Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Save The Dates February 26th through February 28th 2020!!! PACNY's Environmental Conference Is Set!!

The Professional Abatement Contractors of New York (PACNY) have announced the dates for their annual Environmental Conference to be held on February 26th through February 28th, 2020.  It will be held at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York.  To register for the conference or sponsor the conference click here!

NYSDOL Asbestos & Mold Control Bureau 
This year Future Environment Designs  is working with PACNY to put together the Wednesday, February 26th, 2020, Proficiency Day.  We are working with the regulatory bodies to start the conference with a bang and get the professional development points for professional engineers/architects, which would also apply for the American Council for Accredited Certifications (ACAC) and the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH).  We are focusing on Asbestos Contamination Assessments - what is expected by the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) Engineering Department to approve a Site-Specific Variance and What NYSDOL Enforcement expects in the cleanup process?

Professional Presentations
On Thursday, February 27, 2020, will be the Professional Day this day will include information on Vinyl Asbestos Tile (VAT) removal; exposure updates on talc; mercury flooring; waste management, recycling, and your carbon footprint; New York State (NYS) harassment training; and NYS Women-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE)/Minority-Owned Business Enterprise (MBE) requirements.  The Vendor Exhibit Hall will also open on Thursday.  As usual Future Environment Designs will have a booth and we will have our book for sale "Do As I Say Not As I Did" and it can be signed by the author Angelo Garcia, III.

Vendor Exhibit Hall

On Friday, February 28, 2020, will be Regulatory Day.  The day will open with a round table panel and discussion including survey requirements expert panel discussion.  Afterward, the NYSDOL Asbestos Control Bureau will once again be present to update us and answer questions from the attendees.  It plans to be another fantastic conference and we look forward to seeing you there!

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Future Environment Designs Attends the Plattsburgh Safety Expo and the PACNY Fishing Tournament


For a while there, it felt like Future Environment Designs was traveling all over the place.  We were in Plattsburgh/Montreal area at the end of June.  We were in Ohio/Michigan for the 4th of July week.  Then we were on Lake Ontario the week after.  We also developed two new online courses that allowed us to initiate a new training service.  The two new online (e-learning) courses are the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Hazard Communication and the New York State Right-to-Know Hazard Communication training courses.  Both courses were developed to meet the training requirements in the OSHA Hazard Communication standard (1910.1200).  While the NYS Right-to-Know course meets the New York State Right-to-Know training requirements in New York State Labor Law Section 551, Articles 48 and 28 and Title 12 of New York Code of Rules & Regulations Part 820, these laws are enforced by New York State Department of Labor's Public Employee Safety Health (PESH) division, in addition to the OSHA Hazard Communication standard (1910.1200).  The addition of these online courses to our training catalog allows us to provide a training subscription service that can meet your annual training requirements under the OSHA standards and New York State laws.  In some cases, we can reduce your training costs to $20 per student.  Contact us if you are interested.

Our Display at the NASHC Safety Expo 2019

On June 27, 2019, we attended the North Adirondack Safety and Health Council's (NASHC) Safety Expo 2019 at West Side Ballroom in Plattsburgh, New York.  The Safety Expo had a short agenda but the presentations were excellent.  Our favorite presentation was "Hazards of Working on or Near Energized Electrical Circuits" by Mr. John Olsen, of Blue Collar Safety.  His presentation on Arc Flash/Blast was particularly eye-opening.  Ms. Lola Miller's (of the Volvo Group) presentation "Preventing Serious Injuries & Fatalities" was also interesting especially since she was using Menti,com to make the presentation interactive.  Her presentation was challenging Heinrich's Triangle, which is the theory of industrial accident prevention.  It says if you reduce the number of minor accidents there would be a corresponding fall in serious accidents.  Her data with working with the Volvo Group did not indicate that.  Her view was you need to evaluate Serious Injury & Fatalities (SIF) precursors and make sure these are addressed.  There were 15 vendors at the Safety Expo 2019, Reynolds and Son's display had an interesting variety of catalogs including a catalog called Cut Safe.  The Cut Safe catalog had a variety of cutting tools that use ceramic technology, visit their website for more information.

