After the DOT Investigation
So you’ve just been through a DOT Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) investigation. Don’t panic. Investigations shouldn’t be feared if you prepare ahead of time. Now that the investigation is completed, what happens next?
First, let’s discuss the types of investigations.
- New Entrant Audit: Comprises around 78% of all audits. These are conducted within the first 18 months of registering your DOT number and include an educational component. Grading for a new entrant audit is pass/fail. A failed new entrant audit is comparable to an unsatisfactory, but you will be given an opportunity to correct deficiencies.
- Compliance Review: This is what most people call an audit, but they only comprise about 4% of all audits done by DOT. A compliance review is broad in scope, covering:
- Factor 1: General: Part 387 and Part 390
- Factor 2: Driver: Part 382, Part 383, and Part 391
- Factor 3: Operational: Part 392 and Part 395
- Factor 4: Vehicle: Part 393 and Part 396
- Factor 5: Hazardous Materials: Parts 171, 172, 177, 180, and 397
- Factor 6: Recordable Accident Rate
- Focused Audit: These are narrow in scope and focus on problem areas identified from roadside inspections. Focused audits account for about 18% of all investigations.
Any investigation can be conducted on-site at your offices or off-site. You upload the requested documents to FMCSA for review in an off-site audit. Off-site audits have grown in the last few years to comprise nearly 50% of all audits conducted.
What You Need to Know About Corrective Action Plans
Organizations routinely develop corrective action plans (CAPs) for any number of reasons, including discovery of inadequate or outdated processes, incomplete or partial policies and procedures, or gaps related to employee safety and security.
Organizations with regulated transportation operations may find themselves in the position of having to develop CAPs reactively rather than proactively, however, due to a failed New Entrant Safety Audit or a Compliance Review or Focused Review that resulted in a rating of less than Satisfactory.
When this occurs, the first question to ask is, “Why did the violation occur?” Was there a lack of training? A lack of knowledge about the regulatory requirements? Unclear roles and responsibilities with the company? Thoroughly understand the gap that led to your organization’s area of non-compliance.
Another area to look at is whether a lack of management controls resulted in the incident. Are there insufficient resources allocated for oversight of FMCSR compliance and CMV safety? Are the processes to qualify drivers gapped or lacking timeliness? Strategically outline which safety management processes within the safety management cycle are best suited to address identified non-compliance.
Nuclear Verdicts & Reducing Liability
In today’s landscape of interstate commerce, you would be hard-pressed to find a city that does not have several law firms dedicated to placing accident blame and liability on trucking companies. Factor this with an overarching amount of widespread nuclear verdicts caused by reptile theories and lack of tort reform, and the stage is set for a disastrous outcome. Essentially, most all motor carriers on the road today are one catastrophic event away from going out of business.
Insurance coverage is an absolute must, but it only goes so far. Recently, a jury handed down a willful neglect verdict on a carrier to the tune of one billion dollars. Think about that for a moment. If a carrier is insured for 5 million dollars, guess where anything reaching above that comes from? That’s right, the company! And if their pocket is not deep enough to cover the overage, they are simply forced out of business. Keep in mind that it is not only the compensatory damages at stake, but punitive and exemplary damages as well. Drivers are not off limits and can be sued for negligence along with the company for the same accident. The bottom line is this; everyone has skin in the game, and no one is safe when it comes to repercussions from monetary dispositions related to tragic incidents.
As for the reptile theory strategy, a plaintiff attorney will try to impress on jurors that a company is overall neglectful based on several items collected during an investigation. If successful in painting a company with such a broad brushstroke, a guilty verdict can be handed down, even when the company has been determined to not be at fault! There’s nothing more unnerving as a safety professional than to receive a message telling you “Do not delete, shred, erase, redact, or alter anything related to this accident. And furthermore, surrender all notes, email, policies, logs, records, associated with said driver.” Of course, you never want to be in that position, but you still need to plan ahead for it. Always remember, unlike an audit, everything is discoverable when it comes to lawsuit investigations!
Fuel Prices for Commercial Motor Vehicle Carriers
Anyone that operates any type of vehicle is feeling the “pain at the pump” due to rising fuel costs. While the increase is having an impact on household budgets, those that operate vehicles for a living, such as commercial motor vehicle carriers, are being hit the hardest.
The domino effect is that those higher fuel costs are being passed down to the consumer. While in recent days there has been some minimal relief, economists are predicting the elevated price of fuel to remain for weeks or even months to come.
As you travel through our nation’s roadways, I’m sure you have witnessed an increase in instances of aggressive and risky driving. One can only assume that some drivers have chosen to take out their economic frustrations from behind the wheel of a vehicle. I personally have also experienced an increase in the number of courteous drivers, which reassures me that aggressive drivers are still the exception rather than the rule. But it also makes me ask the question…is there a correlation between higher fuel prices and safer roads? There is. And the connections might surprise you.
CDL Driver Retention - It's Not All About the Money
Drivers have always been highly sought after, and the supply struggles to meet the demand. In the last couple of years, this concern has only increased.
Companies are currently seeing a high rate of employee turnover, which unfortunately includes drivers (over 51% driver turnover rate according to a study done by Fleet News Daily). Even though this trend is better than in previous years, it’s still a concern when you consider that one out of every two drivers will leave.
Why should this matter to your company? Greater turnover means less retained knowledge of seasoned drivers, more cost to recruit and refill positions, difficulty fulfilling logistics services for existing and new customers and lowering morale and confidence as a whole. This can also create suspicion before the driver ever begins the first day or even considers your company as an option. Drivers will talk — good, bad or ugly!
While everyone is aware of this issue, how do you make practical, proactive efforts to get and keep the good ones?
From my experience, a great first impression is the start of a beautiful relationship. This begins with “rolling out the red carpet” from the beginning of the hiring process. Meet the driver where they are. Communication should be frequent, clear and in a platform that works for the driver (that might mean a phone call instead of using email).
Two of the biggest mistakes a company can make is hiring a driver that is inexperienced and not giving them the tools they need to be successful on the road, or hiring an experienced driver and assuming they have all the knowledge they need to perform well. If they’re changing companies, there must be a reason they left the previous one.
Once you’ve decided on a new hire, make them feel like they are a valued part of your team. A welcome note in the mail with a small gift (a new company shirt, travel coffee mug, snacks for the road, etc.) can go a long way and confirms to them that they made the right choice.
Along the same lines, having company issued supplies, such as logoed shirts, correct PPE, supplies they may need on the road like pens, notepads, working electronic logging devices, plus proper training materials and the correct internal contacts at training continues this confidence. These items also market your company to other drivers and shows customers that you value your drivers.
