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.

Monday, May 07, 2018

PACNY's Environmental Conference, Part Three - Bomb Cyclone Hits

Winter Storm Riley at Turning Stone Casino
On the final day of the Professional Abatement Contractors of New York (PACNY) 22nd Annual Environmental Conference, we awoke in the middle of Winter Storm Riley which turned into a Nor'easter and hit Turning Stone Casino between Thursday night & Friday Morning, March 1-2, 2018 with about 7 inches of snow.  Some attendees left before the storm hit putting a further dampener on attendance.  Because of the storm, there was some concern that New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) would not be able to attend.  Because of a good Samaritan who helped NYSDOL representatives who were in the area get to the conference and the technological genius of Bob Krell, of Healthy Indoors Magazine, and Kevin Hutton, of Cornerstone Training, Dr. Eileen Franko was also present.

Peter Delucia, of AAC Contracting, discussing Crystalline Respirable Silica
The last day of the conference started with Peter Delucia, AAC Contracting, discussing "Managing the Many Facets of the Silica in Construction Standard."  Mr. Delucia did a great job presenting on topic and provided some excellent references related to preventing exposures, sampling, and complying with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) silica standard 1926.1153.  Mr. Delucia's presentation helped us develop our training courses for silica and our blog post "OSHA's Silica Standard - What's All the Fuss About?, Part Two".

NYSDOL's Presentation with Dr. Franco on Screen

The final presentation of the conference was the managers from NYSDOL, the Director Dr. Eileen Franko, present by video conference; Program Manager of Asbestos Control Bureau, Mr.  James Meachum PE;  Program Manager of Licensing & Certification Unit, Mr. Kirk Fisher; and Program Manager of Engineering Services Unit, Mr. Ed Smith, PE.  Some of the major points included:

  • Mr. Smith, announcing that they are looking into releasing some Fast Track Variances that would speed up the process of filing for a variance.  These variances could be used as they are written with no changes and those could be approved faster.
  • Mr. Smith gave us an update on the changes to Industrial Code Rule 56, including a Senate Bill (S06492) and Assembly Bill (A08254) that would remove the 1974 date from regulation for demolitions.  Mr. Smith also discussed some of the changes to New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) asbestos regulation Title 15.
  • Mr. Fisher announced a change in filing for a mold license for assessment and remediation companies that will require separate applications for a company license and an individual license for owners.
  • After being questioned when the removal of social security numbers from asbestos application process would happen.  Mr.Fisher informed us that would not happen in the foreseeable future.  The system they have is antiquated and there is no funding for updating it.  The system uses social security numbers to identify the holders of the various certificates.
  • Mr. Meachum discussed full-time asbestos project monitoring and the responsibilities of the project monitors being added to asbestos variances.
  • Mr. Meachum discussed the mold fact sheets that NYSDOL developed and they strongly recommend the fact sheets be provided to mold assessment/remediation clients.  In addition, Mr. Meachum announced that the first violations were sent out under Article 32, the Mold Licensing Law.  The violations were for not having a license and performing work and/or advertising as a mold professional. 

Steve Winograd & me at the PACNY Conference 
Attendance on the last day was down but it was still an excellent conference with lots of useful information.  We cannot say this enough about the excellent and hard work that Ms. Deborah Sanscrainte, of Aramsco, the conference chairperson and Ms. Lisa Brown, of Summit Environmental, Administrator put in to make the conference as good as it is.  Congratulations to the PACNY Board, as they continue to show why they are leaders for the abatement industry in New York State.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

PACNY's Second Day, Part Two - A Storm is Coming!

The second day of the Professional Abatement Contractors of New York's (PACNY's) 22nd Annual Environmental Conference started with a continental breakfast in the Vendor/Exhibit Hall at the Turning Stone Casino, which seemed fuller than previous conferences.  Ms. Deb Sanscrainte, of Aramsco & the Conference Chair and Mr. Joseph Cantone, of Colden Corp. & the PACNY President welcomed everybody & gave us opening remarks.

Ms. Reinstein discussing Asbestos Exposure

The first presenter of the day was the keynote speaker Ms. Linda Reinstein, of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) and the Global Ban Asbestos Network (GBAN), discussing "Mitigating Asbestos Exposure in the 21st Century."  It was a rousing presentation and very inspirational.  In addition, Ms. Reinstein announced the launch of her new kNOwAsbestos website.  A one-stop resource guide for you to learn about asbestos and what to do about it.  Our next speaker was Mr. Michael Misenhimer, of the Northeastern Subcontractors Association (NESCA).  His presentation was on "The Fight to Get Paid - Practical Strategies for Subcontractors" and included a valuable 11 point hand-out that he was kind of enough to allow us to add to our dropbox folder (under conference presentations) on Future Environment Designs website's resource page.  Mr. Misenhimer's presentation was on the 11 point hand-out that recommended that subcontractors investigate the General Contractor (i.e., credit evaluation); condition your bid on your payment terms, establish entitlement to prompt payment; clarify retainage provisions; use your payment bond rights and other important information on making sure you get paid-in-full.  His hand-out included example letters to use for each of the 11 points.  The end of his presentation brought us to the first break and time in the Vendor/Exhibit Hall.