Mr. John Olsen of Blue Collar Safety at NASHC Safety Expo
Our next trip was 4th of July week to Ohio (OH) & Michigan (MI).  Though this trip was more pleasure than business, we did write the July issue of Safety Suzy during this trip.  As many people know, we are a beer enthusiast.  So on this trip, we hit several of my favorite breweries Hoppin Frog Brewery (OH), Founders Brewery (MI), Brewery Vivant (MI), and New Holland Brewery (MI).  We had a great time and drank a lot of great beer.  In addition, we got to see and put our feet into Lake Michigan, which a week later we went fishing on Lake Ontario.

Sunrise on Lake Ontario
On the morning of July 10, 2019, we attended the 6th Annual Professional Abatement Contractors of New York (PACNY) Fishing Pro-Am Tournament.  It was a beautiful day for fishing the water was still and the sun was warm.  There were 15 boats in the tournament this year.  They were:

1. Dival - Reel Excitement
2. Cornerstone Training Institute (CTI) - Sunrise 2
3. CTI- Legacy
4. AAC- Shotgun
5. AAC- Troutman
6. NRC- Reflection
7. Abscope- Rusty Lure
9. SES- Intimidator 
10. Aramsco- Pleasure Unit
11. Paradigm - Free Spirit
12. Sienna- Get Hooked
13. Expert - Irish Thunder
14. Expert - Screaming Reels
15. ECG - Richmond 4 

My big catch for the day!

We had the good fortune to catch just enough Salmon & Steelhead to last us the entire year and fill our freezer again!  Thank you, Darren Yehl, of Cornerstone, for giving us his catch to add to what we caught!  The winners were:


So far the summer has been entertaining but is going quickly and soon it will be fall and the rush for asbestos and mold refresher classes will be on.  This year is the 4-year anniversary of Article 32 the Mold Law and most everyone's license will be expiring between September and January 2020.  See you soon!


Friday, June 21, 2019

NYC DEP Asbestos Rule Amendment Went Into Effect January 6, 2019, Public Comments On New Amendment Closes on July 22, 2019.

New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) announced that they are holding a public hearing on Monday, July 22, 2019, on amending/correcting some of the amendments that went into effect on January 6, 2019.  All comments on this new amendment must be made by July 22, 2019.   The Asbestos Rule Amendment of January 6, 2019, included quite a few changes to Chapter 1 of Title 15 of the Rules of the City of New York, for a copy of the rule with the changes incorporated, click here.  For a copy of the Asbestos Rule Amendments only, click here.  In addition, the "Promulgation of Air Asbestos Penalty Schedule" went into effect on January 6, 2019.  This penalty schedule has been incorporated into Title 53 of Chapter 1 and includes the revised violation schedule for the changes made to Title 15 by the Amendment.  For a copy of this Penalty Schedule, click here.

Asbestos Training Course
As expected most of the changes to Title 15 was in response to the over a year ago indictment and arrest of the 17-18 NYCDEP asbestos investigators, see below for the press conference or click here for Spectrum News NY 1's report.  Those indictments included recommendations from the New York City Department of Investigations (NYCDOI) click here to see the press release on the arrests and the summary of recommendations made by NYCDOI.