Think outside the proverbial new hire box as well. I have seen companies send new drivers for training that didn’t have $5.00 in their pocket. One simple fix is to make sure these new hires have their basic needs met, such as meals during training. A hungry driver is not a good student.
Even though financial compensation is an easy way to motivate some people, rewarding them by completing training for company gear could be just as motivational. Consider credits for completing milestones-training (e.g., first seven days, first 30, 60, 90 days, etc.) This will reassure their choice and set them on a course of loyalty to their company.
DOT Policy Review in the New Year
It’s that time of year again. Performance reviews, goal and objective setting, implementing annual budgets, and yearly teammate kickoff meetings. But there is one, often overlooked, integral piece of the puzzle that is vital to a company’s success: policy reviews.
Merriam-Webster defines a policy as “a set of guidelines or rules that determine a course of action.” Sounds important, and it is. Without policies, there can be no structure. Without structure, no accountability. And with no accountability, no profitability. Let’s face it, profitability is the main objective in business. Everything works hand in hand to ensure the profitability of a company. This includes policies, because they help set the standard of the company.
You may ask yourself why reviewing your company’s policy each year is so important? Glad you asked! Below are the top 3 reasons.
1. First, it ensures that you’re keeping current with required regulation changes. This may include the addition of a new regulation or the change of an existing one. If our policies do not follow the required regulations, it’s impossible to have the proper/correct standards in place. These standards are vital to achieving compliance because they make sure you’re consistent with the requirements.
Driver Shortage 2022
Driver retention is key to operating a safe, successful carrier.
In news reports it was recently stated that 2021 closed with a record-high driver shortage of 80,000. And with the average age of current CDL drivers approaching 50, the trucking industry will need more than 1.1 million new drivers in the next 10 years.
What’s more, the COVID-19 pandemic’s disruptive impact on the labor market has led truck drivers to think about just how much they should be paid and how well they should be treated to stay in trucking.
Technologies may be developed to have self-driving trucks, but as of right now, drivers move the trailers. Meaning the carriers who can retain their drivers are ahead.
Think of the time it takes to recruit a driver, evaluate their risk, train and orientate them, especially if your trucking job requires other skills, such as delivering, unloading and setting up your products. And then there is presenting the driver with the expectations and the culture of your company and proving through your operations that you walk the talk.
There’s no one way to improve driver retention. It can require a combination of competitive home time and pay, safety and company culture, and team building with individual and shared company goals and rewards.
Entry-Level Driver Training: New Rules for New Drivers
from J. J. Keller & Freightwaves
As of February 7, 2022, compliance with all aspects of the entry-level driver training (ELDT) rule is required. The entry-level driver training rule establishes minimum training standards for drivers, and it also sets new standards for training providers.
UCR Registration Deadline Approaching
Enforcement of the 2022 Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) program begins January 1, 2022. Carriers subject to UCR should complete registration by December 31, 2021.
The UCR filing requirement applies to for-hire passenger, property, and exempt commodity carriers; private property carriers; freight forwarders; leasing companies; and brokers engaged in interstate commerce. If you’re an entity based in and/or operating in non-participating states, you are still required to register with UCR; the UCR application form provides guidelines for selecting a base state.
If you are an entity domiciled in Canada or Mexico operating in the United States, you are also subject to UCR registration. The following two types of entities are not subject to UCR fees:
- Purely intrastate carriers, that is, those that do not handle interstate freight or make interstate movements (unless the state has elected to apply the provisions of the UCR Agreement to such intrastate carriers); and
- Private motor carriers transporting passengers in interstate commerce, e.g., church buses, are not required to register under UCR.
As a motor carrier, your UCR fees are based on the number of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) that you operate interstate. The number of CMVs operated is:
- The number of commercial motor vehicles reported on your last MCS-150/MCSA-1 form filed with the FMCSA, or
- The total number of vehicles owned and operated for the 12-month period ending June 30 of the year immediately prior to the year for which the UCR registration is made. This includes all
DOT Reportable Accidents
Operating an 18-wheeler or any other type of CMV is stressful enough, but when accidents happen, it can be devasting for the parties involved. Whether you are the commercial driver or an owner of a trucking company that transports large amounts of goods, you must familiarize yourself with the post-accident procedures that can significantly help to minimize the long-term consequences.
To start, all transportation companies must follow the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations that govern accidents. Here is what constitutes a DOT reportable accident and the post-accident testing requirements.
|Criteria of Accident||Citations||Post-Accident Testing||Post-Accident Time Frame||Reportable - Accident Regiser|
|Human Fatality||Does not matter||Yes - Drug & Alcohol||
Drug - Within 32 hours (if missed, Motor Carrier (MC) must document missed test reason
Alcohol - Within 2 hours (if missed, MC must document missed test reason)
|At least one vehicle damaged to the extent that it must be towed away.||
Yes - driver receives a moving violation
No - follow accident procedures
|Yes - Drug & Alcohol||
Drug - Within 32 hours (if missed, Motor Carrier (MC) must document missed test reason
Alcohol - Within 2 hours (if missed, MC must document missed test reason)
|At least one individual has sustained bodily injury that requires medical attention.||
Yes - driver receives a moving violation
No - follow accident procedures
|Yes - Drug & Alcohol||
Drug - Within 32 hours (if missed, Motor Carrier (MC) must document missed test reason
Alcohol - Within 2 hours (if missed, MC must document missed test reason)
Drivers should understand what steps are required to be taken immediately after an accident, including what types of information should be gathered at the accident scene and how to efficiently record this information.
Providing Entry-Level Driver Training
With the new entry-level driver training (ELDT) requirements going into effect on February 7, 2022, many motor carriers are working on a game plan to be able to provide instruction to their employees.
Gone are the days of a driver-trainee obtaining a learner’s permit, driving with a CDL holder for as little as a few hours, and then taking the CDL skills test. Under the new ELDT requirements, driver-trainees will be subject to a specific curriculum presented by an entity listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Training Provider Registry (TPR).
Theory Curriculum: Class A and Class B
The rule prescribes 30 specific theory topics in five areas of instruction, including:
- Basic operation (vehicle inspections, basic control, backing/docking);
- Safe operating practices (speed and space management, night driving, extreme driving conditions);
- Advanced operating practices (hazard perception, skid control and recovery);
- Vehicle systems (roadside inspections, identification and diagnosis of malfunctions); and
- Non-driving activities (hours of service, trip planning, medical requirements).
