New Revisions to the DOT Hazardous Materials Regulations

May 11, 2020
The DOT's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is amending the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR parts 171 to 180) to maintain alignment with international regulations that will include changes to
  • Proper shipping names
  • Hazard classes, packing groups
  • Special provisions
  • Packaging authorizations
  • Air transport quantity limitations, and
  • Vessel stowage requirements
PHMSA is incorporating changes from the 20th Revised Edition of the UN Model Regulations, Amendment 39-18 of the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code, and the 2019–2020 International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Technical Instructions, the 2019–2020 Edition of the International Civil Aviation Organization Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air, Amendment 39-18 to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code); the 20th Revised Edition of the United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (UN Model Regulations); Amendment 1 to the 6th Revised Edition of the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria; and the 7th Revised Edition of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).
PHMSA is also updating the incorporation by reference of the Transport Canada, Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) Regulations to include: SOR/2016-95, published June 1, 2016; SOR/2017-137, published July 12, 2017; and SOR/2017-253, published December 13, 2017. Finally, PHMSA is adopting various updated International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards.
Articles Containing Dangerous Goods: PHMSA has added a classification system for articles containing hazardous materials that do not already have a proper shipping name. This addresses situations in which hazardous materials or hazardous materials residues are present in articles, and authorizes a safe method to transport articles that may be too large to fit into typical packages. Examples include, articles containing gases (flammable, non-flammable, and toxic), articles containing flammable liquids and solids, and articles containing oxidizers, organic peroxides, toxic, corrosive and miscellaneous dangerous goods.
Lithium Battery Test Summary: PHMSA has added new requirements regarding lithium battery test summaries that manufacturers and subsequent distributers of lithium cells and batteries must make available to others in the supply chain. The HMR requires lithium battery manufacturers to subject lithium batteries and cells to appropriate UN design tests to ensure they are classified correctly for transport, and to develop records of successful test completion, called a test report. The test summary includes a standardized set of elements that provide traceability and accountability, thereby ensuring that lithium cell and battery designs offered for transport contain specific information on the required UN tests. The test summary must be made available to subsequent distributors.
Baggage Equipped with Lithium Batteries: PHMSA has amended the aircraft passenger provisions for carriage of baggage equipped with lithium batteries intended to power features such as location tracking, battery charging, digital weighing, or motors (sometimes referred to as smart luggage). Baggage equipped with a lithium battery or batteries will be required to be carried in the cabin of the aircraft unless the battery or batteries are removed. This restriction in checked baggage does not apply to baggage containing lithium metal batteries with a lithium content not exceeding 0.3 grams, or lithium ion batteries with a Watt-hour (Wh) rating not exceeding 2.7 Wh.
Segregation of Lithium Batteries from Specific Hazardous Materials: PHMSA has added requirements to segregate lithium cells and batteries from certain other hazardous materials, notably flammable liquids, when offered for transport or transported on aircraft. PHMSA is taking this action to promote consistency with the ICAO Technical Instructions and to implement a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Safety Recommendation (A-16-001) stemming from the investigation of the July 28, 2011, in-flight fire and crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 991 that resulted in the loss of the aircraft and crew. The investigation report cited the flammable materials and lithium ion batteries that were loaded together in either the same or adjacent pallets as a contributing factor to the accident.
Alternative Criteria for Classification of Corrosive Materials: PHMSA has added non-testing alternatives for classifying corrosive mixtures using existing data on its chemical properties. Currently, the HMR require offerors to classify Class 8 corrosive material and assign a packing group based on test data. The HMR authorizes a skin corrosion test and various in vitro test methods that do not involve animal testing. However, data obtained from testing is currently the only data acceptable for classification and assigning a packing group. The alternatives added in this final rule afford offerors the ability to make a classification and packing group assignment without the need to conduct physical tests.
Provisions for Polymerizing Substances: PHMSA has extended the sunset dates for provisions concerning the transportation of polymerizing substances from January 2, 2019 to January 2, 2023. This additional time will allow PHMSA to conduct research and analyze comments and data concerning the issue submitted to the docket for this rulemaking, to have a more comprehensive understanding of polymerizing substances and further consider the most appropriate transport provisions for these materials.
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:
DOT Hazardous Materials Update – May 27, June 11
Could A Polio Vaccine Stop the Coronavirus Pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic has scientists considering a few less-conventional options while vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 are being developed. One option might be the oral polio vaccine. In this video, hear from one of the researchers proposing the idea — Robert Gallo, M.D. — to understand why a vaccine that hasn’t been used in the U.S. for two decades might provide short-term protection against this new coronavirus:
OSHA Video and Poster on Proper Workplace Use of Respirators
OSHA has released a new video and poster for employers and workers on how to properly wear and remove a respirator.
For workers who may need to use respirators to protect themselves from coronavirus exposure, a properly worn respirator can help reduce the wearer's risk of viral exposure and help prevent its spread to others.
