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!






Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Busy Summertime at Future Environment Designs (#FEDTC)!

The past few months have been a crazy ride and the rest of the year looks like it will continue!  So what's been going on at Future Environment Designs, Inc.?  At the time of this writing, we are getting ready to head to New York City for a presentation sponsored by the Metro-New York American Industrial Hygiene Association (Metro-NY AIHA).   Mr. Mark Drozdov will be presenting on new New York City regulations regarding construction training and mold requirements.  Later in the week, we will be heading to Plattsburgh for the annual Safety Expo and training for a mold remediation contractor in the area.  The Safety Expo held by the Northern Adirondack Safety and Health Council (NASHC) is usually an excellent place to meet the safety and health professionals in the Plattsburgh area.  We are looking forward to hearing the OSHA Compliance Assistance Specialist Ron Williams speak about what's new at OSHA.  For more information regarding the Safety Expo click here.

NASHC Safety Expo 2016
FEDTC has been busy creating courses for our e-learning/Training At Your Convenience service.  We now have three courses available for e-learning:  Asbestos Awareness; Respirator User; and NYCDEP asbestos restricted handler, handler, and handler supervisor exam review.  We are hoping to have a fourth course available soon.  We currently have a bunch of courses on the schedule that is drawing a lot of attention.  We have an asbestos supervisor initial course scheduled for July 23-27, 2018, our OSHA 30-hour construction safety course on July 30-August 2, 2018 is almost sold out and our combined mold worker/supervisor/remediation/assessment course on August 20-23, 2018 is already half full.

Our most recent Combined Mold Initial Course
Then finally we are looking forward to our annual participation in the 5th Annual Professional Abatement Contractors of New York (PACNY) Salmon Fishing Pro-AM on July 11, 2018.  We will be again on "Catchin Hell" boat hoping to bring home some big fish or just a lot of fish like last year!  We still have some trout and salmon in the freezer from last year!  Well, that's what's been going on at FEDTC hope to see you at one the events!

Last year's catch wasn't big but it was plenty!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

OSHA Fines Increase - Silica Rule Enforcement Ramps Up

On January 2, 2018, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has increased the maximum civil penalties (fines) for serious, other-than-serious, and posting requirements to $12,934, from $12,471.  Failure to Abate violations have increased to $12,934 per day beyond the abatement date from $12,471 and Willful/Repeat violations have increased to $129,336 from $124,709.  These civil penalty increases were mandated by Congress, on November 2, 2015, through legislation that required all federal agencies to adjust their civil penalties to account for inflation.  OSHA increased their penalties on August 1, 2016, the link to our previous blog post discussing that increase is below.  Moving forward, as the legislation requires, the penalties will be adjusted each year based on the Consumer Price index.  OSHA will continue to do penalty reductions based on the size of the employer and other factors.

Properly Using Table 1 Will Avoid a Violation
According to April 24, 2018, article by Bloomberg Environment, OSHA and state programs have cited the silica rule 116 times since September 23, 2017.  With OSHA ramping up enforcement of the respirable crystalline silica rule (1926.1153) incorrectly following Table 1 procedures (cited 27% of the time), and not measuring worker exposures (cited 30% of the time), can result in a serious violation at the cost of $12,934 each.  Not training workers about silica or not having a silica exposure plan may result in other-than-serious violations that could cost $12,934 each.

Using this Equipment, we can Measure Silica Exposures

OSHA's website discussing the increase in civil penalties can be found here.  While the OSHA website discussing the silica rule requirements can be found here.