The rule does not include a minimum number of hours that driver-trainees must spend on theory instruction. An assessment must be used to determine the driver-trainee’s proficiency for each unit of instruction. Driver trainees must demonstrate their understanding of the material by achieving an overall minimum score of 80 percent on the theory assessment.
Post-Accident Crash Management
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA’s) Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) crash statistics, there were over 12,000 crashes in 2020 that involved large trucks and busses. The year 2021 is on pace to eclipse that total with 5,947 crashes reported through May 31, 2021.
One of the most important components to any successful motor carrier operation is having a good accident prevention program. Equally as important is to have a good post-accident management program. As a safety professional or a driver, it’s important to know the proper steps to take in the event you or one of your company-owned vehicles is involved in an accident. If the vehicle involved is a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), the regulatory requirements can be tricky to navigate.
Knowing what actions to take immediately following a vehicle accident is one of the keys to minimizing your risk exposure and staying in compliance with the FMCSRs.
Stop at the Scene and Report the Crash
When you are involved in a vehicle accident, you must remain at the scene of the crash and report the accident. If you are injured or if there are injuries to other parties involved, call 911 immediately. Once you’re safe, and if possible, remove your vehicle from the roadway onto the shoulder of the road to get it out of the travel lanes. Then turn on your hazard flashers, put out reflective triangles or cones. This will give better visibility to other drivers that may be approaching the crash scene.
Once a law enforcement officer arrives, it’s important that you remain calm and follow their instructions. As the investigation continues, a well-equipped accident kit can help guide you through the process. A good accident kit will contain, at a minimum, step-by-step instructions to guide you through the reporting process, a camera, driver’s accident report, pen, witness statement forms and a post-accident drug and alcohol testing decision tree.
Exchange Information with Other Parties Involved
Document all identifying features of the other vehicle(s) involved. This documentation should include make, model, license plate, model year and color of the other vehicles as well as any other distinguishing features. If the crash involves other CMVs, it’s important to document any identifying markings on that CMV. These identifying markings could include:
- Company name
- Company logo
- DOT number
- Any other identifying markings
If the crash involves a tractor-trailer, it’s important to document identifying markings on both the tractor and the trailer. It is extremely important that you exchange proper information with the other party prior to leaving the scene of the crash. Once all parties have left the scene, it can be difficult to track them down if additional information is needed. Information exchanged with the other parties should include:
- Name, address, email address and phone number of other drivers involved
- Insurance company and policy number of other drivers involved
- Driver’s license number of other drivers involved
- Company name and contact information (if another CMV is involved)
- Name, address, email address and phone number of any witnesses
If any of the parties involved refuse to exchange information, do not become confrontational. Wait for a law enforcement officer to assist with the exchange of information.
Document the Crash
Scene Using a camera from your accident kit or your phone, document the crash scene with photos and/or video. Make sure you take photos of the entire scene from multiple angles. If possible, place an object in each photo to give a sense of scale to the photo. When taking photos of vehicles involved, be sure to get distant photos and closeup photos of damage. Take photos of all four sides of each vehicle involved, whether there was damage to that side or not. Take photos of damage to a vehicle’s interior to include shattered glass and any airbags that were deployed. Take photos of any property damage that occurred because of the crash. This could be damaged fences, buildings, power poles, traffic control devices or landscaping. Look for things that could have been a contributing factor to the crash, including damaged roadways, road construction, inoperative traffic control devices or debris in the roadway.
Incomplete Driver Qualification (DQ) Files
The qualifications for drivers are outlined in 49 CFR Part 391, including physical qualifications (also known as the medical certification or medical examiners certification, aka, the MEC), along with mandates that carriers must follow when hiring commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers.
Also outlined are the requirements for what must be included on a CMV driver’s application, the different types of background requests that are required, and ongoing requirements for carriers and drivers in the way of expiring documents that must be updated. For example, the MEC must be updated with a new physical exam on or before the expiration date of the current one (carriers are also required to run a state driving record. i.e. MVR within 15 days of receiving a new/updated MEC). Annual updates include the state driving record, the driver’s annual certification of violations, the annual review of the driving record by the company, and annual queries to the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. Retention periods for the different documents are also covered in this part.
As a best practice, carriers should periodically audit their own records (annually at a minimum) to ensure that all required documents are being updated in a timely manner. It’s recommended carriers audit at least 25% of their fleet annually for errors, expired documents and/or omissions. For larger sized fleets (over 500 trucks), it may be wise to hire an outside auditor to come to their place of business and conduct the audit if staffing is an issue.
Any time you discover a DQ deficiency, it’s imperative you correct the issue immediately. If the issue involves an expiring document(s), correct it as soon as you find the error and place a note in the file to explain the oversight and what you are doing going forward to ensure the same type of mistake doesn’t recur, or at the very least is kept to a minimum.
The Upcoming Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) Rule
After several years of being pushed out due to technological challenges, the Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) rule compliance date of February 7, 2022, is fast approaching.
The rule establishes minimum training requirements for any driver trainee applying for a Class B or Class A CDL, any driver trainee upgrading from a Class B to a Class A CDL, and any driver trainee seeking a School Bus, Passenger, or Hazardous Materials endorsement for the first time.
A trainee must obtain a certificate of completion, and they can only obtain it from a training provider that is registered on the FMCSA's Training Provider Registry (TPR). Examples of training providers are schools, motor carriers, and other entities that provide CDL instruction. The training provider must also maintain information in the TPR, including the upload of training certificates to the TPR once a trainee has completed their training. This information is electronically transmitted from the TPR to the state driver’s license agency and the certificate must be in their system in order for the trainee to obtain their license.
As of the compliance date of February 7, 2022, all training providers must…
- Register and be listed on the FMCSA's TPR
- Have an ELDT compliant training curriculum in accordance with 49 CFR Part 380 Appendices A through E
- Have instructors that meet the qualifications under §380.713
- Have facilities compliant with §380.709
- Have vehicles compliant with §§380.711, 392, 393, and 396 and applicable to the proper class license or endorsement that the driver trainee is undergoing training for
- Assess driver trainees in accordance with §380.725
- Produce and upload a Driver Training Certification into the TPR when a trainee completes their training program
- Retain required documents and records under §380.725 for at least 3 years
The enormity of the change to the trucking industry under the ELDT rule cannot be understated. The rule sets requirements where none existed before, and the required curriculum is robust. The curriculum is split into two primary elements, theory and behind the wheel.