Some of the changes regarding asbestos investigators:
  • Subchapter A Section 1-01 subdivision (j) (3) now allows NYCDEP may block an asbestos investigator from filing an ACP5 form along with the previous wording of denying asbestos permits for non-payment of civil penalties by the abatement contractor, building owner or air monitoring company,
  • A requirement of an electronic recordkeeping system and to protect records from water damage, and a requirement to immediately report if any records are damaged, lost or destroyed,
  • Non-certified individuals may not collect bulk samples,
  • New applicants must submit documentation of successful completion of an 8 hour minimum introductory blueprint-reading course or any applicable building design and construction training or certification as established by the department and posted on the NYCDEP website,
  • Registered design professionals, certified industrial hygienist or certified safety professionals must have documentation of 6 months post-graduate experience in building survey for asbestos,
  • Associate Degree individuals must have 2 years (instead of one year) post-graduate experience in conducting surveys for asbestos,
  • Individuals with extensive experience must show 3 years (instead of two years) of experience in conducting surveys for asbestos,
  •  Applicants are allowed three attempts to achieve a passing grade on the exam.  After the third attempt results in failure, the applicant must retake the New York State Inspector Training to retake the NYCDEP exam, 
  • Section 1-16 letter (j) gives NYCDEP the authority to deny any application submitted if it is determined the applicant has failed to meet the six standards listed,
  • Section 1-16 letter (k) gives NYCDEP the authority to immediately suspend an investigator issued a notice of violation alleging unprofessional conduct that demonstrates a willful disregard for public health, safety or welfare,
  • Section 1-16 letter (l) gives NYCDEP authority for reasonable cause to believe an investigator's surveys have been performed improperly or fraudulently such that work performed poses or may pose a threat to human safety, the Commissioner may invalidate any or all ACP-5s filed by the investigator and may order the building owner to stop all work, have a new survey conducted by a different investigator, and have a new ACP5 submitted.
  • Section 1-16 letter (m) investigators must disclose prior convictions, etc.
  • Replacement certificates may only be obtained twice in any two-year validity period.
  • The addition of the number of samples required based on Surfacing Materials, Thermal System Insulation, and Suspect Miscellaneous Materials.
  • Skim coat of joint compound included in surfacing materials utilizing 3,5,7 rule.
  • Bulk Sample results/reports must be submitted within 72 hours of request (used to be 5 calendar days).
What's wrong with this picture?
Some of the changes regarding other parts of Title 15:
  • Several other definition modifications or changes, including:
    • Bound Notebook -notebook manufactured so that the pages cannot be removed without being torn out,
    • Start Date - shall mean the date when a worker decontamination enclosure system is installed and functional,
  • Approved Variances changes including automatically canceling a written approval of a variance when the building owner changes contractors,
  • Section added to experience requirement of asbestos handler supervisor,
  • Sections added to the renewal of restricted asbestos handler certificate,
  • Work Place Safety Plan's (WPSP) floor plans must now also show the location of the decontamination enclosure systems along with all project work areas,
  • Failure to comply with the approved WPSP is a violation of these rules was added.
  • A requirement that a registered design professional must submit a letter to the Asbestos Technical Review Unit affirming that the professional visited the workplace and that additional asbestos abatement, for the additional ACM added to a project, is consistent with the approved WPSP and the proposed changes will not impact egress or fire protection.
  • Electronic recordkeeping of the project record for abatement projects,
  • Air Monitoring Company must maintain electronic records for 30 years after the end of the project including:
    • NYCDEP Certificate number of all individuals (the new amendment would change this to air monitoring technicians)  who worked on the project;
    • location & general description of the project;
    • start and completion dates for the project;
    • name, address, & ELAP registration number of the laboratory used for air sample analysis;
    • a copy of the project air sampling log.
  • One air sample technician must be present per 3 work areas in one work site (the new amendment would add: except that if there are multiple work areas on the same floor, only one air sampling technician is required for that floor). 
  • A rotometer's calibration sheet must be available at the worksite,
  • Project air sampling log must be created & maintained in a bound notebook by the air monitoring company.  A copy of the log must be submitted within 72 hours of a request, used to be 24 hours.
  • Sample location sketches must be made within one hour of the beginning of sample collection.
  • Air sampling results/reports must be submitted within 72 hours of request (used to be 5 calendar days).
  • OSHA personal sampling must be made available within 72 hours of the request.
  • Entry and exit log must be submitted within 72 hours of a request, used to be 48 hours.
  • Glovebag procedures may only be used on horizontal piping.
  • The addition of on any individual floor for tent procedures.
The new amendment which is open for public comment until July 22, 2019, makes the following revisions:
  • Clarify section 1-29 by specifying that only air monitoring technicians need to have their license at the workplace, not all individuals (see the note above);
  • Clarify the requirements of section 1-36(b) as to how many air sampling technicians need to be present during sampling (see the note above);
  • Clarify that the requirements of section 1-42(a) regarding the placement of air samples apply to all asbestos projects, not only those that are conducted indoors;
  • Change the requirements for lettering on notices to be posted under sections 1-81(a) and 1-125(a), as contractors advised that the required font sizes were impractical.
  • Air Asbestos Penalty Schedule, found at Title 53 of Chapter 1 of the Rules of the City of New York (RCNY), which also became effective on January 6, 2019, had failed to carry over certain sections from the penalty schedule which had previously been located in the rules of the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings. Accordingly, DEP proposes to amend the penalty schedule to correct those omissions.
  • Finally, the proposed rule divides the penalty schedule into three subdivisions (specifically, the RCNY, the New York State Industrial Code, and the New York City Administrative Code). No substantive change is intended with respect to the amendments made by sections six and nine of the proposal other than the addition of a penalty for a violation of Administrative Code § 24-1002.
AHERA TEM method counts for total asbestos structures per cubic centimeter averaged 22 times greater than the PCM fiber counts on the same filters.

