MSDS versus SDS and the New Hazard Communication Standard

By Guest Blogger:  Lisa Stringfellow of Graphic Products

On December 1, 2013—about one year from now—the implementation of training to theehs compliance consultant in south florida, MSDS, SDS, Hazard Communications, HazCom, OSHA, GHS new Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200) will be required.  This includes changes in the way hazards of chemicals are conveyed.  One key aspect of this change is the replacement of MSDSs (Material Safety Data Sheets) with SDSs (Safety Data Sheets). The changes are designed to simplify communication regarding hazardous materials and promote international consistency.

What’s the difference between MSDS and SDS?
MSDSs are lengthy documents that accompany hazardous chemicals. They indicate all the dangers associated with the material, as well as instructions regarding handling, storage and disposal. MSDSs are a key aspect of the Right-to-Know provision of OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard. The standard being phased out allowed for several formats for an MSDS, including an OSHA version with eight sections and an ANSI version with 16 sections. OSHA’s HazCom 2012, based on the GHS standard, requires GHS’s own 16-section version. The “M” in MSDS is being dropped as well. So in short, the name is being simplified, and the format is being standardized.

The 16 sections in an SDS are required in the following order:

  1. Identification: Product identifier; manufacturer or distributor name, address, phone number; emergency phone number; recommended use; restrictions on use.
  2. Hazard(s) identification: All hazards regarding the chemical; required label elements.
  3. Composition/information on ingredients: Information on chemical ingredients; trade secret claims.
  4. First-aid measures: Important symptoms/effects, acute, delayed; required treatment.
  5. Fire-fighting measures: Suitable extinguishing techniques, equipment; chemical hazards from fire.
  6. Accidental release measures: Emergency procedures; protective equipment; proper methods of containment and cleanup.
  7. Handling and storage: Precautions for safe handling and storage, including incompatibilities.
  8. Exposure controls/personal protection: OSHA’s Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs); Threshold Limit Values (TLVs); appropriate engineering controls; personal protective equipment (PPE).
  9. Physical and chemical properties: List of the chemical’s characteristics.
  10. Stability and reactivity: Chemical stability and possibility of hazardous reactions.
  11. Toxicological information: Routes of exposure; related symptoms, acute and chronic effects; numerical measures of toxicity.
  12. Ecological information*
  13. Disposal considerations*
  14. Transport information*
  15. Regulatory information*
  16. Other information: Includes the date of preparation or last revision and any other pertinent information.

*Note: OSHA won’t enforce Sections 12 through 15 because they fall under the regulatory authority of other agencies.

Need more information on the difference between MSDS and SDS or other expected changes from the Hazard Communication Standard see OSHA’s Fact Sheet on the Hazard Communication Standard or leave a comment below.

 

 

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The Basics of Stormwater Permitting

One of the areas I recently investigated for an industrial client was the need for a Clean Water Act, CWA, ehs compliance, ehs consultant in south floridastormwater permit or a No Exposure Certificate so I thought this would be a good topic of which to give an overview.   Stormwater is generated from melting snow, precipitation and run-off from irrigation.  It is classified into two categories either non-point source or point source.  Most stormwater from roads, parking areas and buildings is classified as point source which is defined as “any discernible, confined and discrete conveyance…”.  As point sources, stormwater discharges are covered by the Clean Water Act’s  (CWA) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting process.  This process is applicable to the following three areas:

  1. Multiple Separate Stormwater Systems (MS4)—these are conveyance systems for stormwater that are:
    a) owned by a public entity (i.e. a city, town or state) and discharge to waters of the US;
    b) designed or used to collect or convey stormwater (including storm drains, pipes, ditches, etc.);
    c) they are not part of a combined sewer;
    d) they are not part of a Publicly Owned Treatment Works (sewage treatment plant).
  2. Construction Activities—these are sites that a one acre or greater that typically require the EPA’s Construction General Permit (CGP) administered by the state in which the construction activity is located or by the EPA for states without authorized NPDES stormwater programs.  The EPA’s CGP was updated in February of this year and details of the most recent changes can be found at EPA’s Construction General Permit (CGP).
  3. Industrial Activities—there are ten (10) industrial activities that are covered by the Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP) if EPA is the regulating authority then industrial activities that fall within these categories will require an MSGP.

