Monday, April 17, 2017

PACNY's Environmental Conference - The Very Technical Sessions - Day Two!

The second day of the Professional Abatement Contractors of New York (PACNY) environmental conference at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, NY started with the Technical Sessions.  The day started with opening remarks from Sean Hart, of Energy & Environment, President of PACNY and Deb Sanscrainte, of Aramsco, the Conference Chair.  This year's Technical Session seemed much more intense & focused with a lot of good information presented.  The presentations kicked off with Dr. Martin Rutstein, of Ecological Consulting & Management Services, discussing "Talc with Tremolite & Other Amphiboles." Discussed the issues of talc contaminated with asbestos or silica and the potential for diseases correlated to talc related asbestosis, silicosis or talcosis.  Dr. Rutstein's presentations are always entertaining and are eye opening in regards to the science of geology.  The next presenter was Mr. Tom Laubenthal, of The Environmental Institute (a division of ATC Group Services) discussing "Using ASTM E2356 Standard Practice for Comprehensive Building Surveys".  Mr. Laubenthal's discussion brought up interesting points regarding the use of Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and Architect/Engineer Certifications of no asbestos containing materials used as part of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) and its applicability for the purposes of a "thorough inspection" under the EPA's National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPS).  After Mr. Laubenthal's presentation, we took a break to wander the Vendor Exhibit Hall and meet with some of the vendors like Grayling/ILC Dover (glovebags, etc.) and AMA Analytical (laboratory services).

Mr. Ed Stuber, of Galson Laboratories
We returned from the break for Mr. Ed Stuber's, of Galson Laboratories, update on the "Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) Silica regulation."  One of the key points of his presentation is that the silica standard is no longer a moving target.  Previously, the standard was based on a formula.  The current standard has a set permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 50 micrograms per cubic meter and a set action level of 25 micrograms per cubic meter.  In additions, it is very important to ensure you see the lab's proficiency testing data because labs that analyze silica samples have till June 23, 2018 to comply with the OSHA standard.  Dr. Chris Goulah, of EMSL Analytical, presented on "Legionella".  The presentation was on the New York City outbreak in 2015 and the regulations created by New York City (NYC) and New York State (NYS) to protect against Legionella.  Dr. Goulah's presentation noted that Legionnaires' Disease is on the rise since 2000 and that most cases are the result of exposure to Legionella asssociated with building water systems (potable & non-potable).  Mr. Jim Redmond, of Associated General Contractors of NYS, gave us a "Regulatory Update on OSHA."  Mr. Redmonds discussed the electronic submission of injuries and illnesses (goes into effect on July 1, 2017 for more information visit OSHA's website) and construction industry citations based on the multi-employer work-site policy (creating, exposing, correcting, & controlling).  We then broke for the buffet lunch and another stroll through the Exhibit Hall and meet vendors like DiVal Safety Equipment and Frederico Demolition.

Brent Kynoch of EIA
The afternoon started with Dr. James Haklar, from EPA Region 2, discussing "Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCBs) Case Studies".    Dr. Haklar's presentation discussed the primary sources of PCBs in buildings (caulk, fluorescent light ballasts, paints and mastics) and secondary sources (building materials contaminated by releases of PCBs from the primary sources).  Dr. Haklar's presentation also discussed exposure levels for evaluating PCBs in Indoor School Air (to keep the total exposure below the oral reference dose of 20 nanograms PCB per kilogram-day) and the EPA's agreement with NYC.  Up next was Mr. Brent Kynoch, of the Environmental Information Association (EIA), updating us on "What Does Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) Reform Mean to the Asbestos Abatement Industry?"  Mr. Kynoch discussed "unreasonable risk" and the EPA's need to take final risk management action within 2 years or 4 years if an extension is needed.  In addition, Mr. Kynoch informed us that asbestos was selected in the "Top 10" chemicals for review by EPA and as of the PACNY conference the public comment period was open (it has since closed, here is the docket information:  The final speakers for the day were Mr. Cole Stanton, of Fiberlock Technologies, and Mr. Fred Schauf, of Spectrum Environmental presenting on "Environmental Indicators: Changes in Policy and Practice that WILL Impact Restoration & Abatement in 2017 -2018 and Beyond."  Mr. Stanton and Mr. Schauf discussed the 2016 Indoor Air Quality Association (IAQA) report to NYS Department of Labor (NYSDOL).  This report indicated the following:

