Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Environmental Information Association 33rd Annual Conference & Exhibition 2016

This year the American Council for Accredited Certifications (ACAC) held its executive board meeting the weekend the Environmental Information Association's (EIA's) 33rd Annual Conference & Exhibition started.  Giving us the opportunity to attend this organization's conference for the first time.  We've been a member of EIA since we joined the Professional Abatement Contractors of New York (PACNY).  This is another benefit of becoming a member of PACNY    The mission statement for the EIA, formerly known as the National Asbestos Council, is "it's multi-disciplinary membership will collect, generate and disseminate information concerning environmental health hazards to occupants of buildings, industrial sites and other facility operations."

The 33rd Annual Conference & Exhibition was held March 6-9, 2016 at the Tropicana Las Vegas Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada.  The twitter hashtag for the conference was #EIAPROUD & #EIA2016 and Future Environment Design's twitter hashtag for the conference was #FEDTCEIA.  The conference was definitely full of information concerning environmental health hazards between the exhibition hall and the presentations.  We definitely were quite impressed with scope of the presentations.  The presentations ran in sessions so there were side by side presentations.  This was a disadvantage of the conference with so many presentations running at the same time we had to miss a few presentations that coincided with other presentations we wanted to hear.  One presentation we missed was Mr. Lee Poye's presentation on "Cumulative Summary of the Variety, Size, and Aspect Ratio of Respirable Elongated Mineral Particles (REMPs) Compiled During Analysis of over 400 Human Lung Tissue Samples".  From those who attended the presentation, the data provided information regarding the type and size (0.5 micron and smaller) of REMPs most commonly encountered in human lung tissue effected by asbestos related disease.

Dan Lier's Presentation was Inspiring & Interactive

The presentation by Mr. Dan Lier, "Maximize Your True Potential" was inspiring and had several attendees quoting him throughout the conference.  Several presentations we attended provided significant information for our future classes.  We attended Mr. Vincent Brennan's & Mr. Chris Walker's presentation on the University of Vermont's confined space program in relation to the new Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) confined spaces in construction standard.  Major points from this presentation was the importance of rescue services and the importance of practicing rescues in the confined space you may need to make a rescue in.  Mr. Guy Sylvester's, of Absolute Resource Associates, presentation was on the "Mold Legislation for New Hampshire" which provided insight into the legislation process of how a mold law can come into being (probably some similarity to how it happened in New York).  Mr. Adam Andrew's, of ACAC, presentation on "Certification: Asset or Liability?" provided additional information regarding the levels of certifications and the advantages of being certified.  Linda Reinstein's, of Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), asbestos presentation was loaded with information and passion as usual.  Peter Delucia & Gregg Mance's, of ACC Contracting, presentation "Asbestos Q&A: Inconsistencies & Ambiguities in the Regulation" had some technical glitches but was well researched and thought out.  Ms. Amy Hensley's, of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), presentation "PCBs 101" provided significant information on the history, regulations and handling of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

Grayling Industries during Vendor Introductions

The exhibition hall was where box lunches were eaten and the vendor introduction on Tuesday night with the happy hour was informative, too.  Graylings Industries, Aramsco, & Fiberlock were some of the exhibitors we typically see at the PACNY conference, along with EMSL & RJ Lee Group.  Two interesting exhibitors were InspectManager a mobile inspection system and Mycometer, a rapid microbiology - on-site technology.  Both exhibitors were very interesting and had presentations on their products.  The Mycometer information we've added to both our New York State Mold Assessment & Remediation classes.  Overall we were quite impressed with the presentations and the information we gathered from this event.  The EIA's next event is there Fall Technical Seminar being held on October 14, 2016 at Rosen Shingle Creek, Orlando, Florida.  We'll be going this year and we hope to see you there!             

