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Friday, April 28, 2017

April 28th - Workers' Memorial Day!

Future Environment Designs (#FEDTC) joins with other safety organizations in marking today as Worker's Memorial Day!  Worker's Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died on the job.  This is also the day that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created in 1971.

Construction work on the ferry terminal on Lake Champlain

Before OSHA was created, an estimated 14,000 workers were killed on the job per year.  Though OSHA has been mostly successful in reducing the number job related deaths (job related deaths are down to 4,500 per year, however, there are over 50,000 who die from occupational diseases like asbestosis & silicosis) it is important to remember, there is still more we can do.  These deaths are preventable!  Now that Mr. R. Alexander Acosta has been confirmed as the new Labor Secretary, we will get a new OSHA director and find out the direction OSHA will take going forward.

Public events happen all over the country celebrating Worker's Memorial Day visit OSHA's website for more information.

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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