State by State COVID-19 Requirements and Response

March 23, 2020
State governments have been issuing mandatory or recommended business & public space closures, school closures, stay at home and shelter in place orders, as well as issuing resources for getting tested, treated, and receiving financial aid.  Some states have issued emergency orders applicable to businesses and the public. Many states offer email newsletters that can help you keep up-to-date with the latest local requirements and resources.
To find the latest information for your state, click on its link below:
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 March or April, in many cases, the seminar will be held at the same date and time via online webcast. We will contact you by phone or email regarding the details of 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 with 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.
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:
Hazardous Waste Management: Annual Update – March 31, April 14, April 28, May 26
DOT Hazardous Materials Update – April 1, April 15, April 29, May 27
Temporary Enforcement Guidance Issued by OSHA for Respirator Fit-Testing in Healthcare During COVID-19 Outbreak
Following the President’s memorandum on the availability of respirators during the COVID-19 outbreak, OSHA has issued new temporary guidance regarding the enforcement of OSHA’s Respiratory Protection standard. This guidance is aimed at ensuring healthcare workers have full access to needed N95 respiratory protection in light of anticipated shortages.
“The safety and health of Americans are top priorities for the President. That’s why the Administration is taking this action to protect America’s healthcare workers,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia. “Today’s guidance ensures that healthcare workers have the resources they need to stay safe during the COVID-19 outbreak.”
“America’s healthcare workers need appropriate respiratory protection as they help combat the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt. “Today’s guidance outlines commonsense measures that will keep personal respiratory devices available for our country’s healthcare workers.”
OSHA recommends that employers supply healthcare personnel who provide direct care to patients with known or suspected coronavirus with other respirators that provide equal or higher protection, such as N99 or N100 filtering facepieces, reusable elastomeric respirators with appropriate filters or cartridges, or powered air purifying respirators.
This temporary enforcement guidance recommends that healthcare employers change from a quantitative fit testing method to a qualitative testing method to preserve integrity of N95 respirators. Additionally, OSHA field offices have the discretion to not cite an employer for violations of the annual fit testing requirement as long as employers:
  • Make a good faith effort to comply with the respiratory protection standard;
  • Use only NIOSH-certified respirators;
  • Implement strategies recommended by OSHA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for optimizing and prioritizing N95 respirators;
  • Perform initial fit tests for each healthcare employee with the same model, style, and size respirator that the employee will be required to wear for protection from coronavirus;
  • Tell employees that the employer is temporarily suspending the annual fit testing of N95 respirators to preserve the supply for use in situations where they are required to be worn;
  • Explain to employees the importance of conducting a fit check after putting on the respirator to make sure they are getting an adequate seal;
  • Conduct a fit test if they observe visual changes in an employee’s physical condition that could affect respirator fit; and
  • Remind employees to notify management if the integrity or fit of their N95 respirator is compromised.
The temporary enforcement guidance went into effect beginning March 14, 2020, and will remain in effect until further notice.
Public Advised to Not Flush Disinfecting Wipes Down Toilet
With new reports of damaged pump stations and overwhelmed screening facilities wastewater collection and treatment systems, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is once again urging all Rhode Islanders to refrain from flushing disinfectant wipes – including those labeled "flushable" – and instead, to dispose of them in the trash. DEM is also asking retailers to post signs alerting customers to not flush various wipes, even if the product is labeled as "flushable."
"Proper functioning of our wastewater treatment system is critical to protecting public health by preventing viruses and bacteria from getting into your homes, onto roadways and into our waterways," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "Among the other protective measures needed at this time, Rhode Islanders need to be vigilant about what they do and don't flush!"
The Town of Narragansett, RI reported a failure of two pumps at one of the town's sewer pumping stations. The damage resulted from a buildup of wipes clogging the inner core of both pumps. While the swift action of town wastewater staff prevented a release of sewage to the environment, the cost of responding to the failure, setting up temporary bypass systems, and eventual repairs is estimated at $7,300. Wastewater crews in the Town of Burrillville reported similar buildups of wipes in their collection systems.
