Our work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and agents from the EPA, which resulted in the sentencing of Mr. Margiotta, is a testament to our commitment to protecting the safety of our nation’s transportation workforce.”
“The hard work and dedication of our federal partners to bring justice for victims and hold Mr. Margiotta accountable for his unacceptable actions is to be commended,” said Rita Lucero, Acting Regional Administrator for OSHA’s Denver Region. “OSHA will continue to collaborate with federal agencies to hold employers accountable if they violate federal workplace safety and health laws that place their employees at risk of serious physical harm and death.”
During a five-day jury trial, the prosecution presented the following evidence:
- Margiotta was president and CEO of Custom Carbon Processing, a Wyoming company that constructed the Michels Disposal Well and Oil Reclamation Facility in Wibaux in 2012. The construction was done in ways that allowed extremely hazardous hydrocarbon vapors and air pollutants to be released into the air.
- On July 4, 2012, Margiotta directed the opening of the plant before implementing appropriate electrical wiring, ventilation and other safety measures. On that date, the project manager emailed Margiotta: “The control panels must be moved asap with the explosion proof wiring. We also run the risk of killing someone, not only our operators but also customers.”
- Margiotta also directed employees to accept shipments of highly volatile and flammable “natural gas condensate” or “drip gas” into the operations in a purported effort to help thin and process the slop oil at the plant.
- Margiotta disregarded repeated warnings from the plant’s foreman that the natural gas condensate was not effective in thinning the slop oil and instead was creating a dangerous situation because of its highly volatile and flammable nature.
- On Dec. 29, 2012, the plant accepted a delivery of natural gas condensate. During the offloading of the material, hazardous and flammable vapors from the condensate filled the plant building and spread out the open bay doors where the truck delivering the condensate was located. The vapors reached an ignition source, triggering an explosion that injured three employees and extensively damaged the plant, the truck and trailer involved in the delivery.
This Clean Air Act prosecution was of national significance not only for the extent of the harm caused, but also because it is the first trial conviction under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 7413(c)(5), which imposes increased penalties for anyone who knowingly releases hazardous air pollutants knowing that, at the time of the release, they have put someone in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury. It is also the first conviction under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 7412(r)(1), which places a general duty on owners/operators of facilities handling extremely hazardous substances to prevent and mitigate the consequences of accidental releases of those substances.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan Dake and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Nelson prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the EPA, DOT Office of Inspector General and OSHA.
Georgia Sawmill Cited for Exposing Employees to Electrical and Mechanical Hazards After Fatal Incident
OSHA has cited Southern Wood Components LLC – based in Moultrie, Georgia – for exposing employees to hazardous energy and caught-by hazards after an employee fatality at the company’s sawmill. The wood product manufacturer faces $55,326 in penalties.
An employee suffered a fatal injury when their clothing became caught on the shaft of a conveyor. OSHA cited the company for failing to ensure energy control procedures contained specific steps to limit the release of hazardous energy, provide lockout/tagout devices for machines and equipment, and train employees to recognize hazardous energy sources. OSHA also cited the company for allowing employees to operate powered industrial trucks without training, and for failing to conduct an inspection of the lockout program at least annually, provide appropriate machine guarding and reduce compressed air to a safe level before allowing employees to use it for cleaning.
OSHA conducted the inspection as part of the National Emphasis Program on Amputations and the Regional Emphasis Program for Powered Industrial Trucks.
“Workers who perform service and maintenance on machines and equipment must be trained on how to lockout and disable machinery to prevent unintentional startup,” said OSHA Savannah Area Office Director Margo Westmoreland. “Fatalities can be prevented if employers comply with OSHA standards, as required by law.”
New York Company to Correct Hazards, Enhance Safety and Pay Penalties After Worker Amputation
After an OSHA investigation, U.S. Nonwovens Corp. – a home and personal care fabric products manufacturer based in Long Island, New York – will address and correct hazards at their five manufacturing facilities in New York and pay $200,000 in penalties to resolve safety violations.