Considering this was primarily focused on the indicted asbestos investigators and recommendations from NYCDOI, there seemed to be a lot of things NYCDEP needed to clean-up in other parts of Title 15.  It is interesting that third-party analysis recommended by NYCDOI was left out of the amendment, and Future Environment Design's comment about requiring transmission electron microscope (TEM) analysis for asbestos floor tile projects was ignored.  So much for the revised purpose of these rules being to protect public health and the environment by minimizing emissions of asbestos fibers.  Not including TEM analysis for floor tile projects does exactly the opposite of that purpose.  For more information regarding this issue see our Floor Tile Debate blog post.

Friday, June 07, 2019

New York City Adds Training Requirements for Construction Workers, But Delays Phase II Again.

In 2017, New York City's (NYC) Council amended the administrative code of the City of New York and the NYC building code, in relation to construction site safety training.  This amendment is called Local Law 196 of 2017 (formerly known as Intro. 1447).  It amends the administrative code by adding section 22-509 Construction site safety training courses.  Requiring the Mayor to establish by March 1, 2018, a program to provide equal access to construction site safety training.  This law has several deadlines and was established to make sure that construction workers in New York City all had a minimum amount of training.  This law has been updated and delayed twice, so far (click here for the recent update).

Properly capped rebar
The first deadline has passed already, beginning March 1, 2018, each permit holder at a building site for which a construction superintendent, site safety manager, or site safety coordinator is required shall ensure that each construction or demolition worker employed or otherwise engaged at such site by the permit holder or performing subcontracted work for or on behalf of such permit holder shall have successfully completed:

  • an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 10-hour class;
  • an OSHA 30-hour class; or
  • a 100-hour training program.
So currently, you need one of the above items to work on most construction projects.  The next compliance date is now December 1, 2019 (it was originally December 1, 2018, it was pushed back by the Building Department to June 1, 2019, and now has been pushed back by the New York City Council).  Permit holders shall ensure each worker has an OSHA 30-hour card, SST card, a limited SST card or a temporary SST card and each worker who is serving as a site safety manager, site safety coordinator, concrete safety manager, construction superintendent or a competent person at such site shall have an SST supervisor card.

Recent OSHA 30-hour Construction Safety Course
If you are wondering what an SST card, a limited SST card, a temporary SST card, or an SST supervisor card is, well you are not the only one!  First, a Site Safety Training card (SST card) SST card, a limited SST card, a temporary SST card, or an SST supervisor card are cards that are issued by a New York City Department of Buildings Approved Training Provider (which at the time of my writing this, there are 72 training providers approved).

To get a limited SST card (which expires August 31, 2020) you must have taken one of the following training paths:

  1. OSHA 10-hour class with 20-hours of additional training:
    • OSHA 10-hour
    • 8-hour Fall Prevention
    • 8-hour Chapter 33 (Site Safety Manager Refresher) or 4-hour General Electives and 4-hour Specialized Electives
    • 4-hour Supported Scaffold User and refresher
  2. OSHA 30-hour class
  3. 100-Hour Training Program Approved by the Building Department
  4. Prior Experience
    • 4-hour Fall Prevention
    • 4-hour Supported Scaffold User

To get a temporary SST card (which expires after 6 months during which time training must be completed to receive a Limited SST card or SST card) you must have taken an OSHA 10-hour class.

