August 16, 2021
If your site is a small quantity generator (SQG) of hazardous waste (i.e., a generator of between 100 and 1,000 kg (220 and 2,200 lbs) of non-acute hazardous waste per month), you are required to re-notify your state environmental agency every four years. To remain in compliance with the re-notification requirement, you must update your notification by completing and submitting the Notification of RCRA Subtitle C Activities (Site Identification Form), also known as EPA Form 8700-12, or state equivalent. Many states encourage you to submit this information online, however some accept written notifications. Details on both options are provided below:
Online renotification can be submitted electronically via MyRCRAID
by logging into RCRAInfo and requesting MyRCRAID permissions for your site (if you have not already registered). Then, you should create a New Submission and select the option to provide a subsequent notification. The form will be pre-populated with the most recent information for your site in RCRAInfo. Review the information in each box for accuracy and update as necessary before submitting.
A copy of the paper version of the Site ID Form can be found here
. Select the choice in Item 1 on the form to obtain or update an EPA ID number. Complete the form with the current information for your site. Sign the form and submit it to your state environmental agency.
Learn more about how to comply with the latest hazardous waste regulations here
Oregon OSHA Offers Free Online Training to Help Comply with Emergency Wildfire Smoke Rule
Oregon employers now have a free and flexible resource to help them comply with rules aimed at protecting workers from wildfire smoke, thanks to an interactive online training course developed by Oregon OSHA.
The course – Wildfire Smoke Training Requirements
– is designed to help employers meet certain training requirements found in Oregon OSHA’s emergency temporary rule, which addresses wildfire smoke in the workplace.
“We encourage employers to take advantage of this free training resource, which will help them better understand and carry out our rule,” said Roy Kroker, consultation and public education manager for Oregon OSHA. “And it provides an opportunity for employers to enhance their existing training programs.”
The temporary rule addressing wildfire smoke took effect Aug. 9 and will remain in effect for 180 days. The rule requires employers to comply with employee training provisions by Aug. 16. They must do so for employees who may be exposed to wildfire smoke where the ambient air concentration for fine particulate matter (also known as PM2.5) is at or above an Air Quality Index
(AQI) 101, which is unhealthy for sensitive groups. Moreover, employers must ensure workers who may be exposed to AQI 101 have been trained in a manner and language they understand.
The training requirement applies unless the employer predetermines that operations involving wildfire smoke exposure will be suspended before employees are exposed to an AQI 101.
The online training course covers six of the 10 required training elements. They are:
- Symptoms of wildfire smoke exposure
- Potential health effects of wildfire smoke
- The definition of sensitive groups
- Employees’ rights
- How to access the AQI
- The importance, limitations, and benefits of using a filtering facepiece respirator (commonly known as an N95), and how to properly wear one
The remaining four required training elements are based on each employer’s operational practices. They must be covered by the employer. Those elements are: steps to take when an employee is sick from exposure to wildfire smoke; how to operate air quality monitoring devices supplied by the employer; methods to protect employees from wildfire smoke; and a communication system for wildfire smoke hazards.
Oregon OSHA’s online training course takes about an hour to complete. It features graphics and links to more resources to help employers achieve full compliance with the rule. It offers an opportunity to obtain a certificate of completion. On the training course’s webpage
, the course is also available to instructors as a PowerPoint. A Spanish-language version of the training course will be available soon.
DOT’s Proposal to Further Harmonize Hazardous Materials Regulations with International Standards
On August 11, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) announced its issuance of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) containing proposed amendments to the Federal Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) that will further harmonize US and international regulations, as well as streamline the domestic transport of certain hazardous materials, such as COVID-19 medical supplies.
According to DOT, this proposed rule will help ensure the safe and efficient transport of vaccines and other medical materials and aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by permitting more efficient packaging of hazardous materials, and thereby transporting additional goods in fewer trips.
“As communities continue to battle COVID-19, this rule would make it easier to ship and receive medical supplies,” said PHMSA Acting Administrator Tristan Brown. “The rule also aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve efficiencies and reduce regulatory burdens for small businesses.”
