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!

Friday, March 09, 2018

OSHA's Silica Standard - What's All The Fuss About? Part Two

In our previous post, we discussed that as long as you were performing tasks that were listed in Table 1 of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Respirable Crystalline Silica 1926.1153 standard we didn't see what all the fuss was about.  Even if some tasks required a respirator some of those tasks would allow you to use an administrative control (have the worker do the task for 4 hours or less) to eliminate the respirator requirement.  The fuss is all about those tasks that do not eliminate respirator usage (i.e, Task (x) Jackhammers and handheld powered chipping tools with a water delivery system at the point of impact, used indoors or in an enclosed area) in Table 1 or a task not listed in Table 1.  We already discussed the requirements, if Table 1 requires a respirator in Part One of this blog.  So the question is what is required if your task is not listed in Table 1 or you can't fully & properly implement the engineering controls, work practices, and respiratory protection described in Table 1?  Well that's a long story and that's what all the fuss is all about!

Mr. Peter Delucia's Silica Presentation at the PACNY Conference
Before we get into this long story, we would like to thank Mr. Peter Delucia, of AAC Contracting, for his assistance in helping us write this blog post.  Mr. Delucia's presentation at the Professional Abatement Contractors of New York (PACNY) 22nd Annual Environmental Conference was jam packed with examples, references, and information out in the internet to assist employers wanting to comply with this standard.  Much of that information helped us write this post.

If you can't use Table 1 (the above video would be a Table 1 activity), then you have to use an alternative exposure control method (d).  Which first requires that no employee be exposed to an airborne concentration of respirable crystalline silica ( silica) in excess of 50 micrograms per cubic meter (ug/m3), calculated as an 8-hour Time Weighted Average (TWA).  Second employers must perform an exposure assessment (d)(2)(i) for each employee who is or may reasonably be expected to be exposed to silica at or above the action level (25 ug/m3).  Here you have two choices either the performance option (d)(2)(ii) or scheduled monitoring option (d)(2)(iii).  The performance option allows combination of air monitoring or objective data that is sufficient to accurately characterize employee exposures to silica. The performance option can be almost like Table 1 in that the employer can use objective data that is created by others to determine employee exposures to silica.  Some manufacturers are creating objective data for their tools (i.e., Milwaukee Tool, which has some objective data information for some of their tools and shrouds).  You can use these by just following the instructions on the objective data and making sure you meet the conditions listed in objective data.  The second choice is to perform initial monitoring (scheduled monitoring) to assess the 8-hour TWA exposures for each employee on the basis of one or more personal breathing zone air samples that reflect the exposures of employees on each shift, for each job classification, in each work area.  Which means you need to have the personal air sampling equipment and a laboratory for analysis of your air samples.  This is a little complicated and because most people are unfamiliar with how to do personal air sampling, this can be quite intimidating!

However, with the proper training (we do a respirable crystalline silica competent person course) and a good laboratory to support your efforts the competent person could perform the sampling necessary to meet the OSHA requirements.  There is some basic equipment that is needed to do sampling (as you can see from the video above).  One of the most important pieces is the personal air sampling pump.  These pumps are portable and are usually worn on the waist of the person you want to determine their exposure.  There are quite a few manufacturers of these pumps (Sensidyne, maker of Gillian sample pumps & SKC, maker of Universal sample pumps, etc.).  You want these pumps to be durable and be able to handle a drop here and there.  Purchasing these pumps is not a bad idea but before you consider doing that we need to remind you that these pumps need to be calibrated against a primary standard at least every three months.  Primary standards are not cheap (Buck Calibrator & Gilibrator, etc).  So unfortunately, its not that easy to buy the pumps and use them.  If you don't intend on using these pumps regularly a better choice would be to rent the pumps from a laboratory.  Then have the laboratory maintain and calibrate the pumps when they send them to you.  This also allows for billing the equipment to specific projects.  There are quite a few labs that can help you in that way (SGS Galson & EMSL, etc.).  This way you can tell them what you are sampling and they will send you the equipment and sampling media you need for doing the sampling and incorporate the analysis price for the whole exposure assessment.  They will also send you instructions on using the equipment properly, sample & chain of custody forms for doing the sampling, as needed. The samplers for silica are pictured below and you will want to use either one of these samplers.  The standard then goes into how often you will need to do scheduled monitoring based on the results, employee notification of results, and observation of monitoring results.

Personal Pump with PPI sampler for silica
Breathing zone sampling with aluminum cyclone sampler for silica

Once you have determined which method you are using (Exposure Assessments, or Scheduled monitoring), the employer must have a written exposure control plan.  The plan must cover the tasks in the workplace; a description of engineering controls, work practices, and respiratory protection used to limit exposure; housekeeping measures used to limit exposure; and procedures to restrict access.  The employer must update the plan at least annually and designate a competent person to make frequent and regular inspections of job sites, materials, & equipment to implement the plan.   The final step is to train the workers and the competent person on the exposure control plan so everyone understands and knows what is required under the plan.  Again, we have added a number of courses to our schedule or contact us here if you need us to work with you in developing your exposure control plan or exposure monitoring plan to help you keep your employees safe!