To get an SST card (which expires after 5 years) you must have taken one of the following training paths, this card will be required by September 1, 2020 (unless the NYC Council pushes this deadline back):

  1. OSHA 10-hour class with 30-hours of additional training:
    • OSHA 10-hour class
    • 8-hour Fall Prevention
    • 8-hour Chapter 33 (Site Safety Manager Refresher)
    • 4-hour Supported Scaffold User
    • 4-hour General Electives
    • 4-hour Specialized Electives
    • 2-hour Drug and Alcohol Awareness
  2. OSHA 30-hour Class with 10-hours of additional training:
    • OSHA 30-hour class
    • 8-hour Fall Prevention
    • 2-Hour Drug and Alcohol Awareness
  3. 100-hour Training Program Approved by the Building Department
  4. Prior Experience
    • 4-hour Fall Prevention
    • 4-hour Supported Scaffold User
To get a Supervisor SST card (which expires after 5 years) you must have taken:
  • OSHA 30-hour class
  • 8-hour fall prevention
  • 8-hour Chapter 33 (Site Safety Manager Refresher)
  • 4-hour Supported Scaffold User
  • 2-hour Site Safety Plan
  • 2-hour Tool Box Talks
  • 2-hour Pre-task Safety Meetings
  • 2-hour General Electives
  • 2-hour Specialized Electives
  • 2-hour Drug and Alcohol Awareness
So that's how you get the various cards required under this local law.  The law doesn't end there.  The next compliance date is September 1, 2020.  By that date, all workers must have an SST card to work on most construction projects.

By the full compliance date, SST Cards & Supervisor SST cards will be required on most construction sites
Since SST Cards and Supervisor SST cards expire after 5 years, applicants must have completed training to renew the cards in the one-year period preceding renewal of the card (in other words if the card expires in September 2025, in the year from September 2024 to September 2025 you need to complete the training discussed below):

  1. SST Card (8 Hours)
    • 4-hour Fall Prevention
    • 4-hour Supported Scaffold User
  2. Supervisor SST card (16 hours)
    • 8-hour Fall Prevention
    • 4-hour Supported Scaffold User
    • 2-hour Tool Box Talks
    • 2-hour Pre-Task Safety Meetings
Local Law 196 of 2017 obviously, creates a minimum training requirement for workers on most construction projects, to visit the NYC Site Safety Training website click here.  Permit holders are required to maintain a daily log that identifies each worker and that includes, for each worker a copy of SST card, a limited SST card, a temporary SST card, or an SST supervisor card or proof of taking an OSHA 10-hour; OSHA 30-hour; or 100-hour training program.  Violations of this law will result in a civil penalty of up to $5,000 per untrained worker to be issued to the owner of the site, the permit holder, and the employer of the untrained worker (this could mean up to a $15,000 fine, based on contract language, to the employer of the untrained worker).  Failing to maintain the log will result in a civil penalty of $2,500.  The gradual phase-in, the list of General and Specialized Elective courses, and the recent release of what it will take to become an approved training provider all seem to imply that the later dates may be the actual dates of implementation.  As we see now.

Related Articles:

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Over 600 Attend the 23rd Annual PACNY Environmental Conference - A Most Successful Conference!

The third day of the Professional Abatement Contractors of New York's (PACNY's) 23rd Annual Environmental Conference at Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York, is typically called Regulatory Day because of the New York State Department of Labor attending and discussing the status of the programs they run.  This year's conference was the most attended conference with over 600 attendees, attending the three-day conference.  Ms. Deb Sanscrainte, of Aramsco, and the chairman of the conference, and Ms. Lisa Brown, of Summit Environmental, administrator of PACNY did what has become their routine process of getting the conference together (the most successful ever!), keeping everyone on point, focused on the conference, and the presentations.  Peter DeLucia and Greg Mance of AAC Contracting worked the audiovisual equipment as pros, even though this was there the first conference working the audiovisuals.  They have also made sure that they have gotten most of the presentations up on the PACNY website, click here.  Usually, the day after the vendor reception, the next morning starts out very slowly.  With vendors and attendees enjoying coffee, tea, and danishes in the vendor area.