Wastewater treatment facilities in California have also reported issues with their sewer management collection systems. These facilities are asking state residents to not discard wipes in the toilet, but instead to throw them in the trash to avoid backups and overflow. A majority of urban centers are on centralized sewage collection systems depend on gravity and enough water flow to move along human waste and biodegrable toilet paper. The systems were not designed for individual nylon wipes and paper towels. The wipes and paper towels do not break down like toilet paper, and therefore clog systems very quickly.
Whether your home or business is connected to the public sewer system or has an onsite wastewater treatment system, you should never flush any type of wipes, including baby wipes and those labeled flushable, down the toilet. Instead, you should place these products in the trash for proper disposal.
In addition to causing clogs and wastewater collection system overflows, flushing wipes can also lead to sewer back-ups in basements and damage wastewater treatment equipment. Although some of these products may be labeled as flushable, most wipes are made with fine plastic mesh that does not break down in water as toilet paper does.
At a time when we're washing our hands and wiping down surfaces more frequently, the Rhode Island DEM is strongly urging citizens and businesses to do their part and help avoid sewer system damage and overflows by disposing of these wipes in the trash rather than flushing them away.
According to the Water Environment Association, the following items should NEVER be flushed: - Baby wipes and diapers - Rags and towels - Cotton swabs - Syringes - Candy and other food wrappers - Clothing labels - Cleaning sponges - Toys - Plastic items of any kind - Aquarium gravel or kitty litter - Rubber items such as latex gloves - Cigarette butts - Sanitary napkins - Hair - Underwear - Disposable toilet brushes.
Insurers Wave Co-Pays for COVID-19 in Oregon
Several insurance companies have entered into an agreement with the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation to waive copays for certain COVID-19 related expenses.  The agreement means consumers with fully-insured individual and group health plans will not be charged co-payments, co-insurance, or deductibles related to COVID-19 for:
  • COVID-19 laboratory testing administered consistent with guidelines issued by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • An in-network provider office visit or a visit to an in-network urgent care center to be tested for COVID-19.
  • An emergency room visit to be tested for COVID-19.
  • Immunization for COVID-19, once it becomes available.
Outside of these instances, regular terms of insurance such as co-payments, co-insurance, and deductibles will still apply.
Rule Hearings Canceled by Oregon OSHA Due to Coronavirus
Following state restrictions and federal recommendations on gatherings in light of the coronavirus outbreak, Oregon OSHA has canceled a series of statewide public hearings – including March 26-27 in Bend – involving proposed rules concerning job safety and health.
The decision affects hearings on three proposed rules: clarification of employer responsibilities; a reduction in the permissible exposure limit for manganese compounds and fume; and an increase of certain minimum and maximum penalties for alleged violations.
To ensure the public has time to give input on the proposals, Oregon OSHA will reschedule hearings for the employer responsibility and penalties rule proposals. The division will also extend the public comment period to at least two weeks after the last rescheduled hearings.
Those public hearings will be rescheduled in the same cities as previously slated, in August or September 2020. Once the rescheduling is completed, hearing dates, times, and the new comment period ending date will be posted on the division’s website.
Notices will also be sent to people who have signed up for the division’s email list about rule updates. You may sign up by visiting and scrolling down to “Get email notifications.”
Meanwhile, the March 26 manganese hearing in Bend – which is canceled – will not be rescheduled. However, the comment period for that rule proposal – which received public hearings in February and early March – will remain open until May 4, 2020.
Details are as follows:
Employer responsibilities
Canceled public hearings: 
March 26 (Oregon OSHA Bend field office);
March 30 (Cook Memorial Library, La Grande);
April 15 (Eugene Public Library); 
April 24 (Oregon OSHA Portland field office); 
May 7 (Coos Bay Public Library); 
May 14 (Medford Public Library).
Work to reschedule public hearings is under way.
Get a copy of the proposed rule (link here) or call 503-947-7449.
To comment by mail: 
Department of Consumer and Business Services/Oregon OSHA 
P.O. Box 14480
Salem, OR 97309
Email –
Fax – 503-947-7461
Canceled public hearings:
March 26 (Oregon OSHA Bend field office).