Construction and Industrial activities are governed by all but a few states—where they are not the regional office of the EPA is the governing authority.   The delegation of the NPDES stormwater program makes it variable among the states so be certain to check your state to ensure compliance.

Do you have additional questions about the NPDES permitting process.  If so, please find additional resources below or feel free to leave a comment below:

Stormwater Basics
http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater/swbasicinfo.cfm

EPA Website for Industrial Stormwater Discharges
http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater/indust.cfm?program_id=6

Industrial Stormwater Permit Guide
http://www.pneac.org/stormwater/

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Using Strategic Thinking

There is lots of buzz about “strategy” from strategic planning to strategic objectives but strategic thinking, ehs leadership, ehs consultant in south floridahaving a strategic though pattern can assist an EHS professional in ensuring effectiveness.      Strategic thinking was the title of one of the sessions I attended at the American Society for Safety Engineers (ASSE) Leadership Symposium.  The session was given by Trish Ennis and focused on how leaders in the EHS industry can think more strategically although her discussion points can be applied to leaders in any industry.  She suggested the following as benefits of thinking strategically:

  • Saves time & effort
  • Makes the most of limited resources
  • Attracts funding
  • Gets people on board
  • Enhances chances of success
  • Increases job satisfaction
  • Simplifies the difficult
  • Prompts one to ask that right questions
  • Promotes customization
In addition to presenting the benefits Ms. Ennis talked to tips on thinking strategically.
She focused on the approach of zooming in or zooming out–knowing when to take a big picture view of an issue or alternatively when to get down to the details.   She also highlighted the importance of being able to use both views simultaneously which gives different perspectives that can change our interaction with others and give us the aforementioned benefits.  She presented two case studies that assisted in identifying practicals ways to implement strategic thinking.  The first case study was on Cynthia Carol of Anglo America, from an article that I reviewed in an earlier post entitled Are Radical Changes Required to Implement An Effective Safety Culture? 
  The second case study, of which I was unfamiliar, discussed Paul O’Neill the former CEO of Alcoa.  Both focused on safety programs that were failing–Anglo America with a number of fatalities, Alcoa with poor quality and employee dissatisfaction.  Thinking strategically forced both companies to make hard decisions which ultimately lead to a turn around in their programs.  Anglo America saw a marked decrease in fatalities and Alcoa reduced injuries and improved quality.  Additional keys to thinking strategically emphasized by Ennis were:
  • Breaking down the issues
  • Asking WHY before HOW
  • Identifying the real issue or objective
  • Reviewing the resources 

Do you have other keys to assist with thinking strategically?  Join the conversation and leave a comment below.

 

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NFPA Standards Incorporated by Reference

Did you know the following 36 National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) standards and OSHA, NFPA standards, incorporated by reference, ehs consultant in south floridaany revisions thereafter are incorporated by reference  into the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) regulations per 29 CFR 1910.6?  This means that an OSHA audit can yield findings from these standards in addition to those cited directly in 29 CFR 1904, 1910 or 1926.  You can obtain free read-only access to the standards by creating a login at the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA)  website, clicking on the tab entitled Codes & Standards, then clicking on the left menu item entitled “Document Information pages (List of NFPA codes & standards)” and then clicking on the code in which you’re interested.  I find that in practice I use NFPA 101 Life Safety Code, NFPA 30 Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code and NFPA 505 Standard for Type Designations, Areas of Use, Maintenance, and Operation of Powered Industrial Trucks the most but following is the list of others that may be needed for compliance.