The video and poster – in English and Spanish – demonstrate and describe seven steps every worker should follow when putting on and taking off a respirator.
  1. Wash hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60 percent alcohol before putting on and after removing the respirator;
  2. Inspect the respirator for damage;
  3. Cover mouth and nose with the respirator and pull strap over the head so that it rests at the back of the head. A second strap should rest at the back of the neck. Use the metal nose clips to mold the respirator to the shape of the nose;
  4. Adjust the respirator by placing both hands over it and inhaling and exhaling. Readjust the straps if air leaks from the respirator's edges;
  5. Avoid touching the respirator while wearing it;
  6. Remove the respirator by grabbing the strap(s) from behind. Do not touch the front; and
  7. If the respirator does not need to be reused because of supply shortages, discard it in a closed-bin waste receptacle.
Visit OSHA's Publications webpage for other useful workplace safety information.
The video and poster are the latest efforts by OSHA to educate and protect America's workers and employers during the coronavirus pandemic. OSHA has also published Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, a document aimed at helping workers and employers learn about ways to protect themselves and their workplaces during the ongoing pandemic.
Heating Could Be the Best Way to Disinfect N95 Masks For Reuse
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, N95 face masks have been in short supply. Health care workers, in particular, desperately need these masks to protect themselves from the respiratory droplets of infected patients. But because of the shortage, many have to wear the same mask repeatedly. Now, researchers reporting in ACS Nano have tested several methods for disinfecting N95 materials, finding that heating them preserves their filtration efficiency for 50 cycles of disinfection.
N95 masks contain a layer of meltblown polypropylene fibers that form a porous, breathable network. To help capture smaller particles that could slip through the holes, the fibers are electrostatically charged. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended several methods for disinfecting N95 masks, such as heating, ultraviolet (UV) radiation and bleach treatment, but so far they have not been tested extensively, especially for multiple rounds of disinfection. Yi Cui and colleagues wanted to compare five of the methods that could reasonably be used within a hospital setting to see how mask materials hold up to repeated disinfections.
In  this study, instead of analyzing N95 masks — which should be reserved for health care workers — the researchers examined pieces of the meltblown fabric used to make these masks. They treated the material with a particular disinfectant and compared its ability to filter aerosol particles (resembling respiratory droplets, but lacking coronavirus) before and after disinfection. The team found that spraying the fabric with an ethanol or chlorine bleach solution drastically reduced the filtration efficiency after only one treatment, from about 96% to 56% (ethanol) or 73% (bleach). A single steam treatment maintained filtration, but five steam treatments led to a sharp decline in efficiency. UV radiation allowed up to 20 cycles of disinfection; however, administering the exact dose of UV that kills the virus without damaging mask materials could be problematic, the researchers note. The best disinfection method appeared to be heating. For example, heating at 185 F for 20 minutes allowed the fabric to be treated 50 times without loss of filtration efficiency. But frequently donning and removing N95 masks could affect fit, which also impacts performance, the researchers point out.
The authors acknowledges that they are founders, shareholders or employees of 4C Air, Inc.
Sewage Overflows into Drinking Water Sources May Create New COVID-19 Infection Vectors
The virus SARS-CoV-2, which causes Coronavirus, is in the feces of infected persons and can stay in that feces for a long time, up to 47 days.  As a result, both sewage leaks and Combined Sewage Overflows present a public health risk that is being magnified by big storms overwhelming aging sewers, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
Of particular concern are large releases of sewage into drinking water sources. Nor’easters, hurricanes and other major storms frequently result in wastewater treatment plants having to release sewage into rivers in order to prevent it from backing up in homes. For example, an April 9, 2020 storm caused sewage to be released for hours into the Merrimack River, the drinking water source for a half-million Massachusetts residents. Sewage leaks can also result in raw sewage in streets or lawns.
“COVID-19 dramatically increases the public health consequences of these combined sewage overflows,” stated PEER Science Policy Director Kyla Bennett, a scientist and attorney formerly with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “Our aging water infrastructure represents a growing public health vulnerability as these sewage spills become more common.”
Health officials recommend that people avoid direct contact with river water for 48 hours after a release, known as Combined Sewage Overflows, or CSO.  Yet, these CSOs remain a blind spot for tracking down sources of virus transmission.  For example:
  • Drinking water is not routinely screened for COVID-19, even following CSO events;
  • Workers in wastewater treatment plants are particularly at risk.  A recent survey of utilities found that nearly three in four water treatment plants register concerns about running out of masks, gowns, and gloves to protect their workers.  Similarly, EPA and state environmental inspectors face infection dangers; and
  • Enforcement suspensions by EPA and some states during this pandemic may foster a relaxation in CSO response.
“Much remains to be learned about the role of sewage overflows and disease transmission,” added Bennett, adding that EPA warrants only that “treatment and disinfectant processes at wastewater treatment plants are expected to be effective. At a minimum, EPA should be conducting or funding screening of at-risk drinking water for the presence of Coronavirus.”