Comment period remains open until May 4.
Get a copy of the proposed rule (link here) or call 503-947-7449.
To comment by mail: 
Department of Consumer and Business Services/Oregon OSHA
P.O. Box 14480
Salem, OR 97309
Email –
Fax – 503-947-7461
Minimum/maximum penalties
Cancelled public hearings: 
March 27 (Oregon OSHA Bend field office); 
April 13 (Oregon OSHA Portland field office).
Work to reschedule public hearings is under way.
Get a copy of the proposed rule (link here) or call 503-947-7449.
To comment by mail: 
Department of Consumer and Business Services/Oregon OSHA
P.O. Box 14480
Salem, OR 97309
Fax – 503-947-7461
Federal Plan SIP Replaced by Arkansas Plan to Address Emissions of Visibility Impairing Pollutants
EPA has proposed to approve a revision to the Arkansas state implementation plan (SIP) and withdraw a federal implementation plan. The SIP revisions that EPA proposes to approve address regional haze rule requirements for Ashdown Mill, a pulp and paper mill owned by Domtar LLC., and Clean Air Act 110 requirements for prevention of interstate transport of visibility impairing pollutants.
A copy of EPA’s proposal can be found at:
Connecticut and Massachusetts Temporarily Halt Enforcement of Bottle Redemption Requirements
The Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection have temporarily suspended enforcement actions against retailers for failing to accept empty beverage containers for redemption.  During this time, if stores do not accept empty beverage containers, the agencies will not issue them a notice of violation.
Supermarkets and grocers are focused on keeping the shelves stocked for their customers during a time of increased demand, engaging in enhanced cleaning measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and may face worker shortages as they strive to keep their employees and their families safe much like other businesses and institutions during this challenging time.
The agencies understand that managing on-site redemption and collection areas is proving difficult for some supermarkets and grocers. Providing the option on an interim basis to allow stores to suspend their redemption activities will provide stores with greater flexibility to more effectively maintain and manage their store environment with a focus on product supply.
The temporary action will be in place through March 31, 2020 in Connecticut, subject to possible extension in consultation with public health officials, and until further notice in Massachusetts. At the present time, most independent bottle bill redemption centers in Connecticut are continuing to redeem deposit containers, and some retail stores may choose to do so as well.  DEEP maintains a list of redemption centers in Connecticut on its website.
It is recommended that residents check with a redemption location before heading there with a collection of containers to redeem.
DEEP is asking for the cooperation of all residents for the duration of this temporary action. DEEP will continue to monitor the effects of this action on Connecticut communities and the impact on the retail industry.  Note that all deposit containers will continue to retain their redemption value though this temporary period, and consumers may choose to safely store bottles and cans until full redemption services resume. 
In addition, DEEP has consulted with epidemiology and occupational exposure experts at the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH), as well as with OSHA guidance.  From an occupational health standpoint in general, it is recommended that anyone working to collect bottles at a redemption facility wear nitrile gloves when in the process redeeming deposit containers, due to things like norovirus and other viruses and bacteria that could survive on surfaces for an extended period of time.  Such PPE is expected to be equally protective against COVID-19.  If the employer is not able to provide that PPE to their employees for any reason, DPH would advise them to cease those redemption operations until adequate PPE was available.  For additional information on this topic, please refer to this OSHA webpage.
Shipping Company Fined $1.65 Million for Concealing Illegal Discharges of Oily Water
Unix Line PTE Ltd., a Singapore-based shipping company, was sentenced Friday in federal court before U.S. District Court Judge Jon S. Tigar in Oakland, California, after previously pleading guilty to a violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships.  Unix Line PTE Ltd. was sentenced to pay a fine of $1,650,000.00, placed on probation for a period of four years, and ordered to implement a comprehensive Environmental Compliance Plan as a special condition of probation.
In pleading guilty, Unix Line admitted that its crew members onboard the Zao Galaxy, a 16,408 gross-ton, ocean-going motor tanker, knowingly failed to record in the vessel’s oil record book the overboard discharge of oily bilge water without the use of required pollution-prevention equipment, during the vessel’s voyage from the Philippines to Richmond, California.