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Another Great PACNY Conference - Part Two

As we discussed in our previous post, the Professional Abatement Contractors of New York's  (PACNY's) 20th Annual Environmental Conference was witty, intelligent, & had a magnetic personality.  Held at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York for all three days was magnetic with excitement.  Wednesday night included the first annual PACNY Poker Tournament won by Mr. Chuck Kirch of Environmental Compliance Management Corp.  However, we digress, the Technical Session on Thursday continued after lunch with presentations from Dr. Bryan Bandli, PhD of RJ Lee Group on the "Quantification of Amphibole Asbestos in Loose Fill Vermiculite - A validation case study" written with an eye to New York State approving it for bulk vermiculite analysis.  Then Ed Cahill of EMSL presented on "Identifying and Dealing with Naturally Occurring Asbestos in Surveys".  Exhibit Hall break followed and the issuing of the wrist bands for the Vendor reception after the last presentation.

Deb Sanscrainte of Aramsco, Lisa Brown of Summit Environmental the PACNY Adinistrator, & Lynn Burlingham of Cornerstone Training Institute
The final presentation of the Thursday Technical Session was Mr. Tom Laubenthal of The Environmental Institute (A division of ATC Group Services).  Mr. Laubenthal's presentation was on the "American Society of Testing Materials (ASTM) E2356-14 Standard Practice for Comprehensive Building Asbestos Surveys" which included a letter from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding the ASTM standard and its relevance in performing asbestos surveys for compliance with the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants' (NESHAP's) "thorough inspection" requirement.  The letter and the standard are extremely helpful information for performing a proper inspection in order to comply with the NESHAP regulations, which we will add to our asbestos inspector courses (a copy of the letter can be found at our Resource Page on our website, Click on the link to the Dropbox Folder.  The letter is in the EPA folder).  The day ended with the vendor reception in the Vendor Hall.  One of the interesting vendors was qub9 Environmental which is creating portable decontamination units from shipping containers.  Unfortunately, they didn't have a container at the conference to see how it would work.  We thank everyone who stopped by our booth to say hello and enter there card for the drawing on Friday.

There were 27 vendors in the vendor hall and the reception was a perfect way to end the Technical Session first day.
It was an honor for me to present on Friday with Mr. Bob Krell of IAQ Tech on the New York State (NYS) Mold Law Article 32.  A big Thank You! to everyone who encouraged me with my first presentation at PACNY.  Our presentation was very well-balanced between technical and overview, in my humble opinion.  The usual highlight of the last day of the conference is the panel from NYS Department of Labor (NYSDOL) led by Dr. Eileen Franko, Director of the Division of Safety and Health; which included Mr. James Meachum, P.E., manager of the Asbestos Control Program; Mr. Ed Smith, P.E. of the Engineering Services Unit; and "Mean" Mr. Kirk Fisher, manager of the License and Certification Unit.  Some of the highlights of the presentations by the panel included changes to Industrial Code Rule 56; additional inspections of school districts regarding compliance with the AHERA (Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act) regulation (Long Island School Districts can expect to see NYSDOL this spring); there will be a public comment period for rules and regulations under the new mold law (Article 32) and an expectation that mold supervisors may need to be present at mold projects; code officials must provide condemnation letters for demolition projects; emergency projects are handled on a case-by-case basis and the information should be forthright and accurate; and what consists of a contamination assessment.  Some of the changes to Code Rule 56 are removing the 1974 cut off date and adding responsibilities and teeth to the project monitor.  The conference ended with lunch and a final networking among attendees.