KDHE, KU Study COVID-19 Detection in Wastewater
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) recently teamed up with the University of Kansas School of Engineering (KU) to determine if genetic remnants of COVID-19 can be detected in wastewater.
The concept originally tested in Massachusetts and the Netherlands, and now throughout the United States, is that people infected with the virus shed it through their urine and feces. The genetic material can be extracted from wastewater and matched against genetic markers keyed to COVID-19. The virus itself does not survive in wastewater, and therefore wastewater is not a significan t means of disease transmission.
Detecting the genetic material in wastewater is indicative of COVID-19 being present and may give local health officials knowledge of how widespread it is in their community, allowing them to take proactive measures to mitigate its spread. While drinking water is not part of this ongoing study, it’s important to note disinfection by all Kansas public water suppliers inactivates the virus and drinking water remains safe for consumption.
The Kansas project is still in its preliminary stages. KU collected samples from 12 wastewater plants in Kansas in late April. Some indication of the genetic material was found in the wastewater in 10 of those plants. Results are too variable and uncertain to make actual estimates of the extent of infection in those communities. The results were communicated to officials in cities that participated in the study.
“The initial results do show genetic indications from COVID-19 in wastewater; however, at best, we are at the presence/absence stage of evaluation process,” Tom Stiles, KDHE’s Bureau of Water director, said. “There is much more we need to refine in the methodology to assure quality control and that will start with further testing of samples. We don’t know how quantitative this approach can be, but we are hoping it gives us a means to corroborate our COVID testing of individuals, particularly in counties where positive cases have been low. Additionally, we may employ it as early warning surveillance should the virus come back in the fall or winter to give us a chance to get ahead of it.”
Samples were taken from a large city and a small town, each in five northeast Kansas counties with multiple wastewater facilities and sampled in Lawrence and Topeka. KDHE and KU are still evaluating the results and formulating plans for next steps in using the detection techniques.
Regulatory Requirements for Water and Wastewater Operator Certifications Temporarily Suspended in Missouri
To help mitigate some of the unexpected operational challenges created by the COVID-19 state of emergency, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources has suspended through June 15 the training-hours requirements for certified operators of public drinking water systems, wastewater systems, and waste-management systems for concentrated animal-feeding operations (CAFOs), whose certifications otherwise would expire during the suspension of these rules. These rules are temporarily suspended pursuant to Executive Orders 20-04 and 20-09 and include 10 CSR 60-14.020(8)(C), 10 CSR 20-9.030(4)(B) and 10 CSR 20-14.020(4)(B).
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Operator Certification Section offers and approves training, administers testing and provides certification to operators in Missouri to ensure the proper management of certain public drinking water systems, wastewater treatment systems and animal feeding operations.
Many operator certification classes have either been cancelled or postponed due to social distancing requirements related to the COVID-19 emergency. This has prevented many operators from taking the department-approved coursework required to renew their certifications. During the temporary suspension period certified operators of drinking-water, wastewater, and CAFO waste-management systems may renew their expiring certificates without obtaining the minimum amount of renewal training that otherwise would be required so they can continue providing their professional services.  
More information is available online at
Guidance for Reopening Pennsylvania Buildings Closed During COVID-19
As businesses in counties enter the Yellow Phase of the state’s reopening plan, the Pennsylvania departments of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Health (DOH) are encouraging owners and operators of dormant buildings to flush building water systems prior to reopening. Buildings that have been closed or used less frequently for an extended period of time may experience problems with water quality due to stagnation. 
“As buildings have been shut down or used less frequently as a result of COVID-19 mitigation efforts, building water quality degradation becomes a silent but serious issue,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Legionella, pathogens, lead, and disinfection byproducts can result when water sits for an extended period of time, which may lead to health issues.”
In the days leading up to reopening, the following recommendations and considerations should be made, and a team of facilities staff or a water management consultant will be needed to prepare the water system.
“As we carefully and intentionally determine which businesses are safe to reopen, we must also make sure they reopen in a manner that is protective of employees and customers,” said Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine.
Buildings that have been closed or used less frequently should consider the following measures:
  • Develop a flushing plan
  • Identify where the water enters the building, all taps (faucets, shower heads, water fountains), and water-using devices (dishwashers, ice machines)
  • Remove any potential cross connections, such as hoses connected to spigots, to prevent backflow into plumbing systems
  • Remove aerators when possible
  • Flush the entire building
  • Flush cold water lines before hot water lines
  • Flush the building zone by zone, beginning where the water enters the building and moving outward towards the distal ends
  • Flushing time will vary based on building size; a temperature change or chlorine smell may be used as indicators that fresh water has reached all fixtures within the building
  • Clean faucets, shower heads, and other fixtures
  • Inspect and conduct necessary maintenance on mechanical equipment such as water heaters, boilers, storage tanks, backflow prevention devices, etc. using manufacturer’s instructions
  • Consider developing an ongoing water management plan to maintain high quality water at all times
For more information on building water systems and flushing, please visit the CDC website.