“Deliberately concealing illegal discharges of oil waste into our oceans is a federal crime we will not tolerate,” said Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.  “This sentencing shows that polluting our oceans and misleading the Coast Guard will cost you.”
“The defendant’s crew members intentionally discharged oily bilge waste into the ocean on their voyage to California,” said U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson of the Northern District of California.  “Our district includes hundreds of miles of the beautiful Pacific coast, stretching from Monterey to Del Norte County.  We will do our part to protect those natural resources and hold companies responsible when they fail to follow federal and international laws designed to protect our oceans from pollution.”
“The Coast Guard Investigative Service will continue to make criminal investigations that deter maritime organizations from breaking international and U.S. law designed to protect our finite natural marine resources a priority,” said Kelly Hoyle, Special Agent in Charge Pacific Region of the Coast Guard Investigative Service.
On Oct. 24, 2019, Unix Line was indicted by a federal Grand Jury of obstruction of justice and a violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships.  Under the plea agreement, Unix Line pled guilty to one count of a violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships.
According to the plea agreement, Unix Line is the operator of the Zao Galaxy, which set sail from the Philippines on Jan. 21, 2019, heading toward Richmond, California, carrying a cargo of palm oil.  On Feb. 11, 2019, the Zao Galaxy arrived in Richmond, where it underwent a U.S. Coast Guard inspection and examination.  Examiners discovered that during the voyage, a Unix Line-affiliated ship officer directed crew members to discharge oily bilge water overboard, using a configuration of drums, flexible pipes, and flanges to bypass the vessel’s oil water separator.  The discharges were knowingly not recorded in the Zao Galaxy’s oil record book when it was presented to the U.S. Coast Guard during the vessel’s inspection.
Senior Trial Attorney Kenneth Nelson of the Environmental Crimes Section, with the assistance of Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine Lloyd-Lovett, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Briggs, Kay Konopaske and Katie Turner, of the Northern District of California, are prosecuting the case.  The prosecution is the result of a year-long investigation by the Coast Guard Investigative Service and the Investigations Division of Coast Guard Sector San Francisco.
Real Estate Developer Sentenced for Illegally Removing Asbestos from Former Westinghouse Facility
A resident of Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, was sentenced in federal court for violating the Clean Air Act, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.
United States District Judge Joy Flowers Conti sentenced Vikas Jain, 48, to one month of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release that will include nine months of home detention.
In connection with the defendant’s guilty plea and sentencing, the Court was advised that the defendant controlled various business entities focusing primarily on residential and commercial real estate development and management. In approximately May 2012, the defendant, through one such entity, purchased the George Westinghouse Research and Technology Park (the Westinghouse Facility), a multi-building commercial and industrial complex located on approximately 150 acres in Churchill, Pennsylvania. The Westinghouse Facility was built between approximately the 1950s and 1970s, and it comprised over one million square feet of testing, laboratory, and office space across more than a dozen buildings. As the defendant acknowledged, he sought to redevelop the Westinghouse Facility and surrounding property for commercial and residential mixed-use purposes.
The defendant further admitted that, prior to completing the purchase of the Westinghouse Facility, he obtained the results of an earlier environmental assessment of the property, which identified the presence of asbestos-containing materials (ACM) in, among other substances, floor tile and pipe insulation located throughout the complex. Between approximately May 2012 and February 2017, the defendant, through entities he controlled, leased space at the Westinghouse Facility to third-party tenants, including television production companies. For the most part, however, the Westinghouse Facility remained unused and unoccupied.
In connection with one licensing agreement in approximately 2015, the defendant obtained two asbestos-abatement permits from the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) allowing for the proper removal of ACM in portions of two of the buildings at the Westinghouse Facility. The removal was completed by a licensed abatement contractor. Later, in early 2017, the defendant, through a contractor working on the redevelopment project, obtained a proposal from a different licensed abatement entity to inspect another building that the defendant intended to demolish. The proposal was never consummated.