The proposed rule:
- Incorporates by reference updated versions of the 2021-2022 Edition of the ICAO Technical Instructions; Amendment 40-20 to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code); the 21st revised edition of the UN Model Regulations; and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) “Specific Safety Requirements Number SSR-6: Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material 2018 Edition” (SSR-6, Ref. 1). PHMSA also proposed the incorporation by reference of several new or updated International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards as well as an updated version of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for the Testing of Chemicals Test No. 431: In vitro skin corrosion: reconstructed human epidermis (RHE) test method.
- Would authorize motor carriers and rail carriers of a hazardous material within the United States pursuant to a temporary certificate issued under Transport Canada's Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (TDG Regulations).
- Adds, revises or removes certain proper shipping names, hazard classes, packing groups, special provisions, packaging authorizations, bulk packaging requirements, and passenger and cargo aircraft maximum quantity limits identified on the hazardous materials table.
- Proposes an exception from certain regulations for lithium batteries in equipment that are attached to or contained in packagings, large packagings, intermediate bulk containers (IBCs), or cargo transport units as equipment in use or intended for use during transport, such as data loggers. This would clarify regulations applicable to data loggers and cargo tracking devices powered by lithium batteries that are attached to or contained in, and in use or intended for use during transport. Additionally, in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, and consistent with revisions to the 2021-2022 ICAO Technical Instructions, the DOT proposed exceptions specific to the air transportation of these items used in association with shipments of COVID-19 pharmaceuticals, including vaccines.
- Requires hazardous materials transporters to specify whether shipments contain damaged or defective lithium batteries.
- Allows the use of small receptacles for small gas or fuel cell cartridges for recycling or disposal.
- Updates packaging construction provisions that will help reduce delays and interruptions of hazardous materials during transportation.
- Removes the minimum wall thickness requirements for metal IBCs that have a capacity of 1500 liters (L) or less.
- Permits the transport of stabilized fish meal or fish scrap (UN2216) on passenger and cargo aircraft. Currently, when transported as a Class 9 material, stabilized fish meal or fish scrap is only authorized for transportation by vessel. As a part of this proposal, PHMSA is also expanding the applicability of the stabilization requirements currently in place for shipments of these materials by vessel.
- Creates a new entry in the hazardous materials table for “UN3549, Medical Waste, Category A, Affecting Humans, solid or Medical Waste, Category A, Affecting Animals only, solid. “This entry provides an additional shipping description for solid materials meeting the Category A classification criteria that are not appropriate for classification in existing entries/classes “UN2814, Infectious substance, affecting humans” or “UN2900, Infectious substance, affecting animals only.” Solid medical waste containing Category A infectious substances generated from the medical treatment of humans or veterinary treatment of animals (e.g., disposable personal protective equipment) may be assigned to UN3549. Although PHMSA is not adopting certain packaging provisions adopted in the UN Model Regulations, it proposes assigning Special Provision 131, which directs shippers to request a special permit prior to transportation, to UN3549. Additionally, PHMSA proposed amending certain parts of 49 CFR 173.134, which provides definitions and exceptions for Class 6, Division 6.2 hazardous materials, to include references to this new UN number and proper shipping name.
- Proposes to expand the authorized packagings for polymeric beads and plastic molding compound (UN2211 and UN3314) to include combination packagings rather than limiting packaging options to single packagings.
- Proposes several other revisions to HMR requirements, including minimum size markings and modification of stowage requirements for lithium batteries including those offered as damaged/defective or for disposal/recycling.
- Proposes to amend the definition of SADT (Self-accelerating decomposition temperature) and SAPT (Self-accelerating polymerizing temperature) to clarify that the lowest temperature at which the these may occur can take place in a packaging, IBC or portable tank.
- Proposes to extend the periodic inspection, from five to ten years, for cylinders that are filled with hazardous materials described as “UN3500, Chemicals under pressure, n.o.s.” that are also used as fire extinguishing agents.