FMCSA Off-Site Audits
Imagine this … you have recently been hired as the new Safety Director for a mid-sized motor carrier. Since you have taken the position, you have worked hard to implement practices and policies to improve your company’s DOT compliance program. Over the last several months, there has been an improvement in driver morale, profits are up, and roadside violations, although historically high and with only one CSA BASIC in alert status, have decreased slowly but steadily over the last two months. As you settle in for another day’s work you check your email and much to your surprise there is a message from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) with the subject line: “XYZ Transport has been selected for an FMCSA investigation.” After further reading you determine that this is not an ordinary investigation, this is an Off-Site Audit! Immediately, you ask yourself a million questions: “What is an off-site audit?” “Why were we selected?” “What is this going to do to our safety rating?” “Are we going to be penalized?”
Why the Need for the Off-Site Audit?
The FMCSA uses the Compliance Safety and Accountability (CSA) data to determine which motor carriers are targeted for compliance investigations and audits. Historically, poorly performing motor carriers, generally those that have BASICs in alert status or a high number of crashes, received notification from the FMCSA that an agent or representative of the agency would go to the principle place of business to conduct the investigation. This practice created a huge strain on the FMCSA due to limited resources, which limited the number of motor carriers the FMCSA could audit. Therefore, the agency decided to develop other methodologies and tools to capture more of the 560,000 motor carriers that operate under FMCSA jurisdictions. As a result, the Off-Site Audit was implemented and has resulted in a 305 percent rise in investigations between 2018 and 2019, before the pandemic started, and eighteen times higher than the number of audits completed in 2017. This audit format allows the FMCSA to conduct more investigations in a shorter amount of time and is used for motor carriers that have operated for a long time, as well as those subject to the “new-entrant” process.
What Happens During the Off-Site Audit?
The Off-Site Audit is conducted in much the same way an on-site investigation is done, except that the field agent is conducting the audit from a remote location and all documents must be sent to the field office for review. When a motor carrier is selected for an audit due to high CSA scores, they’re a “new-entrant,” or a complaint has been filed against them, the field investigator will begin pre-audit reviews to understand more about the motor carrier’s operations. These include: • Where the company is located and contact information • What the company does • Previous audit results (if applicable) • Safety performance • Vehicle licensing • Insurance • Registration data • Information resulting from roadside inspections and crash data. Essentially, the field agent is building a case prior to notifying the motor carrier that an audit is to take place. The next step includes notifying the motor carrier that an investigation will occur and begin with a document request. The number and types of documents requested will depend on what triggered the audit in the first place (e.g. new-entrant, CSA related, etc.). Document requests must be fulfilled within the time frame requested or the motor carrier risks having their DOT number revoked. Therefore, it is important to meet all required timelines.
DOT Audits 101
FMCSA audits, sometimes called “DOT audits” or “investigations,” come in three main varieties:
• Offsite focused investigations target a specific area of compliance, such as hours of service. The motor carrier sends its compliance records to the FMCSA regional office for review. This type of investigation does not result in a safety rating.
• Onsite focused investigations also target a specific area of compliance, but enforcement personnel will perform the audit at the motor carrier’s principal place of business (as identified on the USDOT registration). This type of investigation also does not result in a safety rating.
• Onsite comprehensive investigations address all aspects of a motor carrier’s operation and take place at the motor carrier’s principal place of business. This type of investigation results in a safety rating
Occupational Noise Hazards in the Workplace, Part II
All employers, regardless of size, need to perform a job hazard assessment if work-related hazards are present in order to comply with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations. Excessive exposure to noise can cause hearing loss, in addition to physical and psychological stress. Since there’s no cure for noise-induced hearing loss, reducing employees’ exposure is the only way to prevent permanent hearing damage. This can be accomplished through hearing protective devices, proper training and other corrective actions.
According to OSHA regulations, employers shall make hearing protectors available to all employees exposed to an 8-hour time-weighted average of 85 decibels or greater at no cost to the employees. Hearing protectors shall be replaced as necessary. It is also required that employers ensure that exposed employees are wearing hearing protection provided. Employers are required to provide the opportunity to employees to select their hearing protectors from a variety of suitable hearing protectors. In other words, the hearing protection options cannot be limited to just one. Employers must have at least one type of a hearing plug and hearing muff for employees to select from. Hearing protection options provided must be adequate to protect employees to the sound levels in which they are exposed. The Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) that represents the hearing protection device’s ability to reduce noise under lab environments. This NRR is then used to actual work environment exposures.
OSHA also requires training of employees with regards to occupational noise exposure. This training shall be instituted by the employer and employees must participate. Employees who are trained on the reasons for hearing conservation are more likely to be motivated to wear hearing protection. Training shall occur at initial assignment and annually thereafter for those included in the hearing conservation program. If there are any changes in the program, equipment, or work processes, then this should be reflected in the annual training. Training content must at a minimum include the following topics:
- The effects of noise on hearing
- The selection, fit, and care of hearing protectors
- The purposes of hearing protectors, advantages, disadvantages, and attenuation of various types, and instructions on selection, fitting, use, and care
- The purpose of audiometric testing, and an explanation of the test procedures
- Copies of this OSHA standard should be discussed and readily available to employees
Employers shall retain records for audiometric testing. The noise exposure measurement results must be retained for at least two years. Employee audiometric test records shall be retained for the duration of the employee’s employment. The records shall include:
- Name and job classification of the employee
- Date of the audiogram
- The examiners name
- Date of the last acoustic calibration of the audiometer
- Employee’s most recent noise exposure assessment
Flammable Liquids and the PSM Requirements
Process Safety Management (PSM) is a performance-based, regulatory-required management system designed to protect workers from highly hazardous chemicals (HHC). PSM applies to all companies that deal with any of more than 130 toxic and reactive chemicals in quantities listed in Appendix A of OSHA’s Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals Standard (29 CFR 1910.119).
Flammable liquids are one of the categories of HHC subject to PSM. Specifically, liquids with a flashpoint below 100 °F and a total onsite quantity above 10,000 pounds are subject to the regulation under 29 CFR §1910.119(a)(1)(ii). However, PSM contains an exemption for flammable liquids stored in atmospheric tanks that are kept below their normal boiling point without refrigeration or chilling [29 CFR §1910.119(a)(1)(ii)(B)].
Occupational Noise Hazards in the Workplace, Part I
One of the most prevalent work-related hazards in all industries is occupational noise. However, this is an often-unanticipated workplace hazard. Unwanted exposure to elevated noise levels can lead to hearing loss and other undesirable health effects. The intensity of the noise and the duration of the exposure determine the extent of the damage.