IPDES E-Permitting Training for Industrial Dischargers
On July 1, 2020, the Idaho DEQ will become the authority responsible for NPDES General Permits (excluding storm water). In preparation for the upcoming transition, DEQ will provide free IPDES E-Permitting training for the following sectors:
  • Drinking Water Treatment
  • Ground Water Remediation
  • Small-Scale Suction Dredge
  • Concentrated Aquatic Animal Production Facilities (CAAPs)
This training is intended for the certifying official or authorized representatives who are designated by the facility to be the administrator for the online IPDES E-Permitting account. However, other appropriate personnel responsible for entering, editing, and/or submitting information may also attend. During the training, DEQ will demonstrate how to access, register, and manage the IPDES E-Permitting System for their permitted facility.
Due to COVID-19, the IPDES E-Permitting training originally scheduled at DEQ regional offices will now be offered online. Advanced registration is not required. The revised training schedule (sector specific), WebEx information, and call-in numbers are listed below.
Suction Dredge
May 27, 2020
9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Step 1: Audio
  • Join the conference call for audio at 1-877-820-7831
  • Guest Passcode: 169988
Step 2: Video
  • Join the web conference through WebEx
  • Meeting number: 288 793 873
  • Meeting password: pP5vm5mXrG6
Ground Water and Drinking Water
May 27, 2020
1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Step 1: Audio
  • Join the conference call for audio at 1-877-820-7831
  • Guest Passcode: 169988
Step 2: Video
  • Join the web conference through WebEx
  • Meeting number: 288 793 873
  • Meeting password: pP5vm5mXrG6
June 10, 2020
9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Step 1: Audio
  • Join the conference call for audio at 1-877-820-7831
  • Guest Passcode: 169988
Step 2: Video
  • Join the web conference through WebEx
  • Meeting number: 284 255 468 
  • Meeting password: iBJWaeMe383
Suction Dredge
June 3, 2020
1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Step 1: Audio
  • Join the conference call for audio at 1-877-820-7831
  • Guest Passcode: 169988
Step 2: Video
  • Join the web conference through WebEx
  • Meeting number: 284 255 46
  • Meeting password: iBJWaeMe383
Ground Water and Drinking Water
June 4, 2020
9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Step 1: Audio 
  • Join the conference call for audio at 1-877-820-7831
  • Guest Passcode: 169988
Step 2: Video 
  • Join the web conference through WebEx
  • Meeting number: 287 126 456
  • Meeting password: MXgUQDqn232

June 4, 2020
1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Step 1: Audio 
  • Join the conference call for audio at 1-877-820-7831
  • Guest Passcode: 169988
Step 2: Video 
  • Join the web conference through WebEx
  • Meeting number: 287 126 456
  • Meeting password:  MXgUQDqn232
If you have any questions about the training registration or logistics, please contact Tressa Nicholas at or (208) 373-0116. For questions about the IPDES E-Permitting System, contact Troy Smith, or 208-373-0488.
Decreasing Incidence of Injury Through Musculoskeletal First Aid Is Topic At May 19 CONN-OSHA Breakfast
The Connecticut Department of Labor’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (CONN-OSHA) will hold its monthly breakfast roundtable meeting on May 19 to discuss “Decreasing Incidence of Injury through Musculoskeletal First Aid.”
The May CONN-OSHA Breakfast Roundtable, to be held 8:15 to 9:45 a.m., will be presented via WebEx by David Hoyle, an orthopedic clinical specialist with a practice in Storrs. Hoyle, who holds a Master of Arts in physical therapy, for the past 30 years has focused on musculoskeletal health in industry sectors.
“Work-related musculoskeletal disorders account for significant decreases in productivity, lost work time, indemnity, medical spending, individual disability and quality of life,” explains John Able, CONN- OSHA Occupational Safety Training Specialist and roundtable coordinator. “There were more than 450,000 work-related musculoskeletal injuries comprised of 308,630 sprains, strains and tears, and an additional 142,230 back injuries in this country in 2018.”
Hoyle will discuss these injuries and how many can be prevented through population health strategies, including individual behavioral and lifestyle choices and employer-based prevention best practices through ergonomics.
Admission is free. You can sign up 15 minutes before the session by going to:
EXAMiner Software Helps Miners to Improve Hazard Recognition Skills
Mine safety trainers can now create, save, and share training scenarios with the latest release of the EXAMiner software—a tool used to train mineworkers to find and address hazards in their workplace.
The software, developed by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), is a Windows-based application that allows users to perform a virtual workplace examination, testing and strengthening their hazard recognition skills for when they are on the job.