- Proposes to amend provisions pertaining to the addition of technical names to the shipping description when transporting hazardous materials that contain marine pollutants. These amendments aim to provide flexibility with regard to documentation and marking requirements, which currently require identifying the technical names of marine pollutant components in those materials. Additionally, PHMSA proposes to amend 49 CFR 172.203(l) and 172.322 to limit the applicability of requirements for specific marine pollutant constituents for generic entries (indicated by the letter “G” in column 1 of the Hazardous Materials Table) and those containing “n.o.s.” as part of the proper shipping names.
- PHMSA proposes to add stability testing requirements for nitrocellulose, to require that these materials meet the criteria of the Bergmann-Junk test or methyl violet paper test in the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, Appendix 10.
The NPRM is currently available in the Federal Register
. Stakeholders and the public can submit comments on the proposed rule for up to 60 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register. Learn more
about how to comply with the latest hazardous materials regulations.
Touted as Clean, ‘Blue’ Hydrogen May Be Worse Than Gas, Coal
Blue hydrogen – an energy source that involves a process for making hydrogen by using methane in natural gas – is being lauded as a clean, green energy to help reduce global warming. But Cornell and Stanford University researchers believe it may harm the climate more than burning fossil fuel.
The carbon footprint to create blue hydrogen is more than 20% greater than using either natural gas or coal directly for heat, or about 60% greater than using diesel oil for heat, according to new research
published in Energy Science & Engineering
, professor of ecology and environmental biology at Cornell, together with Mark Z. Jacobson, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford, authored the report.
Blue hydrogen starts with converting methane to hydrogen and carbon dioxide by using heat, steam and pressure, or gray hydrogen, but goes further to capture some of the carbon dioxide. Once the byproduct carbon dioxide and the other impurities are sequestered, it becomes blue hydrogen, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
The process to make blue hydrogen takes a large amount of energy, according to the researchers, which is generally provided by burning more natural gas.
“In the past, no effort was made to capture the carbon dioxide byproduct of gray hydrogen, and the greenhouse gas emissions have been huge,” Howarth said. “Now the industry promotes blue hydrogen as a solution, an approach that still uses the methane from natural gas, while attempting to capture the byproduct carbon dioxide. Unfortunately, emissions remain very large.”
Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, Howarth said. It is more than 100 times stronger as an atmospheric warming agent than carbon dioxide when first emitted. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report released on Aug. 9
shows that cumulatively to date over the past century, methane has contributed about two-thirds as much to global warming as carbon dioxide has, he said.
Emissions of blue hydrogen are less than for gray hydrogen, but only by about 9% to 12%.
“Blue hydrogen is hardly emissions free,” wrote the researchers. “Blue hydrogen as a strategy only works to the extent it is possible to store carbon dioxide long-term indefinitely into the future without leakage back to the atmosphere.”
On Aug. 10, the U.S. Senate passed its version of the $1 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which includes several billion dollars to develop, subsidize and strengthen hydrogen technology and its industry.
“Political forces may not have caught up with the science yet,” Howarth said. “Even progressive politicians may not understand for what they’re voting. Blue hydrogen sounds good, sounds modern and sounds like a path to our energy future. It is not.
An ecologically friendly “green” hydrogen does exist, but it remains a small sector and it has not been commercially realized. Green hydrogen is achieved when water goes through electrolysis (with electricity supplied by solar, wind or hydroelectric power) and the water is separated into hydrogen and oxygen.
“The best hydrogen, the green hydrogen derived from electrolysis – if used wisely and efficiently – can be that path to a sustainable future,” Howarth said. “Blue hydrogen is totally different.”
This research was supported by a grant from the Park Foundation. Howarth is a fellow at the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability.
California Passes Nation’s First Building Code that Establishes Pollution-free Electric Heat Pumps as Baseline Technology
The California Energy Commission (CEC) voted to approve the first building code in the nation to include highly efficient electric heat pumps as a baseline technology — the latest step by the state of California to transition new homes and buildings off of fossil fuels like gas in favor of electric appliances that can run on 100% clean energy.