Rather, as the defendant admitted, beginning no later than approximately February 1, 2017, and continuing until February 28, 2017, he directed various workers to remove previously unabated ACM from two buildings at the Westinghouse Facility, including large quantities of ACM floor tiles, mastic, and pipe insulation. The defendant further directed a worker to rent floor grinders, which the workers then used to remove and pulverize ACM floor tiles and mastic. The defendant did not apply for or obtain an ACHD permit for the abatement activity, and workers conducted the removal of ACM without proper protective clothing or adequate respirators. Once removed, ACM debris was placed in black trash bags and taken by workers via a pick-up truck to a dumpster located outside of one of the defendant’s residential rental properties. As the defendant admitted, the contents of the dumpster, including trash bags containing ACM, were subsequently taken to a local landfill that was not qualified to receive asbestos-contaminated waste.
Finally, the defendant admitted that, after local Churchill authorities and ACHD investigators learned of the illegal asbestos abatement, he took steps to conceal the nature and extent of the removal activity, including by causing grinders to be removed from the Westinghouse Facility, cleaned, and, as to two grinders, returned to the equipment rental company prior to inspection by ACHD. At no time did the defendant inform ACHD that the grinders he presented for subsequent inspection had been cleaned of ACM or otherwise were not the same ones that had been used in the Westinghouse Facility.
Groups File Lawsuit Against Frontier Logistics over Plastic Pollution
After submitting the required notices, and without a satisfactory response from Frontier Logistics, SELC has filed a federal lawsuit against the plastic-pellet packager and shipper asserting that the company is responsible for ongoing pollution of the Charleston Harbor and other connected waters.
The suit was filed on behalf of the Charleston Waterkeeper and the Coastal Conservation League. The organizations are pursing federal remedies under the Clean Water Act and the Resources Conservation and Recovery Act for the discharges of plastic pellets into the Cooper River from the company’s operations at Union Pier.
SELC, the Waterkeeper, and the League made the decision to pursue this action because, as the lawsuit lays out, neither Frontier nor any enforcement agency has taken effective steps to end the pollution.
The Waterkeeper has conducted sampling since July of 2019, and has collected more than 14,000 pellets in area waters, with the highest concentrations consistently found closest to the Frontier facility. Large numbers of pellets remain in Charleston waters seven months after Frontier was first identified as the likely source of this pollution. A delay in taking legal action would also mean a delay in ending the pollution.
“We recognize there is considerable and warranted focus on the health crisis in South Carolina and elsewhere,” said Andrew Wunderley, the Charleston Waterkeeper. “At the same time, this unabated pollution of our waterways is a danger to the health of our rivers, marshes and wildlife. We had hoped Frontier Logistics would have taken the appropriate steps to remedy these violations; however, the company continues to deny responsibility. That, unfortunately, has left us no other avenue to pursue.
The case filed in Charleston Federal Court is Charleston Waterkeeper, South Carolina Coastal Conservation League v. Frontier Logistics L.P.
Property Renovator Sentenced for Violating the Toxic Substances Control Act
Mohammad Sikder was sentenced to 60 days’ incarceration, two years of supervised release, a $50,000 fine and 300 hours of community service for violating the Toxic Substances Control Act in the course of renovating a Washington, D.C., property without following lead-safe work practices and lead disclosure requirements.
Sikder, 60, had previously pled guilty to the offenses on June 20, 2019. Sikder’s solely held company, District Properties LLC, also pled guilty to making false statements, at Sikder’s direction, in 25 building permit applications to the District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA). These applications understated the age of the homes being renovated, with the intent to avoid regulatory scrutiny of inadequate lead-based paint safety measures at those properties. Judge Jackson sentenced District Properties LLC to a $150,000 fine and two years’ probation with special condition of funding 3 lead-paint awareness seminars for real estate developers and contractors.
“Skirting laws that govern the use of toxic substances puts the public’s health at risk, and doing so will get you investigated and prosecuted,” said Jeffrey Bossert Clark, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division. “Lead-safe work practices and disclosure requirements provide essential protections from lead exposure, and this case shows that business owners and individuals who violate them will get jail time and pay a substantial penalty.”