EXAMiner comes with 31 preloaded scenes (24 with and 7 without hazards) that were developed specifically to test mineworker hazard recognition ability. The preloaded scenes are panoramic images of four locations at a surface limestone mine: the pit, the plant, the shop, and a series of haul roads or other roadways.
You can customize the software by uploading panoramic images from their own worksites and labeling hazards for workers to find. Users can also save their training scenarios to revisit later or export them to share with colleagues. Exported files can be emailed or added to shared folders and imported into EXAMiner by other users.
“EXAMiner serves to find the gaps between what mineworkers think they know about workplace hazards and the reality of what they see when they are in the work environment,” said Dr. Jessica Kogel, NIOSH Associate Director for Mining. “It is a versatile tool that safety trainers can use to increase their workers’ ability to find hazards before they face those hazards on the jobsite.”
NIOSH researchers designed EXAMiner so that it could easily be adopted into current training programs, such as Part 46 or Part 48 annual refresher training. Once downloaded and installed, EXAMiner does not require an internet connection, so it can be used for a variety of training situations: as part of new miner training in a classroom, during monthly training meetings, or as toolbox talks.
You can download EXAMiner from the NIOSH Mining website.
Company Owner Plead Guilty to Perjury After Lying During OSHA Investigation
The owner of a Somerset County, New Jersey, construction company has pleaded guilty to one count of felony perjury brought by the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey.
In exchange for the guilty plea, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey sentenced Robert Riley of Far Hills, New Jersey – owner of RSR Home Construction LLC – to two years of probation and fined him $5,500 for lying under oath during an investigation that began in May 2018.
OSHA initiated the investigation after – in two separate incidents – two RSR Home Construction employees suffered serious injuries after falling through an unguarded skylight while making roof repairs. In administrative proceedings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, the company agreed to affirm citations and a $50,000 penalty for one willful and three serious violations for lack of fall protection and other safety deficiencies.
In a sworn deposition taken during OSHA’s investigation, Riley testified under oath that he never instructed or authorized anyone to perform work on the roofs. However, Riley’s text messages to construction workers revealed he directed a worker to begin repairs on the roof of the barn structure where the injuries occurred.
“Our collaboration with U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey helped to hold Robert Riley legally accountable for giving false information in a federal investigation,” said Regional Solicitor of Labor Jeffrey S. Rogoff, in New York, New York. “This successful outcome shows that the U.S. Department of Labor will use all appropriate and available legal tools to ensure that employers abide by the law.”
“We commend our federal partners for their cooperation in the prosecution of this case,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Richard Mendelson, in New York. “Employers must understand that misleading a federal investigator is a serious mistake. We remind all employers that they have a responsibility to provide fall protection and other necessary precautions to ensure a safe and healthful workplace.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey prosecuted the case, with assistance from OSHA’s Area Office in Parsippany, New Jersey, and the department’s Office of Inspector General and the New York Regional Office of the Solicitor of Labor, which also litigated the administrative citation case before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Florida Roofing Contractor Cited for Repeatedly Exposing Employees to Fall Hazards
OSHA has cited Crown Roofing LLC for exposing employees to fall hazards at a residential worksite in Tamarac, Florida. The Sarasota, Florida-based contractor faces penalties of $134,937.
OSHA initiated the inspection in November 2019, as part of the agency’s Regional Emphasis Program for Falls in Construction, after inspectors observed employees working on roofs without fall protection. OSHA cited Crown Roofing for exposing employees to fall hazards. The agency has inspected the company 18 times in the past six years, with 12 of the inspections resulting in repeat violations of the fall protection standard.
“This employer’s repeated failure in complying with fall protection requirements puts worker’s lives at risk,” said OSHA Fort Lauderdale Area Director Condell Eastmond.
11 New Translations of OSHA Poster To Help Prevent Workplace Coronavirus Exposure
OSHA has translated and published its “Ten Steps All Workplaces Can Take to Reduce Risk of Exposure to Coronavirus” poster in 11 additional languages.
Currently available in English and Spanish, the poster highlights 10 infection prevention measures every employer should implement to protect workers' safety and health during the coronavirus pandemic. Safety measures include encouraging sick workers to stay home; establishing flexible worksites and staggered work shifts; discouraging workers from using other workers' phones, desks and other work equipment; and using EPA-approved cleaning chemicals from List N or that have label claims against the coronavirus.
The poster is available for download in the following languages:
See OSHA's Publications webpage for other useful workplace safety information.
The additional translations are OSHA's latest effort to educate and protect America's workers and employers during the coronavirus pandemic. In response to President Trump's action to increase the availability of general use respirators, OSHA has issued a series of guidance documents that expand access to respirators in the workplace.
OSHA has also published Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, its guidance aimed at helping workers and employers learn about ways to protect themselves and their workplaces during the ongoing pandemic.