In July 2019, OSHA cited the company for repeat and serious violations at the Hauppauge and Brentwood, New York, facilities after an employee suffered a hand amputation in a fabric-softener sheet-cutting machine. Violations included lack of machine guards; and failing to store materials securely, repair damaged storage racks, and train and evaluate forklift operators on safely operating equipment. The agency also cited the company for potential fire and smoke inhalation hazards due to obstructed exit routes, an inoperable exit door, and failing to report an amputation to OSHA.
U.S. Nonwovens Corp. initially contested the citations and penalties but has now reached a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor in which the company agrees to institute ongoing and effective worker protection measures.
The company agrees to correct the cited hazards, comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Act, pay $200,000 in penalties and take additional steps to enhance compliance and safety at the five New York facilities. Those steps include:
- Employing a safety and health director to oversee company facilities and establishing a labor-management safety committee to oversee safety and health policies;
- Conducting an assessment of machine guarding and implementing recommended changes;
- Retaining an independent consultant to examine the structural integrity of racks, and distribute policies and procedures for safe storage and stacking;
- Performing and documenting daily emergency exit inspections;
- Performing comprehensive inspections of fuel tanks, charging stations and training certification for all forklift operators, and inspecting the forklift program, at least twice per year; and
- Establishing, maintaining and notifying employees of a toll-free number to report safety concerns and suggestions anonymously. The notification will include notice of employees’ rights under Section 11(c) of the OSH Act.
“This agreement commits the company to long-term safety improvements for workers at all of its New York facilities,” said OSHA Long Island Area Director Kevin Sullivan. “U.S. Nonwovens Corp. has responded to OSHA’s inspection and citations by agreeing to implement corrective measures to better protect the safety and health of all employees.”
“As a result of the department’s vigorous enforcement efforts, an employer with a history of safety violations has recognized its responsibilities going forward and made robust and enforceable commitments to worker safety across its workplaces,” said regional Solicitor of Labor Jeffrey S. Rogoff in New York.
The agreement covers three company locations in Brentwood, and one each in Commack and Hauppauge, New York.
OSHA’s Long Island Area office conducted the original inspection. Trial Attorney Molly Theobald of the department’s Regional Office of the Solicitor of Labor in New York negotiated and executed the settlement agreement.
Alabama Lumber and Flooring Manufacturer Cited After Employee Fatality At Selma Facility
OSHA has cited Miller & Co. Inc. for failing to protect employees from struck-by hazards after a worker was fatally injured at the company’s Selma, Alabama, facility. The lumber and flooring manufacturer faces $218,192 in penalties.
The employee was fatally struck by a piece of wood while attempting to clear a jammed machine. OSHA cited
the company for failing to lockout equipment prior to beginning maintenance, ensure machines were properly guarded and train employees on lockout/tagout procedures. Miller & Co. had developed an alternative energy control procedure for clearing equipment jams after an employee suffered an amputation in 2018, but the company failed to implement the procedure.
“Employers are required to identify safety hazards, implement safety measures and train workers on the proper use of safety equipment,” said OSHA Mobile Area Director Jose Gonzalez. “Tragedies such as this can be prevented if employers comply with workplace standards, as required by law.”
Ohio Contractor Cited Three Times for Exposing Roofing Workers to Falls
OSHA has cited Jerry Turnbaugh – a roofing contractor based in Dublin, Ohio – for exposing employees to falls at three separate residential home sites in Pickerington, Ohio. Turnbaugh faces penalties of $148,430 for five willful safety violations.
OSHA opened all three inspections under the local emphasis program for falls. On May 7, 2020, inspectors observed employees working on a residential roof without adequate fall protection. On June 3, 2020, and June 22, 2020, inspectors again observed company crews exposed to fall hazards while working on separate residential home sites. OSHA cited the company for failing to provide appropriate fall protection, train employees to recognize and minimize fall hazards, and develop safety programs.
“A contractor places workers’ lives at risk by allowing them to work at dangerous heights without proper fall protection,” said Acting OSHA Columbus Area Director David Wilson. “Falls are consistently one of OSHA’s most commonly cited hazards. With proper training and appropriate protection, these injuries can be prevented.”
Auto Auction Company Sued for Selling Tampered, Super-Polluting Vehicles
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe and Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Director Paul R. Rodriguez announced multiple legal actions to protect the public from the sale of tampered vehicles that release excessive amounts of air pollution.