Once the code goes into effect in January 2023, most new homes and buildings statewide will either need to be equipped with at least one highly-efficient heat pump for either space heating or water heating or face higher energy efficiency requirements — a move that will deliver considerable climate and air quality benefits. The new code also sets stronger ventilation standards for gas stoves, after the California Air Resources Board found last year that they were a major health risk
Experts estimate that the requirements for electric appliances in the code will prompt a substantial number of builders to forgo gas in new construction altogether — which should result in most homes built after Jan. 1, 2023 being gas-free. Many builders across the state are already choosing to build without gas for economic considerations alone — a trend that the code will accelerate.
“At National Core, we are already choosing to build pollution-free, all-electric affordable housing because we have found that it’s the best economic decision for us, both in terms of building costs, and long-term operational costs,” said Tim Kohut, director of sustainable design at National Community Renaissance (National CORE), the nation’s fourth largest affordable housing developer. “We expect that California’s new building code will prompt other builders and affordable housing developers to take the same route, delivering substantial savings.”
By increasing the use of heat pumps — which provide both heating and cooling while using between 50% to 70% less energy compared with other technologies — advocates also say that the code will also increase resilience in the face of climate-fueled heat waves, while reducing the strain imposed on the grid by inefficient air conditioning systems.
“The devastating climate report this week from the United Nations underscores just how high the stakes are for Californians. We’re in the crosshairs of the climate crisis. California’s new building code sets a striking precedent and takes us in the right direction by prioritizing electric appliances over gas, but this is an initial step. Next we need to go all in: the state should dedicate substantial public investment to rapidly transition existing buildings off gas, so all Californians benefit from healthy all-electric homes.” said Matt Vespa, senior attorney on Earthjustice’s Right to Zero Campaign.
The code’s approval comes on the heels of the release of California Energy Commission’s Building Decarbonization Assessment
, which found that the electrification of both new and existing buildings must play a critical role in the most affordable pathway to meeting our climate targets.
“A shift to all-electric buildings will allow California to boost its reliance on clean electricity coming from wind, solar, and other renewable energy sources,” said Anne Perkins, senior manager of state/local government relations at Adobe, which recently opened the first all-electric office tower in Silicon Valley. “We hope other companies and industries will take our lead to tackle the climate crisis by moving the state toward all-electric buildings and building a net-zero emissions future.”
Updated OSHA Guidance on Protecting Workers from the Unvaccinated
OSHA issued updated guidance
to help employers protect workers from the coronavirus. The updated guidance reflects developments in science and data, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's updated COVID-19 guidance issued July 27.
The updated guidance expands information on appropriate measures for protecting workers in higher-risk workplaces with mixed-vaccination status workers, particularly for industries such as manufacturing; meat, seafood and poultry processing; high volume retail and grocery; and agricultural processing, where there is often prolonged close contact with other workers and/or non-workers.
OSHA's latest guidance:
- Recommends that fully vaccinated workers in areas of substantial or high community transmission wear masks in order to protect unvaccinated workers;
- Recommends that fully vaccinated workers who have close contacts with people with coronavirus wear masks for up to 14 days unless they have a negative coronavirus test at least 3-5 days after contact;
- Clarifies recommendations to protect unvaccinated workers and other at-risk workers in manufacturing, meat and poultry processing, seafood processing and agricultural processing; and
- Links to the latest guidance on K-12 schools and CDC statements on public transit.
OSHA continues to emphasize that vaccination is the optimal step to protect workers and encourages employers to engage with workers and their representatives to implement multi-layered approaches to protect unvaccinated or otherwise at-risk workers from the coronavirus.
As part of the agency's ongoing commitment to review the COVID-19 Healthcare Emergency Temporary Standard every 30-days, OSHA also said that the safeguards set forth by the standard remain more important than ever. After reviewing the latest guidance, science and data, and consulting with the CDC and partners, OSHA has determined the requirements of the healthcare ETS remain necessary to address the grave danger of the coronavirus in healthcare. OSHA will continue to monitor and assess the need for changes in the healthcare ETS each month.
OSHA said that its priority is the safety and health of workers, and that the Agency will continue to enforce the law to ensure workers are protected from the virus while they are on the job, including through OSHA's National Emphasis Program on COVID.