Mr. Cole Stanton, of Fiberlock Technologies, and Mr. Fred Schauf, of Spectrum Environmental
  • Remediators perform own assessments/final inspections
  • Mold Remediation Plans are incomplete:
    • No quantities per work area
    • No Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) mentioned
    • EPA registered biocides etc. without specifying a product
    • No method for remediation, only "industry standards"
    • No cost estimate
  • Non NYSDOL licensed assessors provide the inspection/assessment.
  • Real Estate agents are assessing and preparing Mold Remediation Plans for properties they are listing (does not appear to violate Article 32, it does appear to violate their code of ethics.)
  • Mold remediators are still providing homeowners with checklist used as assessment and mold remediation plan
  • and/or, No Mold Remediation Work Plans provided.
  • Training Quality needs significant improvement:
    • Incorrect information presented, such as: asbestos testing is not necessary as mold takes precedence over asbestos containing materials; a check list by the homeowner is OK; sampling is required; biocides are preferable to removal.
    • Classes last less than 5 hours a day
    • Mold assessment classes being taught by teachers without mold experience.
Vendor Reception in the Exhibit Hall
That ended the Technical Sessions on day 2.  The Vendor Reception in the Exhibit Hall started, where further networking with the vendors and the attendees continued.  It was a very informative day 2 and the amount of information was fantastic.  Looking forward to day 3 and our presentation.  Thank you to the Long Island contingent that attended the conference this year.

Part of the Long Island Contingent that Attended This Year 
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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

PACNY's Environmental Conference - Day 1 - And So It Begins!

This year's Professional Abatement Contractors of New York (PACNY) 21st Annual Environmental Conference was definitely more technical then previous years.  The first day of the PACNY environmental conference started with the Proficiency Workshop for Trainers.  The Proficiency Workshop speakers consisted of Mr. Kevin Malone, Director of New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH); Mr. Don Pierce of New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL); and Mr. Kevin Hutton of Eastcoast Resources; and Mr. Ed Smith of NYSDOL Engineering Services Unit.

It was a modest Day One which started with networking during lunch. Mr. Malone started the presentations by providing us with an update on the statistics of the asbestos training program.  As we have come to expect the number of individuals attending asbestos courses shrinks every year.  The 2016 stats were 26,734 total certs issued broken done 21,642 refresher certs and 5,092 initial certs issued at 3,349 total classes held.  Those numbers are down from the 2015 stats that were 27,731 total certificates issued with 22,074 refresher certs and 5,657 initial certs issued at 3,436 training courses.
Mr. Kevin Malone of NYSDOH
The next presenter was Mr. Pierce discussing the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) auditing update.  For those of you who don't know, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been providing New York State (NYS) with a grant to perform audits of public and private school's AHERA required management plans.  The presentation included a discussion on the process of selecting schools to be audited (randomly selected and/or based upon cause {complaint}), how the data is collected and how the information is provided back to EPA.  In addition, Mr. Pierce discussed several issues the audits have found:
  • EPA accepts electronic record-keeping, but hard copies of the original survey and asbestos management plan must be maintained at the Local Education Agency (LEA) office.
  • The LEA must assign and train a designated person to oversee asbestos activities and ensure compliance with AHERA requirements.  The designated person must be trained but does not require them to be accredited and does not list a specific course or specific number of hours. It does list specific training topics which include - health effects; detection, identification, & assessment of asbestos; options for controlling asbestos; asbestos management plan topics; and relevant Federal, State, and local regulations for asbestos.  As a side note: Future Environment Designs (FEDTC) recommends designated persons take the asbestos inspector (3 day) and management planner (2 day) initial courses to meet the AHERA requirements.
  • EPA allows two methods for new additions to existing buildings.  An architect or project engineer responsible for the construction of a new school building after October 12, 1988 or an accredited inspector to:
    • to sign a statement that no asbestos containing building materials (ACBM) was specified as a building material in any construction document for the building, or
    • to the best of his or her knowledge, no ACBM was used in any building material in the building.
    • The LEA must submit a copy of this statement to the EPA Regional Office and shall include the statement in the management plan of the school.
  • Deficiencies found by the audit included:
    • Periodic surveillances were missing or weren't well documented
    • Documentation of notifications not included or well documented
    • ACBM removal not updated in the management plan
    • Clearance air monitoring records not available per AHERA
Mr. Don Pierce of NYSDOL
After a short break, the Variance Writing Workshop with Mr. Hutton and Mr. Smith was up next.  This nearly two-hour presentation, got into the details of submitting and writing variances that Mr. Smith's Engineering Services Unit (ESU) reviews for approval, disapproval, or modification. Some of the points discussed:
Mr. Kevin Hutton of Eastcoast Resources
  • According to the Asbestos School Hazard Abatement Re-authorization Act (ASHARA) an asbestos project designer is required on Public and Commercial Building asbestos projects (including residential buildings with 10 or more dwellings).
  • When writing a variance consider your audience: DOL ESU; Abatement Contractor, Project Monitor; Asbestos Control Bureau (ACB) Inspector; Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Inspector (Compliance Safety Officer); and the Courts.
  • Mr. Smith discussed that his department handles between 1400-1500 variances a year.  About 25% are then reopened, with another 5% reopened a second time and another 5% reopened a third time.  Mr. Smith also provided us with a list of Pet Peeves regarding variance applications which included:
    • Failing to explicitly list what code sections you are requesting relief from
    • Don't be lazy and simply submit someone else's variance and state you want to do what is in that variance.  Own your work, your client is paying you to apply for a variance on their behalf.
    • "State-Wide" emergencies
    • Try to limit your write-up to the hardship and proposed steps to be taken to work around the hardship.
Mr. Ed Smith of NYSDOL Engineering Services Unit
Variance workshop ended the first day of the Conference.  That evening we celebrated & networked at the President's Reception featuring Dan the Magic Man!
John of TS Steakhouse at Turning Stone Casino