  1. NFPA 30 (1969) Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code, IBR approved for §1910.178(f)(1).
  2. NFPA 32-1970 Standard for Dry Cleaning Plants, IBR approved for §1910.106(j)(6)(i)
  3. NFPA 33-1969 Standard for Spray Finishing Using Flammable and Combustible Material, IBR approved for § 1910.94(c)(2).
  4. NFPA 34-1966 Standard for Dip Tanks Containing Flammable or Combustible Liquids, IBR approved for §1910.124(b)(4)(iv).
  5. NFPA 34-1995 Standard for Dip Tanks Containing Flammable or Combustible Liquids, IBR approved for §1910.124(b)(4)(ii).
  6. NFPA 35-1970 Standard for the Manufacture of Organic Coatings, IBR approved for §1910.106(j)(6)(ii).
  7. NFPA 36-1967 Standard for Solvent Extraction Plants, IBR approved for §1910.106(j)(6)(iii).
  8. NFPA 37-1970 Standard for the Installation and Use of Stationary Combustion Engines and Gas Turbines, IBR approved for §§1910.106(j)(6)(iv) and 1910.110(b)(20)(iv)(c) and (e)(11).
  9. NFPA 51B-1962 Standard for Fire Protection in Use of Cutting and Welding Processes, IBR approved for §1910.252(a)(1) introductory text.
  10. NFPA 54-1969 Standard for the Installation of Gas Appliances and Gas Piping, IBR approved for §1910.110(b)(20)(iv)(a).
  11. NFPA 54A-1969 Standard for the Installation of Gas Piping and Gas Equipment on Industrial Premises and Certain Other Premises, IBR approved for §1910.110(b)(20)(iv)(b).
  12. NFPA 58-1969 Standard for the Storage and Handling of Liquefied Petroleum Gases (ANSI Z106.1-1970), IBR approved for §§1910.110(b)(3)(iv) and (i)(3)(i) and (ii); and 1910.178(f)(2).
  13. NFPA 59-1968 Standard for the Storage and Handling of Liquefied Petroleum Gases at Utility Gas Plants, IBR approved for §§1910.110(b)(3)(iv) and (i)(2)(iv).
  14. NFPA 62-1967 Standard for the Prevention of Dust Explosions in the Production, Packaging, and Handling of Pulverized Sugar and Cocoa, IBR approved for §1910.263(k)(2)(i).
  15. NFPA 68-1954 Guide for Explosion Venting, IBR approved for §1910.94(a)(2)(iii).
  16. NFPA 78-1968 Lightning Protection Code, IBR approved for §1910.109(i)(6)(ii).
  17. NFPA 80-1968 Standard for Fire Doors and Windows, IBR approved for §1910.106(d)(4)(i).
  18. NFPA 80-1970 Standard for the Installation of Fire Doors and Windows, IBR approved for § 1910.253(f)(6)(i)(I).
  19. NFPA 86A-1969 Standard for Oven and Furnaces Design, Location and Equipment, IBR approved for §§1910.107(j)(1) and (l)(3) and 1910.108(b)(2) and (d)(2).
  20. NFPA 91-1961 Standard for the Installation of Blower and Exhaust Systems for Dust, Stock, and Vapor Removal or Conveying (ANSI Z33.1-61), IBR approved for §1910.107(d)(1).
  21. NFPA 91-1969 Standards for Blower and Exhaust Systems, IBR approved for §1910.108(b)(1).
  22. NFPA 96-1970 Standard for the Installation of Equipment for the Removal of Smoke and Grease Laden Vapors from Commercial Cooking Equipment, IBR approved for §1910.110(b)(20)(iv)(d).
  23. NFPA 101-1970 Code for Life Safety From Fire in Buildings and Structures, IBR approved for §1910.261(a)(4)(ii).
  24. NFPA 101-2009, Life Safety Code, 2009 edition, IBR approved for § § 1910.34, 1910.35, 1910.36, and 1910.37.
  25. NFPA 203M-1970 Manual on Roof Coverings, IBR approved for §1910.109(i)(1)(iii)(c).
  26. NFPA 251-1969 Standard Methods of Fire Tests of Building Construction and Materials, IBR approved for §§1910.106(d)(3)(ii) introductory text and (d)(4)(i).
  27. NFPA 302-1968 Fire Protection Standard for Motor-Craft (Pleasure and Commercial), IBR approved for §1910.265(d)(2)(iv) introductory text.
  28. NFPA 385-1966 Recommended Regulatory Standard for Tank Vehicles for Flammable and Combustible Liquids, IBR approved for §1910.106(g)(1)(i)(e)(1).
  29. NFPA 496-1967 Standard for Purged Enclosures for Electrical Equipment in Hazardous Locations, IBR approved for §1910.103(c)(1)(ix)(e)(1).
  30. NFPA 505-1969 Standard for Type Designations, Areas of Use, Maintenance, and Operation of Powered Industrial Trucks, IBR approved for §1910.110(e)(2)(iv).
  31. NFPA 566-1965 Standard for the Installation of Bulk Oxygen Systems at Consumer Sites, IBR approved for §§1910.253(b)(4)(iv) and (c)(2)(v).
  32. NFPA 656-1959 Code for the Prevention of Dust Ignition in Spice Grinding Plants, IBR approved for §1910.263(k)(2)(i).
  33. NFPA 1971-1975 Protective Clothing for Structural Fire Fighting, IBR approved for § 1910.156(e)(3)(ii) introductory text.
  34. NFPA 51A (2001) Standard for Acetylene Cylinder Charging Plants, IBR approved for § 1910.102(b) and (c).
  35. NFPA 51A (2006) Standard for Acetylene Cylinder Charging Plants, IBR approved for § 1910.102(b) and (c).
  36. NFPA 30B, Code for the Manufacture and Storage of Aerosol Products, 2007 Edition, Approved August 17, 2006, IBR approved for Appendix B to § 1910.1200.