Building Energy Performance Standard Adopted by St. Louis
Mayor Lyda Krewson has signed an ambitious bill that would require buildings in the City of St. Louis to meet energy efficiency standards and establishes resources to help building owners achieve the savings that come with decreased energy usage. The City is the first jurisdiction in the Midwest and the fourth in the country to pass a Building Energy Performance Standard (BPS). This BPS, unanimously adopted by the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, establishes incrementally increasing energy-saving targets for buildings, and advances the city on its path to eliminating community-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050. By enacting this policy, St. Louis shows leadership regionally and nationally for driving climate action through high-performance buildings while simultaneously creating a framework for better buildings, clean energy, improved air quality, local jobs, lower energy costs, and a more resilient city.
“The coronavirus has shown us how a crisis can disrupt the entire world. The threat that was with us before COVID-19 and will be with us after is climate change,” said bill sponsor Alderwoman Heather Navarro, 28th Ward. “St. Louis is taking steps to protect our community by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from buildings and making those buildings healthier for the people who live and work in them. We are proud to take this step in making St. Louis a more resilient city for the future.”
St. Louis is one of the 25 winning cities in Bloomberg's Climate Challenge, which is helping cities set and surpass ambitious climate goals by ramping up action in the two highest-emitting sectors in cities: transportation and buildings. The Climate Challenge provided essential strategic and technical support for this BPS policy development and for an equitable solar expansion ordinance advanced earlier this year.
“St. Louis exemplifies the kind of local leadership we designed the program to support,” said Kelly Shultz, a member of the environment team at Bloomberg Philanthropies. “Mayor Krewson and her team have already pushed past the city’s first emissions reduction goals, and this legislation will help get to zero.”
Buildings account for about 80% of St. Louis’s GHG emissions, so increasing energy efficiency is crucial to reaching the city’s goal of 100% GHG reductions by 2050. As in other cities, the St. Louis BPS creates a legal requirement for building owners to ensure their buildings meet a minimum level of energy performance (the standard) within a series of multi-year compliance cycles. The policy will use Site Energy Use Intensity (EUI) as its chief performance metric. The St. Louis BPS covers buildings 50,000 square feet or larger, which have been required to report the energy and water use of their properties since 2017 under the city’s Building Energy Awareness Ordinance. The BPS will now go beyond reporting to require energy-saving action
“With this announcement, St Louis is giving the country an example of how we can make buildings work for people,” said Lotte Schlegel, Executive Director of IMT. “It’s this kind of vision that will move the needle on climate change efforts.” 
“St. Louis shows that cities do not have to wait for the federal government to lead on climate. They don’t need to wait for states. They don’t even have to wait for bigger cities. Mayors and local City Councils can bring the climate leadership needed right now,” said Stefan Schaffer, an American Cities Climate Challenge strategist at NRDC. “Aggressive policies like St. Louis’s new performance standard bring the jobs, improved air quality and economic activity that every city in America needs right now—I think we will see others following the Gateway to the West’s lead.”
The adoption of this law in St. Louis is part of a national trend of local leaders leveraging building efficiency standards to counter climate change. This BPS follows similar policies enacted in Washington, DCNew York City, and the State of Washington within the last two years.
Compared to other energy-saving building policies, a BPS requires greater changes, but allows building owners broad flexibility to make improvements. By setting long-term targets, a BPS provides the commercial real estate market with the certainty it needs to make confident investments in properties over time. It can also enable cities to achieve multiple city priorities at once, including carbon reductions, building electrification, energy efficiency, peak demand reductions, and more. A BPS policy, therefore, can act as a cornerstone of a city’s climate action plan, sending clear market signals, declaring political commitments, and requiring direct action with measurable results. 
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 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 May or June 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.
General Permit for Impacts to Ephemeral Streams Proposed in Ohio
Ohio EPA has released a draft general permit that will be available to applicants for projects that impact ephemeral streams and is accepting public comments on the draft permit for 30 days after the public notice is published in newspapers.
U.S. EPA’s recently finalized Navigable Waters Protection Rule will remove certain waters from federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act, including ephemeral streams and certain isolated wetlands. States retain the authority to decide on oversight of these non-jurisdictional waters in ways that best protect their natural resources and local economies.
It is estimated that there are more than 36,000 miles of ephemeral streams throughout Ohio. While they do not flow continuously, these streams are important to aquatic ecosystems because they help control run-off and erosion, reduce flooding potential and help filter pollutants. Channel-like features on the land surface created by water erosion that are not tributaries, such as agricultural ditches, roadside ditches and grass swale waterways would not meet the definition of ephemeral streams.
Ohio EPA has historically used state permitting authority to regulate impacts to isolated wetlands and will continue to maintain an isolated wetland permitting program.