To reduce the risk of hearing loss to employees working in noisy areas, conduct a workplace screening with calibrated sound level meters to determine if elevated noise levels are present. If this screening determines elevated noise levels are greater than 85 decibels (dBA) averaged over 8 working hours or an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA), OSHA requires employers to conduct full work shift sampling to quantify employee exposure to these potentially elevated noise hazards. The sampling must occur during a typical work shift and include assessment of continuous, intermittent, and impulse noise within the 80 dB to 130 dB range.
Exposure to high levels of noise can cause permanent hearing loss. Neither surgery nor a hearing aid can help correct this type of hearing loss. Short-term exposure to loud noise can also cause a temporary change in hearing (your ears may feel stuffed up) or a ringing in your ears (tinnitus). These short-term problems may go away within a few minutes or hours after leaving the noise. However, repeated exposures to loud noise can lead to permanent tinnitus and/or hearing loss.
How Flammable Gases Apply to PSM and RMP
OSHA’s Process Safety Management (PSM) of Highly Hazardous Chemicals Standard (29 CFR 1910.119) contains requirements for the management of hazards associated with processes using chemicals deemed to be “highly hazardous.” Processes that involve a category 1 flammable gas are subject to PSM if the quantity exceeds 10,000 pounds in one location in accordance with 29 CFR §1910.119(a)(1)(ii). Category 1 flammable gases are a highly hazardous chemical (HHC) under the PSM standard.
Any facility storing in excess of 10,000 pounds of these flammable gases becomes subject to PSM. This includes the state of California, which has similar language in the state code. Listing category 1 flammable gases as a category subjects any facility to the PSM standard if the total of all category 1 flammable gases exceeds 10,000 pounds. The only exception for category 1 flammable gases is if it is a fuel used for workplace consumption under 29 CFR §1910.119(a)(1)(ii)(A).
What is arc flash?
An electric arc flash is a high-amp current that jumps through the air. It occurs when the path of the electric current is interrupted; the current then flows through the air to a new conductor or to ground, causing an explosion.
When arc flash occurs, there’s a brilliant flash of light followed by a burst of super-heated gas and droplets of molten metal explode outward from the equipment. There can be one or more explosions within milliseconds which generate extremely high temperatures.
Confined Space Safety Management
Confined spaces represent a major hazard at many operations. Managing confined spaces and entry is required to reduce the risk and ensure employee safety.
The confined space standard (29 CFR 1910.146) is confusing to understand, but the first step is to understand what a confined space is.
A confined space is defined as an area that meets all three of the following:
- Is large enough for an employee to bodily enter and perform work. Keep in mind that entry means breaking the plane of the opening, i.e. reaching in.
- Has limited or restricted means of entry or exit.
- Is not designed for continuous employee occupancy.
In most cases a confined space is easy to identify based on the three criteria. But identifying the space as a Permit Required Confined Space (PRCS) is not so easy in all cases. The best rule of thumb is to consider all confined spaces as a PRCS until you prove it is not via testing and evaluation.
A PRCS is a confined space that has one or more of the following:
- Contains, or has the known potential to contain, a hazardous atmosphere. This includes explosive, toxic and/or oxygen deficient or oxygen enriched.
- Contains material with engulfment potential. This means being buried by a solid or liquid.
- Has an internal configuration such that entrants could be trapped or asphyxiated by inwardly converging walls, or a floor which slopes and tapers to a smaller cross-section. Think of a V-shaped bottom vessel like a silo or hopper.
- Contains any other recognized serious safety or health hazard. The first one that should be considered is hazardous energy sources (lockout, tagout hazards). Are there any flow lines, mechanical movements, electrical hazards, rotating drums, etc?
Recognizing & Responding to Threats
WHAT IS IT?
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workplace violence is “any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site.”
This ranges from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and even homicide, and it can be perpetrated by anyone from current employees to former employees, an employee’s spouse, clients, visitors, customers or even criminals with no connection to the company.
WHO’S AT RISK?
Nearly 2 million Americans report having been victims of workplace violence each year. And those are just the cases that are reported.
The industries most at risk for violence in the workplace include health care, social services, security services, public administration, education, public transportation, retail and law enforcement. Employees may also be at a higher risk of violence if their jobs involve exchanging money with the public, customer service, working with volatile or unstable people, or working alone or in isolated areas.
Of course, companies in other industries can ill afford a false sense of security. The risk of workplace violence is a real one in any company.
WHAT’S THE EMPLOYER’S RESPONSIBILITY?
Section 5 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act states that employers are required to furnish workplaces “free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm.” In other words, employers have a duty to keep their employees safe from identifiable harm.
With the increase of workplace shootings in recent years, this kind of violence is beginning to be considered a “recognized hazard,” and employers have faced increased legal action following such incidents.
Top 5 Tips for Completing a Hazard Assessment
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there are some simple steps and recommended practices when identifying and assessing hazards.
In order to identify and also assess hazards, employers and employees should:
- Review information available within the workplace about hazards present or likely to be present in the workplace.
- Establish a frequent inspection process to identify new or status of existing hazards.
- Always take a closer took by investigating injuries, illnesses, incidents, as well as near misses to identify the hazards and identify the safety and health program deficiencies.
- Assess trends in injuries, illnesses, and hazards reported.
- Determine the severity and likelihood of incidents that could result for each hazard identified and prioritize corrective actions.
Step 1: Review information available about workplace hazards
Information on workplace hazards may already be available to employers and workers, from both internal and external sources.
Actions to put in place:
Collect, organize and review information with workers to determine what types of hazards may be present and which workers may be exposed or potentially exposed. Information available in the workplace may include:
- Equipment and machinery operating manuals.
- Safety Data Sheets (SDS) provided by chemical manufacturers.
- Self-inspection reports and inspection reports from insurance carriers, government agencies, and consultants.
- Records of previous injuries and illnesses, such as OSHA 300 and 301 logs and reports of incident investigations.
- Workers' compensation records and reports.
- Patterns of frequently occurring injuries and illnesses.
- Exposure monitoring results, industrial hygiene assessments, and medical records (appropriately redacted to ensure patient/worker privacy).
- Existing safety and health programs (lockout/tagout, confined spaces, personal protective equipment, etc.).
- Input from workers, including surveys or minutes from safety and health committee meetings.
- Results of job hazard analyses, also known as job safety analyses.