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Visual Communications & Spill Containment Strategies and Techniques

By Guest Blogger:  Jack Rubinger

From Portland to Pittsburgh, from the Arctic to the Adriatic, industrial chemical spills are common. Spill response teams need to act fast when these events occur, with the appropriate cleanup and communications supplies on hand.

Industry and the public are vitally concerned about spills and their potential economic and environmental impacts. Spills such as Exxon Valdez and the Gulf of Mexico spill incited strong reactions and have dramatically increased efforts by both industry and government to increase protection against spills.

Signs and labels provide safety communications at facilities, in the field and in multiple languages to workers, emergency responders and the public. When created by thermal transfer printers, signs and labels are very durable and adhere to stainless steel, concrete, glass and other surfaces. If an incident takes place after dark, phosphorescent tapes convey critical information.

Bar-coded asset labels make it much easier to identify equipment such as booms and vacuum trucks providing the ability to analyze, identify and return valuable equipment used onsite – a valuable inventory control application. This helps protect contractors while minimizing the risk of mistakes and audits.

Wherever chemicals are present, spills can occur and when they do occur a chemical spill response kit containing the following items can be helpful:

  • Disposable gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Absorbent (spill pillows, socks, sorbents)
  • Bags or bins for containment
  • Hazardous waste tags and labels to identify contents for appropriate disposal

Developments in Spill Prevention, Containment and Response Systems.  Training in the latest technologies and products is critical so hazmat workers can quickly contain and control spills. Training workers to a response plan can save valuable time when an emergency occurs.

Choosing the right absorbent for the application.  Spills should be contained and isolated first to prevent further contamination, and then work can be done to remove the contamination.  Isolation can be accomplished with two product types: absorbent and non-absorbent.  Absorbent isolation products include oil-only booms, sweeps and socks. Non-absorbent isolation products include berms and containment pools.

A third product type is designed for removing spills.  Removal products include pads, rugs and mats, pillows and loose sorbents which are used for oil, hazmat and universal applications. Universal removal products absorb oils, coolants, solvents and water. They are used for tool and chemical cabinets, parts cleaning and machine repairs. Oil-only removal products are used for oil spills on land and water, machine repair and parts cleaning.  Hazard removal products absorb acids, bases and unknown liquids. They are used for chemical spills, battery acid leaks and storage cabinet liners.

