Wednesday, October 24, 2018

NYC's Department of HPD Proposes Rules to Implement Indoor Allergen Hazards Legislation

The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (NYCHPD) is holding a public hearing on November 2, 2018, to accept comments on a proposed rule to implement legislation regarding indoor allergen hazards.  To find out how to comment on the proposed rule visit NYC's rule website at https://rules.cityofnewyork.us/content/proposed-rules-regarding-indoor-allergen-hazards.  The proposed rules implement Local Law 55 of 2018, enacted by the City Council.  The legislation establishes an owner's responsibility to investigate for and remediate indoor allergen hazards like mold, cockroaches, mice, and rats in multiple dwellings.  The rules provide for work practices to be used by owners in performing the work to remediate these conditions.  The Local Law goes into effect on January 2019.

Green algae in condensate pan

The new rules include several definitions that are interesting:

  • Indoor allergen hazard - means any indoor infestation of cockroaches, mice, or rats or conditions conducive to such infestation or an indoor mold hazard.
  • Indoor mold hazard - means any condition of mold growth on an indoor surface, building structure or ventilation system, including mold that is within wall cavities, that is likely to cause harm to a person or that has been cited as a violation by NYCHPD.
  • Pest -means any unwanted member of the Class Insecta, including, but not limited to houseflies, lice, bees, cockroaches, moths, silverfish, beetles, bedbugs, ants, termites, hornets, mosquitoes, and wasps and members of the Order Rodentia, including but not limited to mice, Norway rats, and any other unwanted plant, animal or fungal life that is a pest because it is destructive, annoying or a nuisance.
  • Underlying defect means a condition that causes an indoor mold hazard, such as a water leak or water infiltration from plumbing or defective masonry pointing or other moisture condition or causes an infestation of pests, including holes or entryway paths for pests.

Mold on a sheetrock wall

These rules require the owner of the building to make an annual inspection for indoor allergen hazards in apartments and common areas of the building.  It also requires the owner to inspect if the occupant informs them that there is a condition in the apartment that is likely to cause an indoor allergen hazard or the occupant requests an inspection or NYCHPD issues a violation requiring the correction of an indoor allergen hazard in an apartment.  The owner is required to fix an indoor allergen hazard in an apartment using safe work practices specified in these rules.  The owner must provide new tenants with a pamphlet developed by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.  Prior to new tenant occupancy, the owner is required to fix all visible mold and pest infestations in the apartment, as well as underlying defects using the safe work practices.  The assessments or work regarding indoor mold hazards must be performed in compliance with Article 32 of New York State Labor Law (Mold Licensing and Minimum Work Practices).  It seems to us if this rule goes into effect tenants have another weapon they can use to make sure their apartments are healthy living environments.

Related Articles:

New York City Asthma-Free Housing Act by Jack Springston, CIH, CSP, FAIHA

NYS Department of Labor Publishes Two New Mold Fact Sheets

Asthma Control Study Indicates a Home Visit Strategy is Successful.

New York State Mold Licensing & Minimum Standards Law Is Signed By Governor Cuomo

NYS Mold Law Changes, Licensing Requirement Goes Into Effect January 1, 2016.

Mold Legislation Threatens Restoration/Remediation Industries


Saturday, September 29, 2018

Future Environment Designs Attends LITE 2018 - What Else Can We Do To Improve Our Offerings?

What has now become the annual trek to Edinburgh, Scotland to attend the Leadership Innovation Technology Evolution (LITE) conference was on September 20 and 21, 2018.  Just like the previous conferences, we came away from this conference inspired to continue to improve on our course offerings and increase the information we provide you.  We will continue to transition to online course evaluations, by using Surfaces connected to the course evaluation system we will go electronic for course evaluations.  We are also in the process of converting the asbestos refresher exams to be online.  That will probably take a while to accomplish, hoping to complete it within the next year.

Vicky Kavanagh of Administrate Discussing the Advantages of Blended Learning

Presentations by Vicky Kavanagh of Administrate, Sandy Rushton of Bright Carbon, and Graham David of Blue Bettle Productions taught us how to improve our presentations and make them more informative and entertaining.  Vicky Kavanagh's presentation helped us to determine what else we can we do with the blended learning environment we created.  Sandy Rushton's presentation taught us how animations in powerpoint presentations can help keep learners focused on the message.  Graham David's presentation encouraged us to ask more questions in our presentations to make it more interactive.  These improvements you will see in the next courses and over the next year.