“The defendant is being held accountable for providing false information on the permit application concerning the age of the building and using untrained workers to remove lead paint from the property,” said Jennifer Lynn, Special Agent in Charge of EPA’s criminal enforcement program in the District of Columbia. “Today’s sentencing sends a clear signal that EPA and its law enforcement partners are committed to enforcing environmental laws that protect the health and safety of our communities.”
In 2018, the EPA, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) launched the Trump Administration’s Federal Lead Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures and Associated Health Impacts. EPA and the Justice Department are working together to investigate and prosecute those who violate lead-safe work practices and lead disclosure requirements under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
Lead poisoning continues to be a major environmental health problem in the United States, although it is completely preventable. The most common source of childhood lead poisoning is lead-based paint in older homes, and the primary exposure pathway is ingestion of lead-contaminated dust. Lead is a toxic substance that can cause permanent damage and is regulated under the Toxic Substances Control Act. Under the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP Rule), contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, childcare facilities, and schools built before 1978 must be certified and must follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.
According to a statement of offense filed along with the plea agreements, Sikder and District Properties LLC purchased and renovated a property in Washington, D.C., without following the requirements of the RRP Rule. In 2014, the company submitted a building permit application to DCRA for addition, alteration, and repair of the property. At Sikder’s instruction, the employee submitting the permit application, under the section of the application titled “Lead Abatement,” falsely indicated that the property was built after 1978. Dur- ing the summer and fall of 2014, a contractor conducted demolition at the property without following RRP Rule safe work practices. The demolition work included removing windows, removing interior and exterior painted surfaces, and removing floor and ceiling joists.
A Sept. 24, 2015, OSHA inspection revealed multiple hazards, including employees performing manual demolition on a wall surface that had paint containing lead; the lack of an employee exposure assessment to determine actual employee exposure; the lack of lead training to employees; and proper sanitation practices not being followed. Sampling analysis showed lead present on the dump truck and employees’ hands. When the property was properly remediated and sold, Sikder and District Properties LLC did not provide the purchasers with this information and with a report documenting the prior existence of lead-based paint at the property.
Between 2011 and 2017, District Properties LLC submitted 25 renovation permit applications for properties in Washington, D.C., on which the company falsely represented that the properties had been built after 1978, thereby circumventing additional permitting requirements and avoiding EPA oversight with respect to RRP Rule compliance, which would be triggered by an accurate permit application.
The investigation was handled by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, in partnership with the Metropolitan Police Department Environmental Crimes Unit. The case is being prosecuted by DOJ.
PHMSA Stay of Enforcement Issued for Pipeline Operators Due to COVID-19 Outbreak
The Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is continuing to monitor the effects the COVID-19 outbreak is having on the nation’s pipeline operations.  As a result, the PHMSA's Pipeline Safety Program issued a Stay of Enforcement to state pipeline safety program managers, pipeline operators, and operators of gas storage and liquefied natural gas facilities. The document explains that the agency will temporarily halt its enforcement of compliance with operator qualification, control room management, and employment drug testing requirements, but does not relieve operators of their safety responsibility to use trained, non-impaired workers to perform operation and maintenance tasks.  The document also encourages state pipeline safety partners to consider suspending certain enforcement efforts for noncompliance in the interest of prompt and efficient pipeline safety activities related to the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Illinois Manufacturer Cited for Exposing Employees to Machine Hazards
OSHA has cited Monahan Filaments LLC – based in Arcola, Illinois – for violations of OSHA's machine safety standards after an employee suffered severe injuries. The manufacturer of synthetic filaments for brushes and brooms faces $258, 271 in penalties. OSHA placed the company in the agency's Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
OSHA received an employer-reported referral from Monahan Filaments after moving machine parts caused fractures and third degree burns to an employee's hand on Sept. 20, 2019, during production line set-up.
Following the inspection, OSHA cited the company for two willful violations for failure to control hazardous energy sources, and inadequate machine guarding on rotating parts and ingoing nip points. OSHA also cited the company for a repeat violation for not training employees to perform energy control procedures during set-up operations.