Diverters and drain guards prevent hazardous chemicals from draining into clean water supplies.

Spill kits have been developed for a wide range of spill volumes. Spill kits consist of items such as pads, socks, pillows, gloves, goggles and tamper-proof seals. Most kits are available in a universal, oil-only and hazmat format.

Visual communication and spill containment are a necessary part of facility and environmental management. Quick action and clear communication are always critical.

For more information, visit www.SpillArrest.com, call 888-326-9244 or email jarubinger@graphicproducts.com.

 

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Feedback: A Key to a Great EHS Program

EHS Programs, EHS Consultant in South FloridaLast week I had the privilege of attending the American Society of Safety Engineers Leadership Symposium “Safety is about Leadership.”  I had the opportunity to meet leaders in the industries of Organizational Development and Environmental, Health & Safety (EHS) Management.  I attended multiple sessions about how leadership principles impact the management of an EHS program.  One session that really stood out to me was on feedback “The Leadership Key to Improvement” by Dr. Kathy Hart of Clear Vision Consulting.   Dr. Hart spoke about giving and receiving feedback and that both are avenues through which we can improve management of our programs.  One principle that stood out to me was that “feedback is data–it is neither negative or positive” and is about “asking the right questions, the right way, to solicit sound and current data about an act or actions that have been undertaken.”  She pointed to the importance of understanding the source of the feedback and the need to ensure that it is from the appropriate level of an organization—the entire organization, a group or department within the organization or individuals.  She also gave examples of how to solicit feedback and highlighted the importance of not only the results but also their proper interpretation–this is the greatest benefit of feedback and the key to moving any program forward.  This really resonated with me because as a former onsite EHS professional and now EHS consultant, I understand the ease of getting lost in the daily grind and this presentation reminded me of the criticality of (1) asking our internal and external customers whether we are moving in the right direction with our programs and (2) determining that the programs are yielding their intended results.  Dr. Hart presented the following examples of ways in which to solicit feedback:

  • Surveys
  • Focus Groups
  • 1 on 1 Interviews
  • Dot Voting
  • Multi-Voting
  • Hi-Lo
  • Plus/Delta
  • Gradients of Agreement

In addition, Dr. Hart touched on the importance of asking good questions.  Questions that are open-ended or inquiry-based are those that facilitate information gathering and provide one of the best mechanisms for feedback solicitation.

Have you used any of the above to solicit feedback?  If yes, how did it work for you and how did you apply it?  If not, what methods have you found successful in soliciting feedback?  Join the discussion and share your thoughts in a comment below!

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Biomedical Waste Management

Did you know the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not regulate biomedical biomedical waste, regulated medical waste, division 6.2, ehs compliance consultant in south florida waste at the federal level?   Biomedical waste is typically regulated by the state and/or local government.  In Florida it is regulated by the Department of Health but is delegated to the counties within the state.  What is biomedical waste?  The answer is: it depends.  Since biomedical waste is regulated by the states each state has a definition.  In Florida, for example, biomedical waste is defined as “any solid or liquid waste which may present a threat of infection to  humans, including nonliquid tissue, body parts, blood, blood products, and body fluids from humans and other primates; laboratory and veterinary wastes which contain human disease-causing agents; and discarded sharps….”   One the other hand, in New Jersey (my home state) the waste is called regulated medical waste and includes  “any solid waste, generated in the diagnosis, treatment (for example, provision of medical services), or immunization of human beings or animals, in research pertaining thereto, or in the production or testing of biologicals….”  Both the Florida and New Jersey regulations have a list of materials that are also included following the definitions. Notice in Florida only human and other primate wastes are included while New Jersey includes humans and all animals—not only primates.  This highlights the importance of reviewing the regulations, especially if your company has facilities in multiple locations.

