Sunday, October 08, 2017

Revisit "Changes Are Coming", Did They? & Save The Dates For PACNY's 2018 Environmental Conference

It has been over six months since we did our presentation "Changes Are Coming" at the Professional Abatement Contractors of New York (PACNY) 2017 Environmental Conference.  We figured it would be a good time to see where we stand with the changes we discussed in our presentation.  Our PACNY presentation can be viewed here if you don't remember it or have not seen it yet:


 We started our presentation with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the appointment of Scott Pruitt as the EPA Administrator.  Mr. Pruitt has been cutting agency staff and aggressive in reducing environmental regulations, all things that were expected once his appointment was announced.  The primary regulation we discussed, under EPA, was the reauthorized Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) and the potential for an asbestos ban.  Asbestos was listed by EPA as a top ten chemical listed for review.  However, in June 2017, the EPA released a series of limitations on TSCA, including how broadly the agency will review potentially hazardous substances.  It will be interesting to see how the Pruitt-led EPA will move this along.  It is also interesting that the US which was reducing imports of asbestos for many years (343 metric tons imported in 2015) all of sudden increased imports last year (705 metric tons).  Was the chloralkali and other asbestos using industries increasing inventories in anticipation of a ban?  Not the changes many people were hoping for. 
Brent Kynoch of EIA Presenting at the PACNY Conference
In our next section, we discussed the changes coming to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  Well probably the best description for what is going on there is delay and re-evaluate.  OSHA still does not have an Administrator to head the Agency.  The first regulation we talked about was the Respirable Crystalline Silica standard which was to take effect in the construction industry by June 23.  OSHA delayed that enforcement to September 23.  Then delayed that enforcement for employers making a good faith effort to comply for another 30 days (see the OSHA memorandum here).  The next standard, the Beryllium standard has been delayed by a proposed rule-making on June 27, 2017.  This rule-making would eliminate the ancillary provisions (determining whether other sections of the OSHA construction and shipyard standards provide adequate protection) but not the lowered permissible exposure limit (0.2 micrograms per cubic meter) and the short term exposure limit (STEL of 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter, over a 15 minute sampling period).  OSHA has published a fact sheet (click here for the fact sheet) on the proposed rule-making.   The rule requiring companies to electronically submit injury and illness information was delayed from July 1, 2017 to December 1, 2017.  OSHA's Injury Tracking Application is now available and can be accessed here.  Remember establishments with 20-249 employees in certain high-risk industries (i.e., Construction, Services to Buildings & Dwellings, and Remediation & other waste management services) must submit information from its 2016 Form 300A by December 1, 2017.  Probably the most significant change at OSHA has been the elimination on OSHA's website of the ticker that listed the fatalities that have occurred daily across the country and the reduction of publishing employers who have been issued significant violations.

Thursday Night In the Vendor Hall

Our final section was reserved for New York State (NYS) regulations in particular the asbestos and mold state regulations.  Nothing has changed for the asbestos regulation, but our desire for Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) type clearance testing for all floor tile projects opened up a healthy debate (see our blogpost "Asbestos Floor Tile Debate Results" and our article in Healthy Indoors Magazine).  The NYS's Mold Law Article 32 still does not have regulations and so nothing has changed regarding the mold supervisor, how to pass clearance, if the underlying cause is not fixed, etc.  However, NYS Department of Labor did publish a renewal process.  To renew your license you will need to take a 4-hour mold refresher course and resubmit your paperwork with the appropriate fee (see our blogpost "Future Environment Designs Approved to Offer NYSDOL Mold Refresher Courses"). 

Friday's NYSDOL Roundtable
The 2018 PACNY Environmental Conference will be held from February 28 to March 3, 2018 at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York.  Its too early yet for the registration information and speakers, but you can expect Thursday Night in Vendor Hall and NYSDOL will probably be there on Friday, March 3.  We look forward to seeing you there.