Dormakaba Recalls Delayed Egress Locks Due to Risk of Entrapment in an Emergency
This recall involves dormakaba Delayed Egress Locks with model number DE8310 found on the inside of the wiring cavity cover plate. These locks detect when pressure is applied to a door and are set with a release delay of 15 or 30 seconds. The recalled locks include an internal or external alarm sounder, key switch for reset and override, and a building code sign for single out swinging doors. Delayed egress locks are typically used on perimeter exit doors and internal fire doors to discourage or delay unauthorized exit while providing a safe means of escape during a fire or other catastrophic emergency.
The firm has received reports of 56 incidents with the recalled locks. No injuries have been reported. Facilities using the recalled locks should contact the firm for instructions on receiving a free repair of the firmware by a technician. Contact Dormakaba at 800-265-6630 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, email at DE8310.Recall@dormakaba.com
or online at dormakaba.us
and search for “recall” or “DE8310” for more information or here
Oregon’s New Plastic Pollution and Recycling Modernization Act
A new law in Oregon will update the state’s recycling systems to make recycling easier and more reliable, expand access to services and upgrade the facilities that sort recyclables. The Plastic Pollution and Recycling Modernization Act (Senate Bill 582),
signed Aug. 6 by Gov. Kate Brown, will also ensure collected materials are recycled responsibly, and reduce social and environmental harms, such as plastic pollution.
“This new modernization law means that, once again, Oregon will be a national leader in innovative recycling,” said DEQ Director Richard Whitman. “A lot of people worked incredibly hard to get this legislation passed. When we come together and truly collaborate, as we did with this law, it’s amazing what we can accomplish as a state.”
The law requires packaging producers to share responsibility for effective management of their products after use. Oregon is the second state in the United States to adopt a producer responsibility policy for packaging. The new law requires establishing a single list of materials that can be recycled anywhere in Oregon, regardless of whether it is an urban or rural community. This will reduce consumer confusion about what can and can’t be placed in the recycling bin.
Facilities that process recyclable materials will be required to meet new performance standards, including improved material quality, more detailed reporting about where recyclables go, and paying living wages to facility workers. These processing facilities must send the sorted materials to end markets that can handle the material appropriately – without creating plastic pollution or other social harms. Producers will be obligated to help make sure materials collected in Oregon reach these responsible end markets.
The new law also creates a Governor-appointed advisory council that will review producer program plans, the statewide collection list and educational resources.
The law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2022. Program changes begin in July 2025 or later.
Pesticide Smuggler Sentenced to Jail, Ordered to Pay $10,000
Mark Lee Morgan of Santa Ana, California, was sentenced in federal court Friday to 14 days in custody and ordered to pay a fine of $10,000 plus restitution of $1,360 for the cost of disposal of the pesticides, and to perform 120 hours of community service.
In pleading guilty, Morgan admitted that on November 19, 2020, he entered the United States from Mexico with 34 bottles of undeclared Mexican pesticides in his truck (DDVP 500U, containing the active ingredient of dichlorvos). Morgan owns a feed store in Compton, California, and admitted to agents that he intended to take the products to his store to sell them. Morgan further admitted that he was aware that the pesticide he was smuggling was illegal to import and use in the United States, and that he had smuggled it in on previous occasions.
The pesticide in the formulation smuggled by the defendant is illegal in the United States. Dichlorvos is lethal if ingested, absorbed through the skin, or inhaled. It is highly toxic to bees and birds, acutely toxic to fish and aquatic invertebrates, and can have chronic and long-lasting effects.
According to sentencing documents, DDVP 500U, the chemical smuggled by the defendant, is commonly found at locations where marijuana is illegally cultivated. Exposure to these pesticides during eradication efforts has caused law enforcement officers to be hospitalized and has polluted soils and streams and killed wildlife. Cannabis users are also at risk. In one study, the pesticide transfer rate into the blood stream of a cannabis smoker using a glass pipe was as high at 70 percent.
“The defendant was willing to risk the health of others and the environment for his own commercial profit,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to keeping these dangerous chemicals out of the wrong hands.”