I recently created a procedure for the management of biomedical waste for a client.  One of the items I included was training requirements—in this case training was required annually and the state regulations specified what the training must include.  Also keep in mind that any employee who signs a biomedical waste shipping document typically confirms via the statement on the shipping paper that the waste is packaged and labeled according to the Department of Transportation Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR).   The HMR requires employees who affect the transportation of hazardous materials (including regulated medical waste division 6.2) to obtain training.  Learn more about the HMR requirements in my post on the subject.

Facilities that generate biomedical or regulated medical wastes are also likely required to comply with the Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s (OSHA) Bloodborne Pathogens Standard.   Unlike biomedical waste, this standard is regulated federally (perhaps by the state and local agencies as well) and requires employers to have an Exposure Control Plan, conduct training annually and provide employees with vaccinations for Hepatitis B.  Employees do have the option to refuse the vaccination but must sign a waiver found in Appendix A of 29 CFR 1910.1030.

Biomedical waste is not much different from other materials which facilities discard—like hazardous waste, compressed gases, flammable liquids—in that three main components must be considered: employee exposure, onsite management and transportation requirements.

Need more info?  Please find following some resources that provide additional information on the subject or feel free to leave a comment below:

State Medical Waste Programs & Regulations
Department of Transportation Division 6.2

 

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Spill Prevention Control & Countermeasures Plan Requirements

In the last post I briefly reviewed the Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures  SPCC Plans, Spill Prevention Control & Countermeasures, EHS Consultant in South Florida(SPCC) requirements.  Today’s post will focus on the information that must be included in an SPCC Plan.  The following requirements are summarized from the General Requirements for Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Plans found in 40 CFR 112.7.

  1. Physical layout of the facility including location of:
    1. Each fixed oil storage containers.
    2. Mobile or portable storage areas.
    3. Exempt underground tanks (marked as “exempt” in the layout).
    4. Transfer stations and connecting pipes (also include exempted lines).
  2. The type of oil and storage capacity for each fixed and mobile container.
  3. Discharge prevention measures including procedures for routine handling of products (loading, unloading, and facility transfers, etc.).
  4. Discharge or drainage controls such as secondary containment around containers and other structures, equipment, and procedures for the control of a discharge.
  5. Countermeasures for discharge discovery, response, and cleanup—including onsite capability and those that might be required of a contractor.
  6. Methods of disposal of recovered materials.
  7. Contact list and phone numbers for the facility response coordinator, National Response Center (NRC), cleanup contractors,  and all regulatory agencies who must be contacted in case of a discharge.
  8. Discharge event response procedures—this includes procedures that will provide ease of reporting information pertinent to the spill (i.e. type of material, location information, time and date, etc).
  9. Explanations for the omission of control measures listed in 40 CFR 112.7(c) or 112.7(h).
  10. Inspection and integrity test procedures for the oil containing equipment.
  11. Annual personnel training and discharge prevention briefing requirements and procedures.
  12.  Security procedures for oil containing equipment and processes.
  13. Information on how facility complies with the applicable requirements and other effective discharge prevention and containment procedures or any applicable more stringent State rules, regulations, and guidelines.

Keep in mind this list is extracted form the general federal requirements, additional requirements are found in 40 CFR 112 (i.e. Subpart B and Subpart C) and as always consider the state and local requirements of the facility.

A great starting place for plan creation is the templates provided for Tier I Qualified Facilities.  Even if your facility is Tier II or requires a Professional Engineer (PE) Certification you can reduce costs by drafting the plan and having the PE visit the facility, review and certify the plan.  Need more resources? Check out the EPA’s SPCC Homepage.

Have questions about creating an SPCC Plan?  Leave a comment below or send me an email at info at ehscsi.com.

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Spill Prevention Countermeasures and Control Requirements

In previous posts I have discussed some of the regulatory requirements associated withSPCC Requirements, Spill Prevention, EH&S Consultant in South Florida, Oil Spills the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Emergency Management Division: EPCRA and CERCLA.  Today’s post continues exploring these requirements with the Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures (SPCC) requirements found in 40 CFR 112.  The SPCC requirements are part of the Oil Pollution Prevention regulations which focus on preparedness and prevention of as well as the response to oil product spills into navigable waters.  The primary manner in which facilities are regulated by SPCC requirements are through the creation of an SPCC Plan that specifies actions taken to ensure oils do not reach navigable waters.