Sandy Rushton of Bright Carbon Discussing How to Improve Stories
We will be expanding our token program for providing access to additional online training courses, and increasing the topics we cover on these programs.  Starting January 2019, to add value to our training courses every registration will include a Silver Token that will be good for taking one online course and will be good for a year.  Our current online courses include courses on respirators, crystalline silica, asbestos awareness, and New York City asbestos handler/supervisor exam review course.  The next courses we are working on is a New York City asbestos investigator exam review course and a Hazard Communication/Right-to-Know Course.  We hope to have these courses available before the New Year.

#LITE2018 was Inspiring and Informative as Previous LITEs


The #LITE2018 conference helped us learn more about the Administrate program and a new feature coming out down road called Learning Paths may help us develop even more courses.  The end of the first day was the annual Historic Pub Crawl which we enjoyed and included visiting three pubs the BeeHive Inn, Biddy Mulligans, and the Jolly Judge.  All three had old wooden bars that were quite impressive.  More interesting was the ability to drink outside the pubs in the UK, not just in a patio or a beer garden.  The Jolly Judge was in a courtyard where you were allowed to stand outside with your drink and while discussing the day's events.  LITE 2018 was another successful conference and we will be able to continue to expand our offerings because of the Administrate product.  

Pub Crawl was Fun & Good for Networking



Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Future Environment Designs Celebrates 30 Years in Business in October. What the heck is SNUR?


View Do As I Say, Not As I Did by Angelo Garcia III

On October 5, 1988, Future Environment Designs Inc. was founded by Angelo Garcia, III.  When we started the company, our only thought was, considering the companies we worked for, how hard could this be.  Well 30 years later here we are a slightly different focus from when we started, but the same drive of trying to provide the best service we can for our clients.  Since the official date of our anniversary falls when we are in the Plattsburgh area, we are starting the celebration at 4:30 PM on October 5, 2018, at the Valcour Brewing Company, 49 Ohio Avenue, Plattsburgh, NY 12903.  The second date of our celebration will be held at 5:00 PM on October 9, 2018, at Sapsuckers Hops & Grub, 287 Main Street, Huntington, NY 11743.  We hope to see you at one of the events to help us celebrate our 30 Years!

In honor of making it to 30 years, we have written a book called "Do As I Say, Not As I Did - Thinking Of Opening a Business, Some of the Things You Should Consider".  The book is available through Blurb as a hardcover or a pdf.  If you bring the book to one of our classes or one of our Anniversary events, we would be honored to sign it for you.  We wrote this book to discuss our experiences over the 30 years and to provide you with a resource if you ever consider opening your own business.

Over the 30 years, we have seen lots of changes in the industry and outside of the industry.  It is interesting to remember when we started we used beepers and phone cards to stay in communication between the field staff and the office.  Now, most people have cell phones.  We used typewriters to fill out ACP5 forms.  Now, they are done online.  We used to provide students course manuals that were hundreds of pages and took forever to find what you were looking for.  Now the manuals are electronic/digital and you can do a keyword search to find what you are looking for in minutes or even seconds.  But with all this advancement the work still stays the same.  Workers still need to wear respirators to protect themselves, still need to take showers to leave the contamination at the work site, still need to use water to keep dust levels below exposure levels, and create a negative pressure inside the work area to prevent the escape of asbestos fibers from the work area.  So while a lot has changed and a lot has still stayed the same!

When we opened our business doing consulting work in the asbestos industry, we were asked by our mentors and friends why.  Many of them thought or felt all the asbestos will be removed in 5-10 years.  It is interesting that not only is all of the asbestos not removed but, after 30 plus years of wanting to ban asbestos, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) instead of an outright ban of asbestos has actually proposed a rule that could allow asbestos to be used in products that they have determined are no longer available.  This proposed rule is called SNUR (Significant New Use Rule).  The rule would require manufacturers and importers to receive EPA approval before starting or resuming manufacturing and importing or processing of asbestos.  Currently, new uses of asbestos were banned under the original Toxic Substance Control Act - Asbestos Ban and Phase Out Rule issued in 1989, though portions were overturned the ban on new commercial uses after August 25, 1989, remains.  Materials not subject to the Asbestos Ban and Phase Out Rule and hence are the subject of this SNUR are:

  • Asbestos arc chutes
  • Asbestos pipeline wrap
  • Asbestos separators in fuel cells and batteries
  • Asbestos-reinforced plastics
  • Beater-add gaskets
  • Extruded sealant tape
  • Filler for acetylene cylinders
  • High-grade electrical paper
  • Millboard
  • Missile liner
  • Roofing felt 
  • Vinyl-asbestos floor tile 
  • Adhesives and Sealants 
  • Roof and Non-Roof Coatings 
  • Other Building Products (other than cement product)
As you may wonder and as many others have, why a SNUR?  Why not a flat out ban?  Why else but to allow asbestos to be used by certain industries, for example, the chlor-alkali industry which currently is the primary importer of asbestos still today!  In 2016, EPA noted that 340 metric tons of asbestos were imported into the United States all of it used by the chlor-alkali industry.  We think the list of materials that are affected by the SNUR is interesting, imagine if they allowed the return of asbestos use in floor tiles, roofing felts, electrical paper, adhesives and sealants and roof and non-roof coatings.  All of these are building materials that would be required to be inspected and determined if they contain asbestos.  If they contain asbestos, they will have to be removed as asbestos-containing materials.  The asbestos abatement industry may never go out of business if that was the case.  So maybe, we'll still be here for another 30 years.  Imagine that!

Friday, August 17, 2018

New York City Adds Training Requirements for Construction Workers

In 2017, New York City's (NYC) Council amended the administrative code of the City of New York and the NYC building code, in relation to construction site safety training.  This amendment is called Local Law 196 of 2017 (formerly known as Intro. 1447).  It amends the administrative code by adding section 22-509 Construction site safety training courses.  Requiring the Mayor to establish by March 1, 2018, a program to provide equal access to construction site safety training.  This law has several deadlines and was established to make sure that construction workers in New York City all had a minimum amount of training.

Properly capped rebar
The first deadline has passed already, beginning March 1, 2018, each permit holder at a building site for which a construction superintendent, site safety manager, or site safety coordinator is required shall ensure that each construction or demolition worker employed or otherwise engaged at such site by the permit holder or performing subcontracted work for or on behalf of such permit holder shall have successfully completed:

  • an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 10-hour class;
  • an OSHA 30-hour class; or
  • a 100-hour training program.
So currently, you need one of the above items to work on most construction projects.  The next compliance date is December 1, 2018 (or if the Building Department publishes a finding that there is insufficient capacity to provide the training required it could push the date back but not later than June 1, 2019).  Permit holders shall ensure each worker has an SST card, a limited SST card or a temporary SST card and each worker who is serving as a site safety manager, site safety coordinator, concrete safety manager, construction superintendent or a competent person at such site shall have an SST supervisor card.

Recent OSHA 30-hour Construction Safety Course
If you are wondering what an SST card, a limited SST card, a temporary SST card, or an SST supervisor card is, well you are not the only one!  First, a Site Safety Training card (SST card) SST card, a limited SST card, a temporary SST card, or an SST supervisor card are cards that are issued by a New York City Department of Buildings Approved Training Provider (which at the time of my writing this, none are approved). 

To get a limited SST card (which expires April 30, 2019, but no later than August 31, 2020) you must have taken one of the following training paths:

  1. OSHA 10-hour class with 20-hours of additional training:
    • OSHA 10-hour
    • 8-hour Fall Prevention
    • 8-hour Chapter 33 (Site Safety Manager Refresher
    • 4-hour Supported Scaffold User
  2. OSHA 30-hour class
  3. 100-Hour Training Program Approved by the Building Department
  4. Prior Experience
    • 4-hour Fall Prevention
    • 4-hour Supported Scaffold User

To get a temporary SST card (which expires after 6 months during which time training must be completed to receive a Limited SST card or SST card) you must have taken an OSHA 10-hour class.

To get an SST card (which expires after 5 years) you must have taken one of the following training paths:

  1. OSHA 10-hour class with 30-hours of additional training:
    • OSHA 10-hour class
    • 8-hour Fall Prevention
    • 8-hour Chapter 33 (Site Safety Manager Refresher)
    • 4-hour Supported Scaffold User
    • 4-hour General Electives
    • 4-hour Specialized Electives
    • 2-hour Drug and Alcohol Awareness
  2. OSHA 30-hour Class with 10-hours of additional training:
    • OSHA 30-hour class
    • 8-hour Fall Prevention
    • 2-Hour Drug and Alcohol Awareness
  3. 100-hour Training Program Approved by the Building Department
  4. Prior Experience
    • 4-hour Fall Prevention
    • 4-hour Supported Scaffold User
To get a Supervisor SST card (which expires after 5 years) you must have taken:

  • OSHA 30-hour class
  • 8-hour fall prevention
  • 8-hour Chapter 33 (Site Safety Manager Refresher)
  • 4-hour Supported Scaffold User
  • 2-hour Site Safety Plan
  • 2-hour Tool Box Talks
  • 2-hour Pre-task Safety Meetings
  • 2-hour General Electives
  • 2-hour Specialized Electives
  • 2-hour Drug and Alcohol Awareness
So that's how you get the various cards required under this local law.  The law doesn't end there.  The next compliance date is May 1, 2019, (or if the Building Department publishes a finding that there is insufficient capacity to provide the training required it could push the date back but not later than September 1, 2020).  By that date, all workers must have an SST card to work on most construction projects.