Step 2: Inspect the workplace for safety hazards
Hazards can be introduced over time as work and processes change, equipment or tools become worn, maintenance is neglected, or housekeeping practices decline. Setting aside time to regularly inspect the workplace for hazards can help identify shortcomings so that they can be addressed before an incident occurs.
Actions to put in place:
- Conduct regular inspections of all operations, equipment, work areas and facilities. Have workers participate on the inspection team and talk to them about hazards that they see or report.
- Be sure to document inspections so you can later verify that hazardous conditions are corrected. Take photos or video of problem areas to facilitate later discussion and brainstorming about how to control them, and for use as learning aids.
- Include all areas and activities in these inspections, such as storage and warehousing, facility, and equipment maintenance, purchasing and office functions, and the activities of on-site contractors, subcontractors, and temporary employees.
- Regularly inspect both plant vehicles (e.g., forklifts, powered industrial trucks) and transportation vehicles (e.g., cars, trucks).
- Use checklists that highlight things to look for. Typical hazards fall into several major categories, such as those listed below; each workplace will have its own list:
- General housekeeping o Slip, trip, and fall hazards
- Electrical hazards o Equipment operation o Equipment maintenance
- Fire protection o Work organization and process flow (including staffing and scheduling)
- Work practices o Workplace violence
- Ergonomic problems
- Lack of emergency procedures
- Before changing operations, workstations, or workflow; making major organizational changes; or introducing new equipment, materials, or processes, seek the input of workers and evaluate the planned changes for potential hazards and related risks.
The OSHA Inspection Preparation Process
An OSHA inspection may not be avoidable, but your company can avoid OSHA citations. The best way to do that is by:
- Ensuring regulatory compliance.
- Conducting hazard assessments and safety audits and correcting any hazards found.
- Developing and implementing a written safety and health program.
- Training employees to protect them from safety hazards.
- Keeping accurate records.
- Performing self-inspections to identify safety issues before OSHA does!
An inspector’s primary task during an inspection is very simple: To find non-compliance issues. If they don’t find any, they won’t issue a citation. And if they do find violations, remember that the officer can choose to expand the scope of the inspection. Therefore, it is paramount you identify the requirements that apply to your workplace. Also, stay abreast of regulatory changes. Being in compliance now doesn’t mean you will always be in compliance. Regulations and policies change and new ones are issued. OSHA has issued several proposed and final rules over the last five years. The most significant final rule was Walking-Working Surfaces, which included major fall protection, training, and inspection requirements that affect every general industry employer.
Conducting routine hazard assessments is an excellent way to find hazards in the workplace before OSHA does. Focus on the Big Four: falls, electrocutions, caught-in or between, and struck by. OSHA is placing increased focus on these hazards, which are the leading causes of fatalities. In the past, OSHA focused on these hazards only in the construction industry, but now OSHA is targeting these four hazards in general industry as well.
Court Temporarily Halts OSHA COVID-19 ETS
Legal action was filed against OSHA's Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). Several businesses filed a petition in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing OSHA overstepped its Constitutional authority in issuing the rule. The rule has been temporarily halted until both sides can present their arguments.
The court is expected to rule quickly. No matter which way the court rules, the decision is likely to be appealed. Practically, it doesn't change the scheduled enforcement of the rule, so long as all is settled prior to the first compliance date of December 5. Businesses should not assume the rule will be tossed out. There's a chance that it will stand. If so, it will be effective immediately, likely with the original compliance dates. Business should at least plan their implementation strategy, in case the rule does survive the legal challenges.
COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS)
OSHA’s much-anticipated COVID-19 emergency temporary standard (ETS) is set to be published in the Federal Register November 5. It requires private industry employers with 100 or more employees company-wide — in agriculture, general industry, shipyard, maritime, longshoring, and construction — to develop, implement, and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, or adopt a policy requiring employees to choose to be vaccinated or to undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at work.
Employers must provide workers with paid time to get vaccinated and allow for paid leave to recover from any side effects. The ETS does not require employers to pay for testing, however, they may be required to pay for testing to comply with other laws or collective bargaining agreements. Employers also are not required to pay for face coverings.
While most of the rule takes effect 30 days after publication, there is a 60-day compliance window for the testing requirement (January 5, 2022).
What are the OSHA Training Requirements?
One question I often hear asked is, “Who does OSHA require to receive safety training and when?” The answer isn’t that difficult, but the execution can be time consuming and, in some cases, confusing.
The better question to start with is, “Why should employers provide safety training to their employees?” There are several ways to explain why, but these three best summarize:
- It’s good for business
- It’s good for employee
- It’s the law
Let’s start with the law. OSHA does not have a single training standard, although in each specific standard there are training requirements. The standards identify who must be trained, to what extent and sometimes even the number of hours of training required and who is authorized to deliver the training. Generally, OSHA training requirements state that:
- Employers must ensure that each employee, prior to the first exposure, is trained to identify the hazards and reduce the risks of their assigned tasks, the area they are working in, and the tools and equipment they will use.
- The training must be provided by a competent, or in some cases, a qualified person, in a manner that is effective and understandable to the employee.
There are detailed, and very specific, training requirements in some of the standards, such as 1910.120 Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER). Within this standard, the employer must identify what category of responder the employee will be, and this dictates the number of hours of training that must be provided.
Another example is electrical training. Will the employee work with exposed voltage of greater than 50 VAC? If so, then qualified electrical worker training is required.
If the standard does not specify the amount of time or the exact subject matter to be provided in training, it is the employer’s responsibility to identify the hazards of the task, tool or area, and then provide training to the extent that employees understand the preventive actions to take in order to work safely.
“Who can train?” is another common question. The answer is almost always a competent person. This means a person, employee or third party who will effectively provide instructions on the OSHA standards, hazard recognition, risk reduction and ensure competency. Experience in adult education techniques should also be considered.
There are specific OSHA standards that require a certified and/or a qualified trainer. Examples are mobile cranes in construction and First Aid/CPR certifications. The standard will state when a certified or qualified trainer is required.
Considering ISO 45001 Certification?
The ISO 45001 standard, which was released in 2018, is the international standard for Occupational health and safety management systems. Within the standard, you’ll find a layout of best practices for developing a health and safety management system, including guidance on using the system. The goal of the standard is to help employers make the workplace safer by proactively evaluating health and safety performance.
ISO 45001 is the first occupational safety and health management system standard to be internationally accepted, providing a framework for employers to improve safety and health and reduce risk. It replaces OHSAS 18001, giving organizations conforming to OHSAS 18001 a three-year transition period, which is quickly coming to an end.