Ohio EPA has developed a state general permit mechanism for authorizing impacts to ephemeral streams from construction and fill activities. The general requirements that have historically been applicable to projects that impact ephemeral streams when these resources were under federal jurisdiction will be included under the state permit, including pre-notification, site restoration and mitigation requirements for permanent impacts.  Ohio EPA is not proposing new or additional requirements for ephemeral streams under the draft general permit.  In addition, the draft general permit is expected to be a streamlined and efficient permit mechanism for applicants.
The draft general permit is available on Ohio EPA’s website: Comments on the draft general permit may be emailed to:
General Contractor Fined Nearly $235K For Continued Job Safety Violations
When it comes to protecting workers from the dangers of construction sites – including fall hazards that can lead to serious injury or death – Colima Construction continues to face serious challenges.
Colima’s apparent inability to follow safety standards is not without consequences: In a series of enforcement actions, Oregon OSHA has fined the Canby-based general contractor nearly $235,000 for violating multiple job safety rules – repeatedly in several instances – at jobsites in Bend, Aumsville, and Tigard, OR.
At a construction site in Aumsville, OR a worker is on a roof with no fall protection.
The citations are the latest against Colima, which has a record of overlooking worksite safety requirements, including breaking fall protection rules addressing similar hazards at least six times since 2017. These repeated violations prompted Oregon OSHA to once again exercise its discretionary authority to steeply increase penalties.
“It is inexcusable to ignore practical safety standards that have, time and again, proven effective at protecting workers from on-the-job hazards,” said Oregon OSHA Administrator Michael Wood. “Yet, this employer continues to disregard the need to effectively address those rules, sidestepping its responsibilities and putting lives at needless risk.”
The fines totaling $234,850 stem from three citations the division issued against the company in March and April 2020. The citations resulted from three separate inspections.
They follow two citations – totaling more than $120,000 – that Oregon OSHA issued against the company in September 2019. Those citations were for the company’s failure to meet fall protection requirements at jobsites at a residential development in Eugene.
Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry.
Here is a summary of each of the three enforcement actions against Colima this year:
Citation issued April 29
This inspection of the company’s work to frame exterior walls on the second floor of a residential structure in Bend found five serious violations – two of them repeat offenses:
  • In using a guardrail system as the only type of fall protection for workers, the company failed to ensure the system’s top edge height was between 39 inches and 45 inches above the walking/working surface. Proposed penalty: $910, reflecting increases in the base penalty because of poor faith and negative history.
  • The employer did not ensure the guardrail system – which did not have a wall or parapet at least 21 inches high – included a mid-rail, screen, or similar protective structure. Proposed penalty: $4,450, reflecting increases in the base penalty because of poor faith and negative history.
  • The company failed to ensure that employees walking below the second-floor crew wore hardhats, exposing them to head injuries from objects that could fall, including lumber blocks and nail guns. Proposed penalty: $390.
  • In a repeat violation, the company exposed employees to potential falls of 11 feet without any fall-protection measures, such as personal fall arrest systems. It was a violation of an Oregon OSHA trigger-height rule in construction requiring fall protection where workers are exposed to falling six feet or more to a lower level.
  • The company exposed employees to the potential of tripping or stepping into a hole – created by an unprotected stairwell – and falling nine feet. It was a repeat violation.
For this citation, Oregon OSHA proposed a total penalty of $87,850. That includes a discretionary $75,000 fine for Colima’s violation of the six-foot trigger-height protection from falls rule. The company has broken the rule at least six times since 2017.
The fine amount also reflects an increase in the base penalty for the other repeat violation – the third time the company has breached the rule against unprotected holes. Also, it includes a 30 percent increase in the base penalties assigned to the other violations, accounting for Colima’s poor faith and negative history.
Citation issued April 15
This inspection of roofing work on an under-construction house in Aumsville discovered the company exposed at least one worker to a potential 12-foot fall by failing to provide fall protection.
It was another repeat violation of the six-foot trigger-height rules. On a discretionary basis, Oregon OSHA proposed a total penalty of $122,500.
Citation issued March 20
This inspection centered on a multi-story building project in Tigard.
It found the company failed to ensure that the personal fall arrest system being used by a worker – who was standing about eight feet high on elevated joists and the top of framed walls – was correctly rigged to prevent him from falling more than six feet and hitting a lower level.
For this repeat violation, Oregon OSHA used its discretionary authority to issue a total proposed penalty of $24,500.
Colima has filed appeals of the April 15 and March 20 citations. The company also appealed the two citations issued in September 2019.
In addition to its enforcement activities, Oregon OSHA offers employers resources to help improve workplace safety and health. Those resources include the division’s A-to-Z topic page about fall protection. The division encouraged employers to take its Fundamentals of Fall Protection online video training.
New California Water Board Regulations Raise Accreditation Requirements
California’s Water Resources Control Board has adopted comprehensive regulations to modernize the Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP), which oversees more than 650 laboratories that regulate testing of drinking water, wastewater discharges and hazardous waste cleanup sites throughout California.