FED Team (Kimberly Granmoe, Sheryl Esposito, Veronica & Angelo Garcia III) at the Vendor Reception
Overall the conference was an excellent source of information, the presentations have helped to improve our classes, and was an excellent networking event in meeting regulators, suppliers, trainers, consultants and contractors.  If you missed the conference and you want to get some additional highlights, you can head over to Twitter and search for our tweets during the conference under the hastag #FEDTCPACNY.  We look forward to attending next year's event (scheduled for March 1-3, 2017, so save the dates) and hope to see you there!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Another Great Conference! PACNY Does It Again! - Part One

This year, 2016 in the Chinese New Year is the year of the Monkey.  Monkeys are witty, intelligent and have a magnetic personality.  Well that description pretty much describes the 20th Annual Environmental Conference held by the Professional Abatement Contractors of New York (PACNY) this year.  The three day conference started with the Third Annual Proficiency Day on Wednesday, February 24 and finished on Friday, February 26 with the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) panel led by Dr. Eileen Franko.  Each day was a wealth of information and networking.  With such a strong line-up there were quite a few people from all over New York State, New York City and Long Island at the conference (several people we haven't seen for quite a few years). This year's conference was the most attended conference ever.
Mr. Kevin Malone Presenting Asbestos Training Stats for 2015
The Third Annual Proficiency day, which had 105 attendees versus last year's 72 attendees, started with Mr. Kevin Malone, Director of the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) Asbestos Training Program, giving us an update on the asbestos training program and the goals of the program to "bring consistency to training, elevate training standards, and ensure a competent workforce".  Dr. Eileen Franko of NYSDOL, followed with an update on the NYS mold training program.  Dr. Franko's update included clarifications of mold law and emphasizing that the law is a "consumer protection law."  Ms. Theresa Bourbon of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) explained the changes to the Renovation, Repair, & Painting (RRP) Training Program regarding hands-on component training and violations cited in Fiscal Year 2015.  Those violations included: "93% of cases involved "paperwork" violations, 69% of cases involved firm certification, and 40% of cases involved "work" violations.  Finishing the day was Mr. Doug Miller of the Rochester Institute of Technology an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Education Center discussing the Outreach program and new OSHA outreach cards that will be issued (for construction, general industry, & maritime).  The President's reception (the current President is Mr. Sean Hart of Energy and Environment President's reception) was entertaining and featured "Dan the Magic Man!".

Ms. Deb Sanscrainte of Aramsco, Chairwomen of the PACNY Conference
The Technical Sessions began on the second day of the conference, with the hall holding 227 attendees versus last year's 197 attendees.  Ms. Deb Sanscrainte of Aramsco, chairwomen of the conference, welcomed everyone.  Opening Remarks from Mr. Brent Kynoch of the Environmental Information Association (EIA) and Mr. Thomas Meade, the Executive Director of PACNY followed.  The first session was Mr. Ed Cottingham of the Zonolite Attic Insulation Trust discussing the history of the trust and how it is paying for the removal of zonolite attic insulation.  The next presentation was on Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) in building materials presented by Dr. Dan Leftkowitz followed by Mr. Steve Fess of Xerox Corporation discussing an update on the American Industrial Hygiene Association's (AIHA) "Guidance Document on PCBs in the Built Environment."  After a break in the Vendor Hall, the next presentations were on silica by Dr. Michael Lax, MD of Upstate Medical University, discussing diagnosis treatment & prevention of silica related disease; Mr. Jeff Prebish, CIH of OSHA, discussing OSHA's proposed respirable crystalline silica rule; and Mr. Jim Sorel, CIH of Industrial Hygiene Consulting Services, discussing silica sampling methods and protocols.  The set-up of the sessions for the silica presentation was outstanding and assisted with information gathering.  At this point, the conference broke for a buffet lunch.  While PACNY held a meet & greet session just after lunch, to encourage membership in PACNY.  The conference continued after lunch and in our next post will discuss the rest of the conference.  

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Just Over A Week Away - 20th Annual PACNY Environmental Conference

Just about 9 days away is the premier environmental conference for New York State.  The Professional Abatement Contractors of New York's (PACNY's) 20th Annual Environmental Conference is being held at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York from Wednesday, February 24 to Friday, February 26, 2016.  The conference seems to get bigger and bigger each year. Attendees come from all over New York State and even from adjacent States.  Register here for the conference.  For more information about the conference visit PACNY's website.  See the promo video here.