"Injuries from machine hazards are preventable when machine guarding and lockout /tagout standards are followed," said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt. "OSHA has resources available to help employers and workers understand requirements for properly safeguarding equipment."
OSHA's machine guarding and control of hazardous energy webpages provide information on what employers must do to limit worker exposures to machine hazards. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission
EPA Is Looking for Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals Nominations
EPA is seeking nominations of candidates for the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC). Nominations are due no later than April 20, 2020. The SACC is a federal advisory committee that provides independent advice and expert consultation, at the request of the EPA Administrator, with respect to the scientific and technical aspects of issues relating to implementation of TSCA.
“EPA is committed to ensuring that the science underlying all of our actions is of the highest quality,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Alexandra Dapolito Dunn. “EPA is looking forward to reviewing the nominations for experts to serve on the Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals so that we can continue to advance chemical safety for our families and our future in an open and transparent manner.”
The agency is seeking nominations for individuals who have demonstrated high levels of expertise in scientific/technical fields relevant to chemical safety and risk assessment including, but not limited to: human health and ecological risk assessment, biostatistics, epidemiology, pediatrics, physiologically-based pharmacokinetics, toxicology and pathology, and the relationship of chemical exposures to women, children, and other potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulations.
In addition, nominees should have backgrounds and experiences that would contribute to the diversity of scientific viewpoints on the committee, including professional experiences in government, labor, public health, public interest, animal protection, industry, and other groups, as the EPA Administrator determines to be advisable (e.g., geographical location; social and cultural backgrounds; and professional affiliations).
The SACC expects to meet approximately four to six times per year, or as needed and approved by the Designated Federal Officer. Meetings will be held in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. Members of the SACC serve with compensation and may receive travel and per diem allowances where appropriate and in accordance with Federal Travel Regulations.
Any interested person or organization may nominate qualified persons to be considered for appointment to the SACC. Individuals also may self-nominate. Further details of information to be included in a nomination are provided in the March 20, 2020, Federal Register Notice. The preferred method for submitting nominations is via email to
ASARCO’s Arizona Copper Smelter Fined $33,000 for Failing to Comply with EPA Settlement
EPA received $33,000 in stipulated penalties from ASARCO LLC for not complying with a fugitive dust plan central to a 2015 settlement for violations of the federal Clean Air Act. The dust plan is designed to address the release of lead, coarse dust, and other hazardous air pollutants at ASARCO’s Hayden copper smelter.
“Controlling fugitive dust is critical to minimizing hazardous air pollutants in nearby communities,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Director of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Amy Miller. “EPA will continue holding companies accountable for complying with the terms of settlements reached with the agency.”
Wind-blown dust from the facility has been found to contain lead and other hazardous pollutants.
Managing fugitive dust in the area is particularly important because the area does not meet health-based air quality standards for coarse dust and airborne lead.
Under the settlement’s dust plan, ASARCO is required to operate water sprayer systems at various sites to abate fugitive dust emissions. After reviewing ASARCO’s records, EPA identified 33 days during which water was not sprayed on certain required fugitive dust sources. Under the terms of the 2015 settlement, ASARCO is liable for $1,000 each day the water sprayers were not operating, resulting in $33,000 in stipulated penalties.
A more complete account of the 2015 settlement can be found at The resulting consent decree may be viewed at
The ASARCO Hayden site is a copper ore processing, concentrating, and smelter facility located adjacent to the Arizona communities of Hayden and Winkelman. Copper smelters emit large quantities of coarse dust, lead, and other hazardous air pollutants such as arsenic. Health concerns associated with smelters include:
Certain types of dust, especially inhalable particles, can cause coughing or difficulty breathing, decreased lung function, aggravated asthma, and even premature death in people with heart or lung disease. Exposure to lead can cause negative effects on the nervous, immune, renal, and cardiovascular systems. Exposure to arsenic can cause skin problems, stomach ache, and nausea. Over many years, arsenic exposure also raises the risk of skin, bladder, lung, and/or liver cancer.