The new regulations require accredited laboratories to implement a nationally accepted standard, called the NELAC Institute (TNI) Standard, for managing all factors that potentially can affect the quality of lab results - from the quality of supplies and equipment to the training of laboratory staff.
“Laboratory data is the foundation of public health, environmental protection, and evidence-based, decision-making in our state,” said E. Joaquin Esquivel, chair of the State Water Board. “Today's adoption of national standards benefits all Californians by ensuring ELAP labs are meeting common core requirements and generating data of highest quality. Implementation of the standards will be appropriately flexible over the next three years, and the Board is committed to working with and ensuring all labs make the transition successfully."
Laboratories previously were only required to meet the requirements in the analytical methods they perform, but the new standard requires facilities to control a broader scope of influential factors.
Approximately 150 of ELAP’s accredited laboratories were already implementing the TNI Standard prior to this regulatory proposal. The adoption of these regulations requires that every laboratory meets these minimum requirements to ensure consistent data quality for every community.
The updated regulations are the result of a panel review that found ELAP’s regulations seriously outdated and lacking some requirements that are considered minimum industry standards. The State Board called for the review after the program was moved to its jurisdiction in 2015.
The regulatory update also improves ELAP’s operations and administration and provides enhanced enforcement capabilities to respond to laboratory fraud or other chronic problems.
State Board staff are providing a suite of tools and training to assist laboratories transitioning to the national operating standard; they will have three years to implement the system before compliance is required.
Multi-State Lawsuit Opposing Federal Rule Change Joined by North Carolina
The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has joined the North Carolina Attorney General and 16 states in filing suit opposing the EPA’s final rule defining “Waters of the United States.” The rule is set to take effect on June 22, 2020.
“This rule threatens decades of improvements in water quality and endangers North Carolina’s unique wetlands,” said DEQ Secretary Michael S. Regan. “This historic rollback of protections will result in a significant loss of natural resources and it is not based on science and runs counter to decades of EPA policy. DEQ will continue to use the state’s authority to protect water quality and the associated economic benefits to North Carolina.”
The new rule arbitrarily narrows the existing definition of waters protected under the Clean Water Act and excludes many of North Carolina’s wetlands. These wetlands play a critical role in filtering pollution and slowing stormwater during flooding events.   The new rule also reduces protections for drinking water sources, risks damage to our fishing industry and increases flooding risks from runoff and sea-level rise.
In joint comments on the proposed rule in April of 2019, DEQ and the NC Attorney General advocated for a science-based approach to defining the Waters of the United States to preserve water quality and provide clarity for landowners.  DEQ objected to arbitrary changes in defining protected waters and raised concerns about the regulatory gap created by the changes that would need to be filled by new rules, laws and personnel to protect wetlands. DEQ also raised concerns about the increased burden on underfunded, understaffed regulatory agencies that work in partnership with the federal government to protect wetlands nation-wide. The EPA final rule does not address the concerns raised in those comments.
Tennessee State Parks to Hold Virtual 5K Race
Tennesseans doing their part to stay apart – but also eager to keep moving – will be able to participate in a virtual 5K race this month organized by Tennessee State Parks to coincide with World Bee Day on May 20.
A virtual race is a race that can be run or walked from any location. You get to run your race at your own pace and time it yourself. Whether the course is a personal treadmill or a neighborhood sidewalk, participants of all skill levels who like to run, walk, or a combination of both, can register for the virtual race to be held May 17-23.
Registration fee is $20, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Tennessee State Park Honey Project, which helps establish honeybee hives in state parks across the state. The fee includes a finisher’s medal and certificate, both of which will be sent to the participant by mail, and a virtual bib that will be emailed. Contestants may log time at any point during the week of the race. They are encouraged to complete their miles on May 20.
The race lasts a week to allow participants to choose any day or days during the week they would like to complete their 5K. They have the entire week to input their time into It’s Your Race at The race can be completed in whatever way is more enjoyable. For example:
  • Run with your dog.
  • Use a treadmill.
  • Run the race in increments, a portion each day.
  • Walk part of it. Run part of it.
  • Run where you like, but it is recommended staying relatively close to home.
  • It’s up to you. If you want to run loops in your kitchen, that works.
The purpose of World Bee Day is to acknowledge the role of bees and other pollinators for the ecosystem. Pollinator health is critical to Tennessee’s agricultural, environmental and ecological health. The Tennessee State Parks Honey Project is in several state parks to promote pollinator and environmental health in the parks, provide an experiential learning opportunity for visitors, and to produce sweet treats for park guests. Tennessee State Parks sell the honey in state park gift shops and use the honey in state park restaurants.
To register for the virtual 5K race, visit For more information on the Tennessee Honey Project, visit
Free Amazon HD 10 Tablet with RCRA and DOT Training
Annual training is required by 40 CFR 262.17(a)(7).  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 at nationwide locations, and 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.
News Links
Trivia Question of the Week