Insights

Exploring Exposure Limits: What do those numbers mean?

If you’ve ever attended safety training, you surely have heard the terms PEL, TLV, REL and STEL.  Do these letters really have a meaning or are they just a bunch of alphabet soup?  These acronyms all represent different occupational exposure limits (OELs) that are derived by different organizations.  An OEL is representative of the highest concentration a healthy worker can be exposed to for a full work week over the duration of their working life without experiencing an adverse effect.  Although similar, they each have a different goal and meaning.

Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL)

The Permissible Exposure Limit, or PEL, is the most widely known exposure limit.  This is the OSHA 8-hour time weighted average (TWA) exposure limit and is the only limit directly enforceable by regulation.  OSHA limits must be approved by Congress and take into account both health benefits and industry costs.  PELs are difficult to change because of the congressional approval required.  These […]

February 5th, 2020|Categories: Insights|Tags: , , , |

January Blog Recap!

WOW!  We’re already one month into 2020!  Here are the blogs from January!


 

Have You Made New Year’s Resolutions for Your Safety Program?

January 2nd:  

The start of the new year is a time for resolutions. Often the focus is on eating healthier, exercising more, or starting a new hobby.  For those of us in EHS it’s a perfect time to re-evaluate our safety programs and plan for and set goals for the new year.  Is your EHS program as robust as you would like it to be?

 


 

The Hierarchy of Controls

January 14th:

A basic tenant of any good industrial hygiene program is the application of the hierarchy of controls.  This mantra dictates that identified hazards should be addressed in the following order:

  • removal of hazard
  • substitution of hazard
  • engineering controls
  • administrative controls
  • personal protective equipment (PPE)

 


 

Does Your Company Need to Post OSHA Form 300A?

January 22nd:

OSHA Form 300A, Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, […]

February 1st, 2020|Categories: Insights|

OSHA Commemorates 50 Years of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970

OSHA announced on January 21st that they will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) with a year-long celebration of past achievements, current efforts, and future initiatives and goals to ensure the safety of the American workforce. Their 2020 celebration campaign is called Protecting the American Workforce.

The news release on this provided some interesting history on OSHA.  Did you know that the OSH Act was signed into law by President Nixon in December of 1970? Following the passage of the Act, OSHA was created in the spring of 1971. According to OSHA, the Act was created “to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women.” Their statistics show that following the establishment of the OSH Act, workplace fatalities were reduced approximately 65 percent!

U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia commented that “America’s workplaces are safer and healthier thanks to the OSH Act and the […]

January 30th, 2020|Categories: Insights|

Does Your Company Need to Post OSHA Form 300A?

OSHA Form 300A, Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, is used to summarize the recordable injuries and illnesses for the previous year and includes the number of days work was lost or restricted, and the types of injuries and illnesses that occurred.  Information about the company, including the average number of employees and total hours worked by all employees must also be recorded.

Form 300A must be posted from February 1 through April 30 each year.  If no recordable incidents or illnesses occurred during the previous year, the form must still be completed and posted reflecting zero recordable cases. The information in Form 300A is based on information recorded in OSHA Form 300, Log of Work Related Injuries and Illnesses. However, certain employers are exempt from these reporting requirements.

Employers with 10 or fewer employees are not required to prepare Form 300 or Form 300A. In addition, only industries within certain North American Industrial Classification (NAICS) […]

January 22nd, 2020|Categories: Insights|

The Hierarchy of Controls

A basic tenant of any good industrial hygiene program is the application of the hierarchy of controls.  This mantra dictates that identified hazards should be addressed in the following order:

  • removal of hazard
  • substitution of hazard
  • engineering controls
  • administrative controls
  • personal protective equipment (PPE)     

Generally speaking, the first two options are not available by the time it reaches the safety team.  This means that we are usually charged with finding the appropriate control mix to ensure employees are adequately protected.  This typically takes the form of some combination of engineering, administrative and PPE controls.

Engineering controls include equipment that physically removes or isolates a hazard from the employee.  Examples of engineering controls include fume hoods, interlocks on equipment and separate control rooms.  The proper use of an appropriate engineering control will either remove or greatly reduce the possibility of hazard exposure.  As the most robust form of hazard control, engineering options are always the first […]

January 14th, 2020|Categories: Insights|

Have You Made New Year’s Resolutions for Your Safety Program?