To protect the environment and public health, automobile manufacturers are required to reduce pollution from vehicles by installing state of the art emissions control technology that meets air quality standards set by environmental regulators. Despite these clean air requirements, some unscrupulous auto dealers, auctioneers, repair shops and individuals tamper with vehicles by altering or removing the emission control systems or installing software that can disrupt their operation. This tampering violates the law, depletes air quality and threatens public health.
In the first action, Attorney General Grewal and Commissioner McCabe announced a lawsuit against Manheim Remarketing Inc., the nation’s largest vehicle auction company, alleging that it violated New Jersey’s pollution control laws by facilitating the sale of hundreds of tampered vehicles in the state.
According to the Complaint, DEP identified over 200 vehicles offered or sold through Manheim that were clearly disclosed as tampered, and a surprise DEP inspection at a Manheim facility last year found that 28 percent of inspected vehicles were unlawfully tampered. The Complaint seeks to prevent Manheim from allowing sales of tampered vehicles, which would significantly disrupt the resale market for tampered vehicles, sending a strong message to the entire supply chain that New Jersey will not tolerate emissions tampering. The lawsuit also asserts claims against three vehicle dealers that have repeatedly sold tampered vehicles through Manheim.
At the same time, Attorney General Grewal and Director Rodriguez announced that DCA issued Notices of Violation to eight auto dealers who sold tampered cars directly to consumers.
“I’m proud to once again announce bold actions against irresponsible polluters, the result of years of hard investigative work to uncover rampant violations of New Jersey’s environmental laws,” said Attorney General Grewal. “Environmental protection is directly tied to the public’s health, including for environmental justice communities. Tampered vehicles in particular release harmful air emissions that affect our residents’ well-being, but national companies like Manheim refuse to protect our residents from this problem. Today, companies and dealerships across the state are on notice: we will hold accountable anyone in New Jersey who seeks to profit through the sale of these unlawful, polluting vehicles.”
“When someone intentionally tampers with emissions controls, they are not just cheating the market—they are cheating our environment and the health of our communities,” said Commissioner McCabe. “Whether facilitated by a vehicle manufacturer, dealer, reseller, auctioneer, or repair shop, emissions tampering is intolerable. DEP will continue to deploy investigators to conduct surveillance and surprise inspections to ensure that vehicles sold or altered in New Jersey comply with our clean air laws, and we will pursue aggressive enforcement to stop emissions tampering in our state.”
“By filing Notices of Violations against these dealerships, the Division of Consumer Affairs is sending a clear message that we will not permit the sale of dangerous, unlawful vehicles in the State,” said Acting Division of Consumer Affairs Director Paul R. Rodríguez. “New Jersey motor vehicle dealerships have a responsibility to ensure that their vehicles comply with all environmental law.We cannot allow businesses to take advantage of consumers and undermine public health and safety.”
Manheim operates nearly 80 vehicle auction facilities across the U.S., including two in New Jersey. The larger of Manheim’s New Jersey operations, Manheim New Jersey, is located on 300-plus acres in Mansfield Township. The company’s other New Jersey operation, Manheim Metro Skyline, is located in Fairfield Township, Essex County. Together, the two auction sites offer hundreds of thousands of vehicles for sale annually, many of them allegedly tampered in violation of the State’s pollution control laws.
Filed in New Jersey Superior Court in Mercer County, the State’s lawsuit alleges that Manheim either sold or offered for sale at least hundreds of tampered vehicles between December 2016 and March 2019 – some of which were “clearly and explicitly” listing vehicles with missing pollution control devices or containing deliberately compromised pollution controls.
The complaint also names three New Jersey auto dealerships as defendants – Murphy’s Motors of Fairview, Fargo Auto Sales & Services of Delran and Rezzetti Enterprises of Vineland. The lawsuit accuses each dealership of selling multiple tampered vehicles through Manheim’s New Jersey locations in violation of pollution control laws.
The allegations against the defendants are based on a two-year DEP investigation focused on the sale of unlawfully tampered vehicles, particularly diesel trucks. DEP’s work included extensive reviews of vehicle sales records, as well as unannounced on-site DEP inspections at Manheim and at various New Jersey auto dealerships registered to conduct vehicle sales transactions using Manheim.