Most businesses have implemented some sort of ISO standard in the past, for quality, security, environmental management, or something else. Many businesses decided to implement ISO standards to better compete in their industry sector. Because ISO 45001 is compatible with other ISO standards, organizations that have already implemented another standard will have a leg up if they decide to work toward ISO 45001 certification.
The standard helps companies establish and attain safety and health objectives by documenting legal obligations and then going through a continual improvement process. The standard does not specify objectives, but does provide a framework to integrate safety and health with other initiatives, such as employee wellness. Organizations of any size could benefit from this process, regardless of industry sector.
Construction Compliance Confusion
Construction regulations and best practices can be confusing to say the least. A considerable number of myths continue to persist, particularly in the areas of lifting devices, falls and multi-employer sites. We’ll debunk three common myths in these areas to provide the facts you need to run a safe, compliant jobsite.
MYTH: OSHA requires that daily forklift inspections be completed in writing.
FACT: Believe it or not, OSHA does not actually require daily forklift inspections to be documented or written. That means there are no specific record retention times set if you do decide to document your inspections. However, even though not required, using an inspection checklist, either written or electronic, is a good idea for two reasons:
- Ensures that all essential features of the vehicle are inspected routinely, and
- Provides evidence to an OSHA compliance officer that the vehicles are being inspected as required.
MYTH: You can’t tie off to a mobile construction crane’s hook.
FACT: OSHA’s 1926.1423(j) crane standard states that a personal fall arrest system is permitted to be anchored to a crane/derrick’s hook (or other part of the load line) when all of the following requirements are met:
- (i)(1) A qualified person has determined that the set-up and rated capacity of the crane/derrick (including the hook, load line and rigging) meets or exceeds the requirements in §1926.502(d)(15). Anchorages used for attachment of personal fall arrest equipment shall be independent of any anchorage being used to support or suspend platforms and capable of supporting at least 5,000 pounds (22.2 kN) per employee attached
- (i)(2) The equipment operator must be at the work site and informed that the equipment is being used for this purpose.
- (i)(3) No load is suspended from the load line when the personal fall arrest system is anchored to the crane/derrick’s hook (or other part of the load line).
Process Safety Management (PSM) and Risk Management Plans (RMP)
In recent decades there have been a number of catastrophic incidents from releases of highly hazardous chemicals (HHCs), which has brought attention to chemical process safety. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) developed regulations promulgated at 29 CFR §1910.119 that provides a proactive approach to identify, evaluate, and prevent releases of HHCs. These regulations require the development of 14 elements for each process that contains an HHC above a threshold quantity. These elements largely focus on preventing failures in processes, procedures, or equipment.
Likewise, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed regulations promulgated at 40 CFR §68 entitled “Chemical Accident Prevention Provisions,” which require the development of similar elements that are collectively referred to as an RMP. EPA’s regulation is more expansive than PSM, requiring development of an RMP for what it defines as a regulated substance. EPA included requirements to develop and submit a hazard assessment (40 CFR §68.20 et seq); not required under PSM. Hazard assessments contain an offsite consequence analysis for two scenarios (worst-case and alternative), evaluation of offsite impacts to the population and environment, and a five-year accident history.
Why Does OSHA Do Inspections
OSHA inspections are conducted without advance notice and can be conducted using on-site or telephone investigations. The inspections are performed by OSHA personnel called Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs). Inspections are based on the following priorities:
• Imminent danger, or any condition where there is reasonable certainty that a danger exists that can be expected to cause death or serious physical harm immediately or before the danger can be eliminated through normal enforcement procedures. OSHA gives top priority to imminent danger situations.
• Catastrophes and fatal accidents resulting in the death of any employee or a hospitalization, amputation, or loss of eye.
• Employee complaints involving imminent danger or an employer violation that threatens death or serious physical harm.
• Referrals from other individuals, agencies, organizations, or the media.
• Planned or programmed inspections in industries with a high number of hazards and associated injuries.
• Follow-ups to previous inspections.
When an inspector finds violations of standards or serious hazards, OSHA may issue citations and fines. A citation includes methods an employer may use to fix a problem and the date by when the corrective actions must be completed. Depending on the type, individual violations can be as much as $132,598.
OSHA can cite the General Duty Clause when no specific standard applies to a recognizable safety hazard.
Employers have the right to contest any part of the citation, including whether a violation exists. Workers only have the right to challenge the deadline for when a problem must be resolved. Appeals of citations are heard by the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Air Permit Applicability Determination
One of the most common questions consultants are asked is if an emission source currently in operation or soon to be located at a facility is required to have an air permit. This question involves some research as there is not a one size fits all answer.
Each state has their own independent requirements for which sources are required to have an air permit, making these determinations difficult to answer on the spot as the regulations need to be reviewed. Consultants may respond to this question in a multitude of ways, including “it depends” or “maybe” or “I’ll need to review the regulation.” In my experience the best answer when looking at the structure of state regulations is “yes a permit is required, unless an exemption can be found.”
Each state requires an air permit for any stationary source (or emission unit) emitting to the atmosphere unless the source qualifies for an exemption. For example, the state of Wisconsin states inWis. Adm. Code NR §406.03(1) that “[…] no person may commence construction, reconstruction, replacement, relocation or modification of a stationary source unless the person has a construction permit for the source or unless the source is exempt from the requirement to obtain a permit […]”.
Risk Management Plan (RMP) - The Basics
EPA’s Chemical Accident Prevention Provisions promulgated at 40 CFR §68 is commonly referred to as a Risk Management Plan (RMP). Requirements are similar to OSHA’sProcess Safety Management (PSM), but go further in several respects.
One difference is that it regulates more chemicals than PSM. For instance, PSM regulates aqueous ammonia above 44% concentration if the onsite quantity exceeds 15,000 pounds. However, RMP further regulates aqueous ammonia above 20% concentration (and below 44%) if more than 20,000 pounds is stored onsite.
Chemicals that are not subject to PSM are regulated under either Program 1 or 2. Facilities are eligible for Program 1 (40 CFR §68.10(g)) if they have not had an accidental release within the past five years that led to certain offsite consequences and the distance to a toxic or flammable endpoint is less than the distance to a public receptor (based on modeled results). Program 2 applies to any chemical that does not qualify for Program 1 or Program 3. RMP Program 3 is triggered for any chemical subject to PSM.
Tier II Reporting
Tier II is a federal statutory requirement passed by Congress under the Superfund Amendment and Reauthorization Act (SARA) in 1986. Title III of SARA established the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), which provides citizens with information on hazardous chemicals used by any entities in their community.