PACNY convention at Turning Stone Casino from Tisa Zito- Old Soul Productions on Vimeo.

This year's conference should be another good one since it is the first conference since Article 32 New York State's (NYS's) Mold Law is in effect.  We are looking forward to Dr. Eileen Franko's presentation on New York State Department of Labor's (NYSDOL) update on the Mold Training on Wednesday and her leading the NYSDOL's panelists on Friday.  For those of you who don't know NYSDOL is charged with enforcing the new NYS Mold Law and has been enforcing NYS's asbestos regulations (Industrial Code Rule 56).  Joining Dr. Franko on Wednesday, will be other training regulators like Mr. Kevin Malone of NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH) updating us on asbestos training, Ms. Theresa Bourbon of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) updating us on the Lead Renovator, Remodeling, & Painting (RRP) training, and Mr. Doug Miller from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Outreach Education Center updating us on OSHA education updates.

Thursday's technical session will include presentations on Vermiculite & Zonolite by Mr. Ed Cottingham of the Zonolite Trust Fund and Mr. Bryan Bandhi of RJ Lee Group; Silica presentations from Mr. Jeffrey Prebish of OSHA, Dr. Michael Lax MD, and Mr. Jim Sorel CIH; Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) from Dr. Daniel Leftkowitz; and Asbestos presentations from Ed Cahill of EMSL and Tom Laubenthal.  After the presentations, there will be the usual cocktail & networking party in the vendor hall.  Visit Future Environment Design's (FED's) booth and meet Ms. Kimberly Granmoe and Ms. Sheryl Esposito, who will be giving out glove-guard gifts to all those who sign up for our Safety Suzy Monthly Newsletter along with a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card.

Friday's session begins with Mr. Bob Krell of  IAQ Tech and Mr. Angelo Garcia, III of FED discussing the NYS Mold Training.  Then finishes with the NYSDOL panel discussion hosted by Dr. Eileen Franko, including Mr. James Meacham PE, and Kirk Fisher.  It should be quite an informative conference.  Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Happy New Year! 2016 Brings New Regulations Merging With Annual Deadlines!

Happy New Year everyone!  2015 went out with a bang, especially with many people preparing for the new laws taking effect in 2016.  The biggest impact law is New York State's Article 32 (known as the Mold Law) requiring all companies advertising themselves as doing mold remediation or mold assessment will need to be licensed.  Also any worker performing mold abatement needs to be licensed, also.  Needless to say our schedule has been overwhelmed holding these classes preparing companies for this new licensing requirement.  This law also requires an independent mold remediation plan written by a mold assessor.  Requires a mold assessment and mold remediation contractors to be independent of each other on the same property.

Recent Mold Remediation Course
Don't forget that the annual posting of the OSHA log form 300A for injuries and illnesses must be posted by February 1, 2016.  See our previous posts regarding this issue.

Don't Forget to Post Your Company's OSHA 300A Form
The new OSHA confined spaces in construction standard went into effect August 3, 2015.  However, OSHA has two temporary enforcement policies that delay the enforcement of the standard for employers making "good faith efforts" to comply with the standard.  The first one expired on October 2, 2015 which was for all employers.  While the second one applies to employers working on residential construction that will expire on March 8, 2016.

The OSHA hazard communication standard 1910.1200 on December 1, 2015 required distributors to comply with the new labeling requirements.  The standard becomes fully implemented on June 1, 2016.  Meaning your hazard communication program, your chemical inventory, safety data sheets, and labeling should be in compliance with the Globally Harmonized System (GHS).

Changes are happening to the OSHA outreach program.  This is the program that authorizes the OSHA 10-hour & 30-hour construction safety training programs.  Starting March 1, 2016, OSHA will be issuing new cards that will be made of plastic (credit card style) and have a QR code for authentication.  The new cards will allow for electronic verification of the card to make sure it is valid.

A long string of new things on the horizon.  If we can assist you in any way in complying with any of this let us know.  Be Safe!