“These pesticides seized at our border are highly toxic and anyone attempting to smuggle them into the United States is not only committing a very serious crime, but also jeopardizing the health of those who are exposed to it,” said Cardell T. Morant, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) San Diego. “HSI and our law enforcement partners will continue to work together to prevent smugglers from illegally importing dangerous substances into this country.”
“The defendant’s efforts to deceive law enforcement by smuggling these pesticides into the United States put people at risk” said Scot Adair, Special Agent in Charge of the EPA’s criminal enforcement program in California. “U.S. EPA and its partner agencies will continue to fight against illegal imports of pesticides that pose a threat to human health and the environment.”
$140,000 From ETC Northeast Field Services, LLC Fined $140,000 for Stormwater Violations
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced that it has executed a consent order and agreement
(COA) with ETC Northeast Field Services, LLC (ETC) for violations that occurred in 2019 and 2020 during construction of the owner/operator’s B15 Well Connect Pipeline construction project located in Economy Borough and New Sewickley Township, Beaver County. DEP assessed and collected a $140,000 civil penalty, and the company has agreed to corrective actions.
In response to a complaint, DEP investigated the pipeline site on July 15, 2019 and observed that an approximately 30-foot slide had previously occurred within the limit of earth disturbance outlined in the permit, the slide was not reported to DEP, and the pipeline right-of-way was not marked with flags. DEP also observed that a separate section of the project exhibited accelerated erosion and sedimentation.
DEP responded to another complaint on March 23, 2020 to find that stormwater discharged from the project site, flowed downslope through a wooded area, and flowed onto private property and a public road. The stormwater came from an area of the project where a waterbar was incorrectly installed and near where a waterbar dictated in the permit was not constructed.
As of April 10, 2020, sections of the pipeline project were not temporarily stabilized, areas of the site showed accelerated erosion and sedimentation, waterbars were not installed properly or not installed in the approved locations, and erosion and sedimentation best management practices (BMP) were inoperable or ineffective. ETC also did not report BMP failures to DEP as required by permit conditions. DEP found four wetlands not identified in the permit applications that may have been present during and impacted by pipeline construction without proper permitting. Again, the pipeline right of way was not flagged in certain locations. In addition, sediment laden water from unstabilized sections of the project flowed outside the permitted limit of disturbance and into an unnamed tributary of Crows Run.
Overall, DEP inspectors documented numerous violations, including failing to maintain and implement effective erosion and sedimentation control BMPs, implement and maintain permanent stabilization of the pipeline project, notify DEP of inoperable or ineffective BMPs as required by permit conditions, obtain proper permitting or modifications, describe the location of all surface waters within the project site on the permitted plans that could have received runoff, and maintain highly visible flagging or signage of the shared boundaries of the project with wetlands and locations of threatened or endangered species habitat, and for discharging sediment laden water to waters of the commonwealth.
DEP issued a field order to ETC on April 20, 2020 that required ETC to temporarily stabilize the site and develop a plan to properly manage excess stormwater being generated by construction. ETC stabilized the slide and submitted a remedial action plan and corrective action plan to address erosion and sedimentation issues and BMPs. On May 11, 2020, ETC submitted a permit application for permanent and temporary impacts to a what appeared to be a newly formed wetland identified during remedial action investigations associated with slope repair activities.
The COA requires ETC to take corrective actions and imposes timeframes for ETC to submit necessary applications for all earth disturbance or authorizations necessary for the operator to implement the remedial action plan, begin work to achieve compliance, and submit progress reports to DEP.
ETC has paid a $140,000 civil penalty into the Oil and Gas Program Fund. ETC Northeast Field Services is a subsidiary of Energy Transfer LP.
Safeway Inc. Cited After Employee Suffers Amputations at Milk Packaging Plant
A worker at a Denver milk packaging plant operated by Safeway Inc. lost four fingers while operating a molding machine that lacked required safeguards. OSHA investigated the Feb. 12 incident and cited the U.S. supermarket chain for two willful and five serious violations and one other than serious violation for:
- Failing to implement procedures for the control of hazardous energy, including failing to develop and implement lockout/tagout procedures to prevent machines from operating unintentionally.