EPCRA follows the OSHA definition of a hazardous chemical from 29 CFR §1910.1200(c) as “[…] any chemical which is classified as a physical hazard or a health hazard, a simple asphyxiant, combustible dust, pyrophoric gas, or hazard not otherwise classified.”
A more simplistic determination for Tier II reporting purposes is to report all chemicals at or above 10,000 pounds that have a Safety Data Sheet (SDS), with some exemptions.
EPA includes a list of Extremely Hazardous Substances (EHS) in appendices A and B of 40 CFR §355. These EHS trigger the Tier II reporting requirement if the amount stored exceeds the Threshold Planning Quantity (TPQ) or 500 pounds, whichever is lower (note the TPQ is included on EPA’s List of Lists).
One commonly reported EHS is sulfuric acid. The TPQ for sulfuric acid is 1,000 pounds, therefore the reporting threshold for sulfuric acid is 500 pounds. This threshold is reached quickly by lead acid batteries found throughout many facilities (e.g. electric forklifts).
There are some important exemptions within the definition of Hazardous Chemical in 40 CFR §355.61. One exemption used regularly is the household use exemption, which states in part that any substance is exempt from the definition of hazardous chemical if it is “[…] present in the same form and concentration as a product packaged for distribution and use by the general public.” This exemption applies regardless of whether the chemical is used for the same purpose as the consumer product. Additional exemptions may apply to a specific substance, and each needs to be reviewed to determine if an exemption applies.
Hazardous Waste - 40 CFR Part 260 - 282
Hazardous wastes are substances that you may have used or produced at your facility or in your business and no longer need or want. They can cause serious problems if not properly handled and disposed of, and have the potential to:
- Cause injury or death, or
- Damage or pollute land, air, or water.
Simply defined, a hazardous waste is a waste with properties that make it dangerous or capable of having a harmful effect on human health or the environment. EPA’s hazardous waste rules focus on preventing waste from reaching the environment.
HAZARDOUS WASTE GENERATION
Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), all generators must determine if their waste is hazardous and must oversee the fate of the waste. Generators must ensure and fully document that the hazardous waste that they produce is properly identified, managed, and treated prior to recycling or disposal. The degree of regulation that applies to each generator depends on the amount of waste that a generator produces.
If a waste meets the definition of a solid waste, the generator must investigate whether the waste is a listed or characteristic hazardous waste, or whether the waste is specifically excluded from regulation as a solid or hazardous waste.
LISTED HAZARDOUS WASTE
Listed hazardous waste is waste which:
- Is listed on any of the four lists of hazardous wastes contained in the RCRA regulations, or
- Exhibits one of the characteristics described below, or
- Contains any toxic constituents that have been shown to be harmful to health and evironment.
CHARACTERISTIC HAZARDOUS WASTE
Even if a waste does not appear on one of EPA’s lists, it is considered hazardous if the waste possesses one or more of the following characteristics:
- IGNITIBILITY: easily combustible or flammable, such as paint wastes, degreasers, or other solvents;
- CORROSIVITY: dissolves metals, other materials, or burns the skin, such as waste rust removers, waste acid or alkaline cleaning fluids, and waste battery acids;
- REACTIVITY: unstable, undergoes rapid or violent reaction with water or other materials, such as cyanide plating wastes, waste bleaches, and other waste oxidizers; and
- TOXICITY: harmful or fatal when swallowed or in contact with skin, or which pollutes groundwater if it is improperly disposed of on land. Wastes are tested for toxicity using the Toxicity Characteristic Leachate Procedure (TCLP).
LARGE QUANTITY GENERATOR (LQG)
- A large quantity generator (LQG) of hazardous waste is a generator that meets any one of the following criteria:
- Produces over 1000 kg of hazardous waste per month;
- Produces over 1 kg of acute hazardous waste per month;
- Produces over 100 kg of residue or contaminated soil from the cleanup of an acute hazardous waste spill; OR
- Accumulates more than 6000 kg of hazardous waste on-site.
SMALL QUANTITY GENERATOR (SQG)
A small quantity generator (SQG) of hazardous waste is a generator that:
- Produces at least 100 but no more than 1000 kg of hazardous waste per month;
- Produces no more than 1 kg of acute hazardous waste per month; AND
- Accumulates no more than 6000 kg of hazardous waste on-site.
Some states have different generator and accumulation categories, and many states allow storage for shorter periods of time and smaller quantities of hazardous waste. An SQG may accumulate hazardous waste on-site for up to 180 days, or 270 days if the waste is to be shipped over 200 miles away for treatment, storage, or disposal.
Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Rule
The SPCC (Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure) rule was put in place by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in order to prevent oil discharges from occurring that impact navigable waters or adjoining shorelines. This rule is part of the EPA’s oil spill prevention program under the Clean Water Act of 1974.
SPCC is required for facilities with a combined aboveground oil storage capacity greater than 1,320 gallons OR buried oil storage capacity greater than 42,000 gallons, while considering a reasonable expectation for discharge to U.S. navigable waters/shorelines. When making the applicability determination, ditches, storm sewers, drainage systems, creeks, streams and precipitation runoff must all be considered. If eligible under the SPCC rule, the facility owner or operator is required to prevent oil spills and have an SPCC plan in place.
IATA DGR Changes – What’s new for 2023?
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is comprised of about 290 airlines, which make up 83% of global air transportation. IATA requires its members, and anyone using their services, to comply with the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR) when shipping dangerous goods (hazardous materials). So, if you are shipping dangerous goods by air, the odds are, you will need to comply with the IATA DGR.
IATA updates their DGR every year, so it’s important to stay informed of any changes. Updates to the 64th Edition of the IATA DGR, include:
- Clarifying requirements for excepted quantities of dangerous goods.
- Adding new States and amending variations for existing States for the List of State Variations.
- Revising classification provisions for self-reactive substances, organic peroxides, and corrosives.
- Removing the lithium battery test summary requirement for button cells installed in equipment.
- Changing numerous items in the Dangerous Goods List and special provisions sections.
- Revising several references for Packing Instructions, including those for lithium batteries.
- Removing of the phone number requirement on the lithium battery mark.
- Extending the transitional period for the dangerous goods statement on the air waybill by two years, until December 31, 2024.
- Removing Appendix H (guidance for competency-based training) from the DGR and creating a stand-alone document.
Mandatory compliance with the 64th Edition of the IATA DGR begins on January 1, 2023. Don’t get caught out in the cold, start preparing for the changes now.
Contact us for a no-obligation discussion about your safety and compliance program.