These sales have serious impacts for public health. For example, the complaint notes that disabling the exhaust recirculation controls and removing the catalytic converters on a diesel pick-up truck can increase the truck’s emission of ozone-pollution-contributing NOx (nitrogen oxide) by approximately 20 times the federal limit. And removing the diesel particulate filters from diesel trucks can increase PM2.5 emissions by ten times the federal limit. Likewise, the complaint notes, disabling air pollution controls on gasoline-powered vehicles can cause increased tailpipe emissions of NOx, as well as certain volatile organic compounds and carbon monoxide.
Excessive levels of such emissions can contribute to reduced lung function, asthma attacks and other respiratory issues, as well as serious cardiovascular problems such as heart attacks and arrhythmia. This pollution especially burdens environmental justice communities, which are disproportionately affected by air pollution due in part to proximity to highways and high-traffic industrial and commercial centers plagued by exhaust from traveling and idling vehicles.
Between December 2, 2016 and March 15, 2019, Manheim’s two New Jersey auction sites offered a total of more than 850,000 vehicles for sale. The lawsuit alleges that, based on an analysis of Manheim’s records for the period on which DEP focused, Manheim either sold or offered for sale at least 214 vehicles that were “clearly and explicitly” disclosed in sales listings as emissions tampered. The sales listing disclosures that flagged the 214 vehicles as tampered included such statements as “NO CATS,” “ALTERED EMISSIONS” or “EGR DELETE.”
The complaint alleges that the actual number of tampered vehicles offered for sale at Manheim’s two auction facilities “was most likely much higher” than 214 during the period focused on by investigators because “only a fraction” of tampered vehicles are actually identified as tampered.
For example, the complaint notes, DEP conducted an unannounced compliance inspection at Manheim New Jersey in Mansfield on February 25, 2019. DEP’s inspection found that 14 out of 50 trucks inspected – approximately 28 percent – had been tampered.
Also named in the five-count lawsuit is defendant Murphy’s Motors of Fairview, which allegedly sold or offered for sale at Manheim’s in-state locations five diesel-powered trucks with tampered emissions. Defendant Fargo Auto Sales & Services of Delran allegedly sold or advertised three tampered diesel trucks and one tampered, gasoline-powered Subaru sedan at those in-state Manheim locations, and defendant Rezzetti Enterprises Inc. of Vineland allegedly sold or advertised four tampered diesel-powered trucks.
The lawsuit seeks an order requiring Manheim to take critical steps to avoid the sale of tampered vehicles to New Jersey buyers in the future. Those precautions include screening vehicle listings for common tampering indicators and performing basic visual inspections of vehicles at its in-state facilities. At the same time, the complaint also seeks imposition of civil penalties against Manheim and the three defendant auto dealerships. First-time violators of the Air Pollution Control Act are subject to a maximum $10,000 civil penalty. The penalty increases to $25,000 for a second offense and to $50,000 for a third or subsequent violation.
In a related action, the State also filed Notices of Violation (NOV) against eight auto dealerships in New Jersey alleging pollution control and Consumer Fraud Act violations. In each case, the NOVs allege that the dealer in question bought at least one tampered vehicle through a Manheim auction and then unlawfully resold that vehicle or advertised it for sale.
For example, one NOV alleges that a South Jersey truck dealer purchased a 2008 Ford diesel pick-up truck through a Manheim auction and subsequently resold it to an individual buyer. The truck was advertised by Manheim as not having a catalytic converter, and in fact lacked this required exhaust emissions device, but that information was not shared with the buyer.
Idaho DEQ Seeks Applicants for Sustainable Materials Management Project Funding
The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is accepting applications for funding to implement or enhance sustainable materials management projects in Idaho.
DEQ is interested in projects from local governments and non-profits across Idaho that implement, enhance, or support innovative recycling programs, develop markets for recyclables, or reduce food waste.
Applicants can apply for up to $30,000 for sustainable materials management projects. The full application package, including eligibility and ranking criteria, is available on DEQ’s website (download at right). Applications are due August 28, 2020, at 5 p.m. MDT.
For more information or questions about the application package, contact Ben Jarvis at 208-373-0146 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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