- Inadequate machine guarding.
- Inadequate numbers of locks to perform lockout/tagout and inadequate lockout/tagout training.
- Oil leaks on the floor exposing workers to slip and trip hazards.
OSHA proposed $339,379 in penalties.
“Safeway Inc. knew its equipment lacked safeguards, yet the company chose to let work continue without regard to workers’ safety,” said OSHA Area Director Amanda Kupper in Denver. “This indifference caused a worker to suffer a serious and permanent injury.”
Safeway operates under the banner of Albertsons Companies, which has stores across 35 states and the District of Columbia under 20 recognized company names.
Topflight Grain Cooperative Faces $303K In Fines, 4 Citations for Grain-Handling Violations
A central Illinois grain-handling cooperative exposed workers to serious engulfment hazards when soybeans collapsed inside a Pierson Station bin and engulfed an employee up to their waist.
An OSHA investigation at Topflight Grain Cooperative Inc. found that two workers were clearing the bin of crops and debris when the Feb. 19, 2021, incident occurred. OSHA proposed $303,510 in penalties after identifying three willful, one serious, and one other-than-serious safety citations
OSHA found the farmer-owned cooperative violated grain-handling safety standards
. The agency issued willful citations for allowing workers to enter the bin without first locking out or de-energizing hazardous equipment, failing to post an attendant outside the bin to respond in case of emergency and allowing employees to enter a grain bin when there was 10-15 feet of grain build-up on the sides of the bin. OSHA also issued a serious citation for directing employees to work on top of railcars without fall protection and one other-than-serious citation for failing to test oxygen levels in a grain bin before directing employees to work inside the bin.
“Six in 10 grain engulfments result in the death of a worker but, like the incident at Topflight Grain Cooperative, they are entirely avoidable,” said OSHA Area Director Barry Salerno in Peoria, Illinois. “OSHA works diligently with the grain and feed industry to enhance education and safety, but employers must follow industry recognized standards to protect their workers.”
Monticello, Illinois-based Topflight Grain Cooperative Inc. operates 19 facilities that process 40 million bushels of grain annually in seven central Illinois counties.
$60,000 Penalty for Gasoline Spill
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) announced it has penalized the P.J. Murphy Transportation company more than $60,000 for a release of an estimated 10,000 gallons of gasoline and 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel on April 17, 2020. The company was fined $8,625 by MassDEP and must also pay $52,746 to an environmental trust for damages that impacted nearby wetland resource areas after the release at the Brown Circle Rotary in Revere entered a storm drain and discharged into Rumney Marsh, Diamond Creek and the Pines River. P.J. Murphy's payment for the environmental restoration work will be made to the state's Natural Resource Damages Trust.
“The law in Massachusetts pertaining to the releases of oil and or hazardous materials is quite clear that those who are responsible for spills of this magnitude, should be the first ones to bear the cost it will take to clean it up,” said Eric Worrall, Director of MassDEP's Northeast Regional Office in Wilmington.
The release of gasoline and diesel fuel from the overturned tanker truck owned by P.J. Murphy migrated through the storm system via the Ward Street Outfall downstream into the impacted resource areas. MassDEP estimated that an area larger than 15 acres had been impacted by the release, causing injury to the aquatic ecosystem existing in the surface water, shoreline, and various plants and animal habitat in the area.
In addition to the penalty and the payment to the Natural Resources Damages Trust, P.J. Murphy, which is a freight shipping and trucking company based in Methuen, also is responsible for completing the cleanup of the spill under state regulations.
$1 Million Settlement for Oil Spill and SPCC Violations
EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Noble Energy, Inc., Noble Midstream Partners LP, and Noble Midstream Services, LLC (collectively, Noble) have agreed to pay $1 million and implement enhanced containment measures and electronic sensors at tank batteries operating in Colorado floodplains. The agreement, lodged as a proposed consent decree
with the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, resolves Clean Water Act claims at two oil and gas production facilities in Weld County, Colorado.