Mr. Michael Misenhimer & his 11 Point Hand-out
We returned from the break to Mr. Richard Clarkson of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) discussing "Part 360 Revisions and Solid Waste Regulations".  Mr. Clarkson's presentation discussed the definition of friable asbestos; when fill must be tested to be reused; what fill must be tested for to be reused; waste transporter registration; and waste reporting & recordkeeping.  Our next speaker was Mr. Adam Schrader, of Ecospect, discussing "Healthy Basement, Healthy Home".  Mr. Schrader's presentation discussed the multitude of contaminants that exists in the home and the workplace and wicking/capillary action a source of moisture for floors & walls.  After Mr. Schrader's presentation, we broke for a fantastic lunch and more networking opportunities.

Ms. Sheryl Esposito at the FEDTC Booth in Vendor/Exhibit Hall
After lunch, the conference continued with Mr. Tom Stebbins of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York speaking on asbestos litigation, fraud in the litigation arena, and contradictory claims.  Up next was Mr. Bob Krell - PACNY's Media Partner Healthy Indoors Magazine and IAQ Technologies discussing "Avoiding Pitfalls of Mold Investigators & Remediation Projects."  Mr. Krell discussed the limitations of mold air sampling and using relative humidity for mold assessments; and discussed a rough method to determine if a HEPA filter is working utilizing laser particle counters for mold remediation.  Our final presenter for Day Two was Mr. Adam Andrews of the American Council of Accredited Certifications (ACAC) who discussed the "Advantages of Certification for Indoor AIr Quality".  Mr. Andrews discussed the differences between Third-party Accreditation Programs between Council for Engineering and Scientific Specialty Boards (CESB), American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and National Commission of Certifying Agencies (NCCA) and ACAC's Council-certified Indoor Environmental Supervisor.

Adam Andrews Discussing ACAC's Council-certified Indoor Environmental Supervisor
That ended day two of the conference.  After the last presentation, we went to the Vendor's Reception in the Exhibit Hall.  Continued networking in the exhibit hall, spent time with Dr. David Dulford, of CanAm Environmental Safety, Dival Safety Equipment Suppliers; Grayling Industries; Frederico Demolition;  Aramsco; Duke Company; and our good friend and no longer competitor Mr. Steve Winograd, of EMSL.  We also had a great time at Dival's after party!  Day two's presentations provided valuable information that will plan on using in the various courses we offer at Future Environment Designs.  Stay tuned for Day Three as the storm hit Turning Stone that night.

Vendor's Reception in the Exhibit Hall

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Winter Storm Impacts PACNY Conference, Part One.

Turning Stone Lodge before the Storm
This year was the Professional Abatement Contractors of New York (PACNY) 22nd Annual Environmental Conference.  This year's conference was overshadowed by Winter Storm Riley which turned into a Nor'easter and hit Turning Stone Casino between Thursday night & Friday Morning, March 1-2, 2018 with about 7 inches of snow.  Which put a dampener on attendance with only a few Long Islanders making the conference this year.  However, the Vendor Display/Exhibit Hall seemed to have the usual amount of vendors, maybe we even had more than the usual.  This year's schedule was a little different from past years in that presenters were given a little more time for their presentations and more time was given between presentations to spend in the Vendor Display/Exhibit Hall.  As usual the PACNY Board did an excellent job of putting everything together, which special accolades to Ms. Deborah Sanscrainte of Aramsco, the conference chairperson and Ms. Lisa Brown of Summit Environmental, Administrator.

Mr. Meacham discussing the Enforcement Process

The first day, known as Proficiency Workshop day consisted of two presentations the first was Mr. James Meacham, PE, program manager for New York State Department of Labor' (NYSDOL)'s Asbestos Control Bureau (ACB), discussing "Solving the Mysteries of the Asbestos Control Bureau".  Mr. Meacham's presentation went through the process of an inspection, the issuance of a Notice of Violation (NOV), and then continued with the process of resolving the NOV.  His presentation did an excellent job of bringing transparency to the enforcement process.  A key point of Mr. Meacham's presentation, was the response from the contractor (violator) issued the NOV.  Contractors have two opportunities to address a violation, onsite during the inspection and the second time, is when responding to the written violation.  Onsite, if their is no dispute contractors should stop work, fix the discrepancy(ies) and document the actions in the logbook.  If there is a discrepancy, contractors should work towards complying with what can be done, document your position on the deficiency, and document your corrective actions in the logbook.  When a violator receives a violation,  the contractor should review the project with their staff, gather the compliance documentation, and submit a response to the NOV.  This is important part of the process and could go a long way in mitigating violations.

Mr. Meacham discussing the Violation Review Process
The second presenter was Mr. Kevin Hutton, of Cornerstone Training Institute, discussing "Complexities of NYSDOL, OSHA, and EPA".  Mr. Hutton provided a handout called a "Guide to NYS CR56-11.1 In-Plant Operations", this guide provided basic information regarding how Industrial Code Rule 56 handles the requirements for in-plant operations and what Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 1926.1101 work practices would apply under in-plant operations.  In addition, Mr. Hutton's presentation, discussed NYSDOL Engineering Service Unit's addition of full-time project monitoring to many variance applications.  The additions have included wording of what the responsibilities of the project monitor are for these variances (since Industrial Code Rule 56, itself, does not provide much information regarding that).  Which brings up the question whether project monitors realize the scope of their responsibilities on such projects.  We suspect not, since we've already seen some project monitors being issued violations for not following the variance requirements.


Mr. Hutton discussing full-time Project Monitoring added to Variances
That ended the first day of presentations, with later that evening the PACNY President's (Joseph Cantone, of Colden Corporation) reception was held, where many of us gathered and discussed concerns regarding the pending storm.  Stay tuned for Part Two the Technical Sessions and the Vendor Reception!