By the full compliance date, SST Cards & Supervisor SST cards will be required on most construction sites
Since SST Cards and Supervisor SST cards expire after 5 years, applicants must have completed training to renew the cards in the one-year period preceding renewal of the card (in other words if the card expires in December 2020, in the year from December 2019 to December 2020 you need to complete the training discussed below):

  1. SST Card (8 Hours)
    • 4-hour Fall Prevention
    • 4-hour Supported Scaffold User
  2. Supervisor SST card (16 hours)
    • 8-hour Fall Prevention
    • 4-hour Supported Scaffold User
    • 2-hour Tool Box Talks
    • 2-hour Pre-Task Safety Meetings
Local Law 196 of 2017 obviously, creates a minimum training requirement for workers on most construction projects, to visit the NYC Site Safety Training website click here.  Permit holders are required to maintain a daily log that identifies each worker and that includes, for each worker a copy of SST card, a limited SST card, a temporary SST card, or an SST supervisor card or proof of taking an OSHA 10-hour; OSHA 30-hour; or 100-hour training program.  Violations of this law will result in a civil penalty of up to $5,000 per untrained worker to be issued to the owner of the site, the permit holder, and the employer of the untrained worker (this could mean up to a $15,000 fine, based on contract language, to the employer of the untrained worker).  Failing to maintain the log will result in a civil penalty of $2,500.  The gradual phase-in, the list of General and Specialized Elective courses, and the recent release of what it will take to become an approved training provider all seem to imply that the later dates may be the actual dates of implementation.  But of course, time will tell.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

A Beautiful Day for Fishing at the 5th Annual PACNY Salmon Fishing Pro-Am

As we posted in our last blog post, this summer was going to be busy.  Well, the annual salmon fishing trip was a success, again!  We took the 5th Annual journey to Point Breeze to participate in the Professional Abatement Contractors of New York (#PACNY) Salmon Fishing Pro-Am Derby.  This year 14 boats participated in the derby.  We left from Orchard Creek to fish the Great Lake of Ontario at 6 AM.  As the same as last year, Future Environment Design's (#FEDTC) had the same boat as last year "Catchin Hell" piloted by Captain Tom and First Mate Mike. 

Sunrise on Lake Ontario
 As always, a great big "THANK YOU" to Darren Yehl of Cornerstone Training (CTI) and PACNY for organizing this event.  This event allows us to catch up with many of the PACNY members and see how the year is doing.  Here was this year's line-up of PACNY members and boats:

  • DiVal - Reel Excitement
  • DiVal - Get Hooked
  • Sessler - Intimidator
  • Abscope - Rusty Lure
  • FEDTC - Catchin Hell
  • Rochester Environmental - Irish Thunder
  • CTI - Sunrise II
  • CTI - Legacy
  • NRC - Reflection
  • Paradigm - Free Spirit
  • ECG - Richmond 4
  • AAC - Screaming Reels
  • Aramsco - Runnin Rebel
  • NRC - Troutman

Headin out to Lake Ontario

It was a beautiful day, the Lake was a little rough and because of it, we bounced around a bit on the way out to our fishing spot.  Captain Tom & First Mate Mike did a great job handing us the poles and giving us encouragement as we reeled in our catches.  We stayed on the lake until about noon and then came ashore to weigh our catches and see who won the derby.  After the weigh-in, a catered buffet lunch was provided by the Black North Inn and awarding the trophies/prizes.  This year's winners were:

Dival/Reel Excitement for the Big Fish and the Box
We had a great time, we caught 3 King Salmon and 3 Steelhead Trout.  We are looking forward to some good eating over the year as we usually bring all the fish home to have some over next few days and then freeze the rest to have until next year's catch.  Thank you to Darren Yehl for adding to what we brought home.  We did our special recipe of brown sugar, kosher salt, and scotch whiskey on the fish to have our version of lox and it is delicious!  See below for links to our fishing stories, see you next year!