The start of the new year is a time for resolutions. Often the focus is on eating healthier, exercising more, or starting a new hobby.  For those of us in EHS it’s a perfect time to re-evaluate our safety programs and plan for and set goals for the new year.  Is your EHS program as robust as you would like it to be?  If you think there’s room for improvement some program areas to reassess include:

 

Compliance Deadlines

The beginning of the new year is the perfect time to ensure that a regulatory tracking calendar is established for ensuring ongoing compliance throughout the year.  Considerations include when the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) meeting will be held; when the chemical inventory will be conducted and SDS reconciled; when annual refresher training sessions will take place; and when permits will need to be renewed. Don’t forget to include facilities-related items such as fume hood and biological safety cabinet […]

January 2nd, 2020|Categories: Insights|

HAZWOPER Training!

OSHA’s hazardous waste operations and emergency response regulation, 29 CFR 1910.120, stipulates requirements for emergency response operations involving releases of hazardous substances. Employees participating in emergency response are required to be HAZWOPER trained based on the duties and function they would serve in an emergency response situation.

First Responder Operations Level, FROL, trained individuals are trained to respond to hazardous material releases with the purpose of protecting nearby persons, property, or the environment from the effects of the release. FROL trained individuals respond in a defensive manner and do not try to stop the release. If an individual is expected to respond to a release of a hazardous material with the intent of stopping the release, they are required to be trained to the level of hazardous materials technician.

Individuals that are involved in determining if a spill of hazardous materials is considered controlled or uncontrolled should attend this training. If you are the person that […]

January 1st, 2020|Categories: Insights|

New Massachusetts Hazardous Waste Regulations in Effect

The Mass DEP’s updated Hazardous Waste Regulations have been published and are available on the MassDEP website.    The changes become effective on November 15, 2019. According to the DEP, these amendments will result in better management and control of hazardous wastes, increased recycling and reuse of regulated materials, streamlined requirements, and greater regulatory certainty. Updates were made to both the  Hazardous Waste (310 CMR 30.000) and  Solid Waste Regulations (310 CMR 16.00) regulations:  These updates include:

Solvent Wipes Rule – Amendments to 310 CMR 30.010 and 310 CMR 30.104 adopt EPA’s conditional hazardous waste exemption for solvent-contaminated wipes (e.g., ethanol and isopropyl alcohol wipes). Solvent-contaminated wipes that are sent for disposal are not hazardous waste provided certain conditions of the exclusion are met. These include that the solvent-contaminated wipes, when accumulated, stored, and transported, are contained in non-leaking, closed containers that are labeled “Excluded Solvent-Contaminated Wipes.” Note that solvent-contaminated wipes that contain listed hazardous […]

December 18th, 2019|Categories: Insights|

What is Industrial Hygiene?

Industrial hygiene (IH) is a science and art devoted to the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, prevention and control of workplace hazards.  These basic principles are applied to all safety programs at some level, but IH delves deeper into hazard analysis through data collection by various sampling techniques.  Simply put, IH is the scientist/engineer of your safety program.

A Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) has the highest level of credentials attainable in the field.  A CIH is trained to collect and interpret data.  To gain this credential, you must have a bachelor’s degree in a scientific field, specific course work related to IH, letters of recommendation, at least 4 years of field experience and pass a rigorous exam.  Once certified, the CIH must renew every 5 years by participating in continuing education and field work.  Earning a CIH stamp is a big undertaking, but is an important step in advancing as an IH professional.

Engaging with a CIH to […]

December 10th, 2019|Categories: Insights|

November Safety Tip Recap

Still stuffed after Thanksgiving?  Move the belt down a loop and relax with our November safety blogs!

 


 

Cambridge Biosafety Permitting Has Gone Online!

November 13th:  The Cambridge Public Health Department has unveiled their new permitting platform for new Cambridge Biosafety permits and renewals. The transition to the online system requires that each currently permitted company enter all the required information in a new record for that company on the Cambridge Public Health Department’s online ViewPoint platform, under Laboratory Biosafety.

 


 

Changes to OSHA Injury and Illness Electronic Reporting Requirements

November 20th:  Are you prepared for complying with OSHA’s revised injury and illness reporting requirements? OSHA issued a final rule in 2019 to amend its injury and illness record keeping regulation (29 CFR 1904). The changes eliminate the requirement for covered establishments with 250 or more employees to electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) and OSHA Form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident […]

December 6th, 2019|Categories: Insights|