Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Results of the Metro NY AIHA's EHS Global & Local Update Meeting


On November 19, 2009, the Metropolitan New York Chapter of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) sponsored the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) – Global and Local Updates: Asbestos, Fire/Life Safety and EHS program at the Pfizer Conference Center.  For the list of speakers and their biographies click on the title above. The program was excellent and each of the speakers provided a lot of valuable information.  Because of the recent activity by regulatory agencies regarding asbestos, the three speakers speaking on asbestos drew a large crowd.  The speakers were:
  • Mr. Carlstein Lutchmedial speaking on the revisions to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYC DEP) asbestos regulations;
  • Mr. Chris Alonge speaking on the proposed revisions to the New York State Department of Labor Industrial Code Rule 56 (NYS DOL ICR56);
  • Mr. Kevin Malone speaking on the New York State Department of Health’s asbestos training program and their program on performing audits/inspections of schools regarding their compliance with the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA).
Mr. Lutchmedial, the Director of Enforcement for NYC DEP, discussed the new asbestos regulations, filing requirements, and the new regulation’s relationship with what occurred at the Deutsche Bank Fire. The key points of his presentation were:
  • New filing requirement and process for ACP7s (see our Autumn 2009 Newsletter for further information on this process http://futureenvironmentdesigns.com/newsletter.htm );
  • The new regulations are aligned with the fire code and specific fire safety requirements;
  • There is no grandfathering of the regulation. If you had a project that started before the regulations took effect (November 13, 2009), you must bring your project into compliance with the new regulation;
  • Preparation of the work area must be in the order the regulations are written (i.e., occupant notification, posting of floor plan with location of all fire exists, vacate area, shutdown electric, worker decontamination enclosure, erection of barriers);
  • Added a section defining unprofessional conduct;
  • No longer need a variance for floor tile removals;
  • All variances must be designed by a NYS certified Asbestos Project Designer.
Mr. Alonge’s, the DOSH Associate Safety and Health Engineer NYS DOL and author of the current ICR56, presentation was similar to the PACNY presentation (visit http://www.labor.state.ny.us/workerprotection/safetyhealth/DOSH_CODE_RULE_56_TRANSITION.shtm if you want to see the presentation and see my blog post on that presentation at http://futureenv.blogspot.com/2009_03_01_archive.html ). In our refresher classes we’ve been discussing Mr. Alonge’s presentation since he was kind enough to provide us with a copy of the presentation. The big difference with this presentation is he provided a rough timeline for when the new regulations may come out and eventually go into effect. The key points of Mr. Alonge’s presentation were:
  • The new regulation will have several references to the current NYS fire and building code. Mr. Alonge views many of changes to ICR56 as already being required by the fire and building code, with a few exceptions (i.e., negative air unit disconnect switch);
  • An audience question brought on a discussion regarding the use of dust samples in determining the extent of incidental disturbance. Mr. Alonge’s view was that Asbestos Inspectors should rarely use dust sampling. When dust sampling is necessary then it should follow the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard method D5755 for sampling and the analysis must follow NYS DOH Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP) methodology (this methodology provides you with qualititative results of positive or negative for asbestos).
  • Expected dates: Draft is currently at Counsel. Once Counsel is completed, anticipate submittal to the Governor’s Office of Rules and Regulation (GORR) around Jan/Feb 2010. Publish for comments April 2010. Final version by July 2010.
Mr. Malone’s, Section Chief of the Asbestos Safety Training Program of NYS DOH, discussion was on the asbestos training program and the audit/inspection program of NYS schools determining compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) AHERA regulation. Key points of his discussion were:
  • NYS DOH issued 26,000 asbestos certificates in New York State through 72 training providers.
  • Mr. Malone’s discussion of NYS DOH’s audit/inspection program for EPA highlighted several areas where schools are not complying with the AHERA regulations. These are:
    • Recordkeeping
    • No warning labels
    • Short term worker notification
    • Custodial/Maintenance Staff Training
    • Not identifying all ACBM
    • Project Designer
    • Clearance Sampling
  • The last two are significant in that once Mr. Malone discussed what was required, most people in the audience realized in regards of the last two not a single school in NYS is probably doing them. Visit our discussion group at http://groups.google.com/group/fed-forum?hl=en for a copy of the spreadsheets that Mr. Malone provided the attendees on this topic.
  • AHERA requires project designs developed by a Certified Asbestos Project Designer for all projects greater than a small scale short duration or minor fiber release (less than or equal to 3 linear feet (LF) or 3 square feet (SF)). Meaning in a school, even a NYS minor asbestos project (less than or equal to 10 SF or 25 LF) would require an asbestos project design written by a certified asbestos project designer.
  • Clearance testing for projects greater than 3 LF to less than 260 LF or greater than 3 SF to less than 160 SF require 5 inside air , 5 outside air and 3 blank samples analyzed by phase contrast microscopy. As you can see from the spreadsheet, this is a NYS State Education Department requirement. AHERA on the other hand would require only 5 inside and 2 blanks samples analyzed by PCM.
In addition to the above speakers, Ms. Gee Kay, acting Director of the Manhattan area office, representing OSHA informed us that the Obama Administration increased OSHA’s budget by 10% increasing inspections to 6,000 and allowing OSHA to hire more Compliance Safety and Health Officers. There are currently 20 CSHO in Manhattan and 5 in Queens. She also informed us of OSHA’s increased activity in rule making including the hazard communication, combustible dust, and acetylene standards. Mr. Julian Bazel, Counsel and Mr. James Hansen, Director of Code Revision, of the NYC Fire Department discussed the new fire code in NYC. Ms. Nancy Orr, Director - Global Environment, Health and Safety for Becton Dickinson, spoke about developing a global health and safety process/netrics in a de-centralized multinational corporation.  While our host Mr. Michael West from Pfizer spoke on climate change and occupational hygiene; the whole day was very informative and entertaining. The Metro Chapter did a great job putting this program together. The program was well worth the trip into Manhattan and meeting some old friends made it even better.

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