The United States concurrently filed a civil complaint with the proposed consent decree detailing alleged violations of the Clean Water Act at the facilities. These violations include a 2014 unauthorized discharge of oil from the State M36 Facility into the Poudre River and noncompliance with regulations issued to prevent and respond to oil spills at the State M36 Facility and the Wells Ranch Facility.
“EPA will continue to make sure facilities like the State M36 and Wells Ranch Facilities comply with the federal requirements that safeguard our communities and our rivers and streams,” said Suzanne Bohan, director of EPA Region 8’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division. “This agreement will help prevent future oil discharges to Colorado’s waters by requiring Noble to invest in improved spill containment and response measures at all tank battery sites operating in floodplains.”
The settlement requires installation of steel oil-spill containment berms and remote monitoring sensors, as well as tank anchoring at all of Noble’s active tank batteries in Colorado floodplains. Noble Midstream must also implement and provide periodic reports on a facility response training, drills, and exercises program at the Wells Ranch facility. The $1 million penalty will be deposited into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, a fund used by federal agencies to respond to discharges of oil and hazardous substances.
The State M36 Facility is located in a 100-year floodplain approximately 400 feet from the Poudre River. At some time between May 24, 2014, and June 20, 2014, high flows on the Poudre River flooded the State M36 Facility, breaking a valve on a 300-barrel storage tank and discharging approximately 173 barrels (7,266 gallons) of condensate and produced water into the Poudre River and its adjoining shorelines. Noble Energy remediated the impacted environment following the spill and decommissioned the tank battery in April 2019. During its investigation of the State M36 spill, EPA found deficiencies in Noble Energy’s Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC
) Plan, which Noble Energy has since corrected.
EPA inspected the Wells Ranch Facility on two occasions and found its Facility Response Plan (FRP) and SPCC Plan did not meet the regulatory requirements. EPA also conducted two unannounced oil spill response exercises, which Noble Midstream was unable to complete. Noble Midstream has since remedied the SPCC and FRP deficiencies by purchasing additional response equipment, conducting employee training, submitting a revised SPCC Plan, and submitting a revised FRP. Noble Midstream also demonstrated its ability to properly conduct an oil spill response drill and exercise.
The Oil Pollution Prevention requirements of the Clean Water Act are intended to prevent discharges of oil and facilitate responses if discharges occur. All facilities with 1,320 gallons of oil that have the potential for a spill to reach waters of the United States are required to have SPCC Plans. Facilities with storage capacity of one million gallons or more and with the potential to impact fish, wildlife and sensitive environments are also required to meet FRP requirements. The Oil Pollution Prevention requirements of the Clean Water Act are administered by the EPA and the Coast Guard and cannot be delegated to the states.
Cargill Cited for EPCRA Chemical Reporting Violations
EPA recently finalized a settlement with Cargill, Inc., a Minnesota based company with a facility in Vermont that produces animal feed, for alleged violations of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA
) Toxic Release Inventory (TRI
Cargill, Inc. agreed to pay a penalty of $40,294 for allegedly failing to timely file TRI reports for zinc and manganese compounds processed at its plant in Swanton, Vermont.
"To inform the public and protect communities, EPA requires companies and organizations that manufacture, process, or otherwise use certain chemicals to report this information publicly every year. This reporting is an important part of ensuring that local communities have access to information about the presence of chemicals in their area," said EPA New England Acting Regional Administrator Deborah Szaro.
Under federal TRI regulations, companies that use certain listed chemicals must report
their chemical usage each year to EPA. This information serves as the basis for the Toxic Release Inventory, which is a collection of data that can be reviewed by communities, government, and industry. Because the information is available to the public, companies have an incentive to reduce harmful chemical use and improve their environmental performance. TRI reporting informs surrounding communities about a facility's toxic chemicals that could potentially harm public health and the environment.
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
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Job Openings at Environmental Resource Center
Environmental Resource Center has openings for EHS consultants and trainers. If you are looking for a new challenge, send your resume and salary requirements to Brian Karnofsky at email@example.com