Let’s begin with the question: Which facilities need to comply with these regulations?  The General Applicability section found in 40 CFR 112.1 has a long list of requirements that trigger compliance: “onshore or offshore facilities engaged in drilling, producing, gathering, storing, processing, refining, transferring, distributing, using, or consuming oil and oil products, which due to its location, could reasonably be expected to discharge oil in quantities that may be harmful, as described in part 110 of this chapter, into or upon the navigable waters of the United States….”  One key to this regulation is defining navigable waters and oil.  Navigable waters include tributaries in addition to inter and intra state lakes, rivers and streams; while oil is that of any kind including animal fats.  The definition of oil is such that organizations across any sector can be impacted if large amounts of cooking oils are used for an onsite kitchen, cafeteria or catering service.

When analyzing regulatory applicability it’s important to consider the exemptions. For SPCC regulations, only facilities with above ground oil storage of greater than 1,320 gallons of oil in containers of 55 gallons or more are required to comply with this regulation.  If the facility has underground storage tanks then that threshold is increased to 42,000 gallons.   Other exemptions include:

  1. Motive power containers that are used to power trucks, cars, bulldozers and, other heavy equipment so far as the equipment is not used for the transfer or distribution of oil.  For obvious reasons, this exemption does not include drilling equipment or mobile refuelers.
  2. Hot-mix asphalt and containers.
  3. Pesticide application equipment or containers.
  4. Facilities that solely treat wastewater.

A 2009 revision to the SPCC regulations streamlined the process of implementing an SPCC Plan by allowing self-certification of the plan.  Facilities that have 10,000 gallons of oil or less may become a Tier I or Tier II Qualified Facility which allows for a modified SPCC Plan; otherwise facilities must comply with the full SPCC Plan requirement including certification by a Professional Engineer (PE).

In the next post I will tackle the requirements of SPCC Plans.  In the meantime, dive deeper into the SPCC requirements with the following resources:

EPA SPCC Homepage
Qualified Facility Fact Sheet
2009 SPCC Modifications

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Preparing for an Unannounced Inspection

While at a client site yesterday, I received a call that the Fire Department wanted to visitLEPC, EPCRA, environmental reporting, ehs consultant in south florida the facility.  About an hour later a representative from the local fire department was on-site.  Believe it or not, he wanted to see the chemicals reported on the Tier II report for the facility submitted earlier in the year—as discussed last week the Tier II report is due by March 1 of every year.  A practice that I have made a habit of is the creation of a documented evaluation of all materials present at a facility that are listed as Environmentally Hazardous Substances (EHS)—I also conduct this evaluation for any required regulatory reports.  The practice makes is much easier to explain to a regulator the reason for reporting or not reporting a specific chemical while greatly reducing questions and potential findings.

It is not only important to create adequate reporting documentation but also to file it in manner that makes it easy to locate in the event of an unannounced inspection.  Initially I was unable to find my files—needless to say this caused a bit of a panic—however, shortly after the inspector arrived I found the file and was able to provide him with the requested information and to correct some inaccuracies.   In addition to my calculations he asked for a site map, the location of all materials that were reported on the Tier II report, the facility’s emergency response plan and a list of emergency contacts.  This inspection points to the need to be prepared with documentation required by regulations applicable to your facility.  It also highlights the need to ensure communications about the location of such documentation.  What happens when the consultant or EHS professional is not on-site?  These scenarios should also be considered and plans created to address them.  Had I been unprepared or unable to locate the documentation, or if the client was not knowledgeable about the location of the files had I been off site, the facility would have most likely been cited and possibly fined for not meeting these requirements.

Are you prepared for your next unannounced inspection?  Do you have a practice that works in maintaining good records?  Please share by leaving a comment.

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