DTSC Files Civil Complaint Against Sacramento-Area Hazardous Waste Facility for Repeat Violations of Hazardous Waste Laws
California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control has filed suit against General Environmental Management of Rancho Cordova LLC, Stericycle Environmental Solutions Inc., and Stericycle, Inc. (GEM/Stericycle), because of numerous serious and repeat alleged violations of California’s hazardous waste laws.
The complaint, filed in Superior Court in Sacramento County, stems from a 2018 DTSC inspection at the GEM/Stericycle facility located at 11855 White Rock Road in Rancho Cordova. The violations include the mismanagement of incompatible hazardous wastes, the improper storage of hazardous waste, and the failure to follow required safety protocols while combining hazardous waste onsite.
The Hazardous Waste Control Law authorizes DTSC to assess a penalty up to $70,000 for each separate violation, and for ongoing violations, for each day it continues. In a 2018 settlement with DTSC, for violations identified between 2011-17, GEM/Stericycle, which handles a wide variety of hazardous waste with a focus on combining and consolidating it, agreed to pay more than $1.4 million in civil penalties. In 2017, employees intentionally ignited hazardous waste containing naphthalene, a flammable substance. Two earlier fires and an explosion at the facility were caused by the mismanagement of incompatible hazardous wastes or wastes that can become dangerous when mixed together.
View the complaint and other GEM/Stericycle related documents here.
Dollar Tree Store Cited for Trip and Fall Hazards at Alabama Location
OSHA cited national discount retailer Dollar Tree Store Inc. for exposing employees to safety hazards at a store in Foley, Alabama. The company faces $106,029 in penalties.
OSHA cited the company for exposing employees to struck-by, trip and fall hazards due to unstable merchandise stacked in excess of 7-feet high.
“Employers jeopardize the safety of their workers when they fail to assess and implement measures to correct workplace hazards,” said OSHA Mobile Area Office Director Jose A. Gonzalez. 
Food Manufacturer Cited for Repeat Violation After Worker Injury
OSHA cited D.O. Productions LLC for lockout/tagout violations after unguarded machinery caused severe hand injuries to an employee at the frozen food manufacturer’s Lodi, New Jersey, facility. The company faces $77,184 in penalties.
An employee suffered severe lacerations and contusions to the hand after it was caught in a rolling machine. OSHA inspectors determined that D.O. Productions LLC failed to guard the machine’s in-running nip point, a repeat violation for which OSHA cited the company in 2018. OSHA also cited the company for six serious violations involving lockout/tagout and other safety hazards.
“Manufacturers must ensure proper safeguards are in place on all machinery to prevent workers from suffering serious injuries,” said OSHA Hasbrouck Heights Area Director Lisa Levy. “This injury could have been prevented if the company had complied with OSHA standards, and corrected the violation when previously cited.”
OSHA’s Machine Guarding webpage provides compliance assistance resources to help employers identify amputation hazards, and follow required procedures to guard stationary and portable machines properly.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Illinois Manufacturer Fined for Exposing Employees to Machine Hazards
OSHA has cited Monahan Filaments LLC – based in Arcola, Illinois – for violations of OSHA’s machine safety standards after an employee suffered severe injuries. The manufacturer of synthetic filaments for brushes and brooms faces $258, 271 in penalties. OSHA placed the company in the agency’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
OSHA received an employer-reported referral from Monahan Filaments after moving machine parts caused fractures and third degree burns to an employee’s hand on Sept. 20, 2019, during production line set-up.
Following the inspection, OSHA cited the company for two willful violations for failure to control hazardous energy sources, and inadequate machine guarding on rotating parts and ingoing nip points. OSHA also cited the company for a repeat violation for not training employees to perform energy control procedures during set-up operations.
“Injuries from machine hazards are preventable when machine guarding and lockout /tagout standards are followed,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt. “OSHA has resources available to help employers and workers understand requirements for properly safeguarding equipment.”
OSHA’s machine guarding and control of hazardous energy webpages provide information on what employers must do to limit worker exposures to machine hazards.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission
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