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Conference Season Has Begun! First PACNY, Next EIA, Then ADAO

We had the honor and pleasure to speak at Professional Abatement Contractors of New York (PACNY) conference this year, again.  We will discuss that in a later post on the 21st Annual PACNY Environmental Conference.  We also had the pleasure to speak at the Environmental Information Association (EIA) Fall Technical Conference in Orlando, Florida, last year.  Our presentation regarding the New York State Mold Law Article 32 "What Happens When Politicians Write Laws They Know Nothing About?" was well received and we had many comments from the audience and afterwards.  For those who wanted a copy of our presentation you can find it in our FED Training CD-Link to the Dropbox Folder under Mold and Other IAQ Documents.  This year we will be attending the EIA's 34th Annual Conference & Exhibition in Orlando Florida from March 25-29, 2017.  In addition, on March 26, 2017 we will be attending the American Council for Accredited Certification's (ACAC) Board Meeting.

Our Presentation at the EIA's Fall Technical Conference 
We are looking forward to the usual networking we get to do with the members of the ACAC and the EIA.  Like the Fall Technical Conference we are looking forward to some of the presentations at the EIA's 34th Annual Conference.  The brochure has quite a list of speakers, we are looking forward to Steve Compton's presentation on the "Resuspension of Settled Asbestos Dust - A Review of Exposure Assessments Related to Cleaning Asbestos"; David Branch's presentation on "Operating A Successful Environmental Business"; David Matson's presentation "Go Team! Consequences of Owners Picking the Wrong Team"; Andreas Saldivar's presentation on "Drywall Joint Compound by Visual Estimation, Point Counting and TEM"; and Lee Poye's presentation "Effectiveness of NIOSH 7400 for Post-Abatement Clearances - Do PCM Clearances Adequately Protect Public Health?"  These are just the one's we're interested in, the brochure has over 21 sessions that all sound interesting.  We hope to see you there!

Linda Reinstein of ADAO 
The next conference after EIA is the 13th Annual Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) International Asbestos Awareness and Prevention Conference being held at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel in Virginia from April 7-9, 2017.  Another excellent conference that delivers some excellent presenters discussing the hazards of asbestos and providing information regarding asbestos internationally.  Presenters this year include Dr. Barry Castleman, Alex Farquhar, Dr. Arthur Frank, Fernanda Giannasi, Dr. Richard Lemen, & Michael Borowick.  In addition, Linda Reinstein, the President of ADAO, is a fantastic speaker.   Visit ADAO's blog to learn more about the speakers.

We always enjoy conference season because of the networking and camaraderie that occurs at these events.  It does involve some time away from the business, but we find that it renews us and we always bring something back from the conferences that keeps our training new and up to date.  We highly recommend you take the time and attend these events.  We hope it rejuvenates you as much as it does us.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Is It Really Here Again! The 21st Annual PACNY Environmental Conference Starts March 1, 2017.

This year the Professional Abatement Contractors of New York (PACNY) Conference seemed to sneak up on us.  It's only two weeks away.  The first day of the 21st Annual PACNY Environmental Conference is on Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at 11:30 AM.  To register for the conference visit PACNY's website.  The conference will start with lunch from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM, with Kevin Malone of New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) kicking off the presentations.  Mr. Malone is in charge of the division that regulates asbestos training providers.  Next up will be Don Pierce from NYS Department of Labor (NYS DOL) updating us on the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) auditing (an EPA grant allows NYS DOL to perform the auditing for Environemtal Protection Agency (EPA)).  Then the first day of the conference will end with a Variance Writing Workshop led by Kevin Hutton of Cornerstone Training.

Dival's Booth at PACNY
The second day of the conference has another great lineup of speakers.  Dr. Marty Rutstein returns speaking about "Talc with Tremolite and Other Amphiboles"; and Tom Laubenthal also returns speaking about "Using ASTM E2356 to Meet "Thorough Inspection Requirements" Prior to Renovation and Demolition Activities".  Dival Safety will be doing Fall Protection Demonstration, considering OSHA's emphasis on fall hazards it will be intereasting to see the different equipment avalable.  Ed Stuber of Galson Laboratories will update us on the OSHA Silica standard; Dr. Chris Goulah will discuss "Legionella"; Jim Redmond will update us on OSHA; and Jim Haklar will discuss PCB Case Studies.  Brent Kynoch of the Environmental Information Association (EIA) eill update us on EIA and the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA).  Then Cole Stanton of Fiberlock Technologies will update us on Mold/Fire/Water.  That will close out the second day bringing us to the Vendor Reception and Happy Hour!

Vendor Reception
Angelo Garcia, III of Future Environment Designs, Inc (FEDTC) will start the last day of the conference.  "Changes Are A Coming" is the title of our presentation and it will be about all the changes occurring in our industry this year.  We will hand off to Jack Springston of TRC who will speak about the "Pitfalls with Doing Mold Clearance Sampling as Part of a Post-Remediation Verification"  We are very much looking forward to Jack's presentation!  Then the culmination of the conference with the NYSDOL panel consisting of Dr. Eileen Franko - Director of Division of Safety and Health; Kirk Fisher - Licensing and Certification; Ed Smith, PE - Engineering Services Unit; and James Meacham, PE - Asbestos Control Bureau.  There is a rumor going around that the release of the new Industrial Code Rule 56 (ICR56) might happen at this meeting.  As usual, we are excited about the event and several people behind the scenes do a significant amount of work to make the conference such a success each year.  Very big thank yous to Lisa Brown and Deborah Sanscrainte for all the work they do to keep everyone focused and moving forward in putting this event together!

Deborah Sanscrainte Welcoming Everyone to PACNY
Future Environment Designs is a sponsor of the event and we will have our booth in the vendor hall.  Kimberly Granmoe and Sheryl Esposito will be ladying booth 19 (next to Dival Safety Supplies) as they have in the past.  So come and visit us.  Our Twitter feed for the conference will be #FEDTCPACNY, we will tweet photos and major speaker points during the conference.  We hope to see you at the conference! 

Kimberly Granmoe, Sheryl Esposito, Veronica and Angelo Garcia, III

Friday, February 03, 2017

It's That Time Again! Did You Remember to POST Your OSHA 300A Form!

On February 1, covered employers were required to post the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) 300A form.  The 300A form summarizes the information that is kept on the OSHA 300 log form.  Covered employers are required to prepare and maintain records of serious occupational injuries and illnesses that occur at a workplace on the OSHA 300 log form.  At the end of the year, covered employers are required to tally the totals on each column and enter the totals on the OSHA 300A form.  The information should be used by employers to evaluate safety in the workplace and determine ways to eliminate or reduce hazards in the workplace.  OSHA's 300A form is required to be posted until April 30, 2015 and must be retained for 5 years.  During the retention period you are required to update the log to add new information regarding the occupational injuries and illnesses recorded on it.  OSHA has brief tutorial to help you complete the forms.

OSHA 300A Form

A final rule was announced back on September 11, 2014, which went into effect January 1, 2015, changing the list of employers partially exempt from the above recordkeeping requirements.  The revised list uses the new method of classification of industries, the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).  The partially exempt industry list includes: architectural, engineering, & related services; legal services; & drinking places (really!!!), as examples.  For the full list of exempt industries visit OSHA's website on recordkeeping.  In addition, to new exempt industries there are industries that have to start keeping records.  These industries include:  automotive dealers, building material & supplies dealers, & activities related to real estate, for example.  Find the industries that have start keeping records here.  

However, this does not exempt these industries or covered industries from reporting to OSHA, within 8 hours, any work-related fatality and reporting work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations, or losses of an eye within 24 hours.  This new reporting requirement was also part of the changes that went into effect on January 1, 2015.  Employers can report these events by telephone to the nearest OSHA Area office during normal business hours, or the 24-hour OSHA hotline 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), or electronically through a new tool which is being developed, look for it here.   Should you need any assistance with these requirements contact Future Environment Designs.