Vendor Reception
The conference opened with a discussion of the hazards of lead-based paint by Mr. Kevin Hutton of Rochester Colonial Manufacturing.  Followed by Mr. Stephen Gheen, P.E. of Gheen Engineering speaking on New York State Department of Education (NYSED) rules regarding hazards of lead-based paint and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has different certifications and licenses for working in schools on lead-based paint.  Then Mr. Peter DeLucia of AAC Contracting spoke on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations regarding lead exposure.  All three then took questions and answers from the audience regarding lead-based paint.  All three presentations can be found on PACNY's website.

Lead Panel Discussion - Stephen Gheen, Kevin Hutton, & Pete DeLucia
After a short break, the conference proceeded with the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) panel consisting of Dr. Eileen Franko, the Director; Mr. James Meacham Program Manager, Asbestos Control Bureau; Mr. Kirk Fisher, Program Manager, Licensing & Certification; and Mr. Ed Smith, Program Manager, Engineering Services Unit.  Questions and answers session was moderated by Mr. Tim Thomas of Tetra Tech Engineering.

Questions for the Lead Panel
Mr. Meacham filled us in that NYSDOL received another 3-year grant (runs through to 2021) to audit school's compliance with the EPA's Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA).  To date, NYSDOL has audited 115 schools throughout the state.  Dr. Franko re-emphasized as she does every year that Article 32 the mold law is a consumer protection law and there are limitations in the law.  Mr. Fisher informed us that the online notification systems are not working they want and because of staffing issues licenses and certifications are taking 30 days to 6 weeks to process.  Mr. Smith informed us that they will start working on the fast track variances, again.  Fast Track Variances are a pilot program for certain site-specific variances (SSV).  These are common variances that are issued on a regular basis.  They are planning 9 variances to be available at the start of the program - negative air shutdown, exhausting to an interior space, elevator door removal, fire door removal, crawlspace with dirt floor, intact component removal, buried cementitious (e.g., Transite) pipe, HEPA drilling spot removal, & air sampling at elevated exhaust duct locations.   These would be the guidelines for getting a fast track variance:

  • A completed SH-752 form must be submitted. The form must include all the necessary information for obtaining a variance, including the hardship. NO information about the work plan should be included with the application.
  • The SH-752 form must be submitted by a certified Project Designer working on behalf of the Petitioner.
  • The variance fee of $350 must be included.
  • In Section 9 of the SH-752 form, the Petitioner's Agent must write in the number of the FTV that is requested.
  • The FTV will be issued as it is written. If some part of the FTV doesn't meet the project's needs, then a standard SSV is required.
  • Other relief cannot be added to the FTV.
  • No re-openings or amendments are allowed.
  • Termination date extension requests will be handled on a case-by-case basis,
  • These FTVs have no bearing on notification times.
During the questions and answers, several questions were asked related to the expiration date of training by NYSDOL versus the expiration date of AHERA.  With NYSDOL's view that this is only an issue for the initial class and that student as long as they comply with the annual training requirement related to the birth month, this is not an issue.  We also learned that NYSDOL has suspended the disruptive enforcement/reconciliation of records process they developed back in 2013 in response to a Thomas DiNapoli audit saying NYSDOL had no process to find those breaking the law for notification, surveys, etc.  According to NYSDOL, they do not have the staffing to handle this at this time.
Mr. Thomas introducing the NYSDOL panel Dr. Franko, Mr. Smith, Mr. Fisher, Mr. Meacham
The conference ended with lunch and Future Environment Designs was proud to be one of the sponsors of the conference.  Though it ended with NYSDOL indicating they are having staffing issues that are obviously impacting licensing, certification, and enforcement.  It was good to hear that NYSDOL is moving forward with the fast track variances.  As usual, we are already looking forward to next year's conference which will be February 26, 27, & 28, 2020.  See you there!

Friday, April 26, 2019

Professional Day - Day Two of PACNY's 23rd Annual Environmental Conference - Vendors Galore!

The second day of the Professional Abatement Contractors of New York's (PACNY's) 23rd Annual Environmental Conference at Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York, started in the Vendor Exhibit Hall with the realization that there were quite a few new vendors on display.  To be exact 5 additional vendors added to the usual 23 vendors the conference usually has.  To provide access to the presentations PACNY has loaded most of the presentations from the three-day conference at their website, click here.


Video of the Vendor Exhibit Hall at Turning Stone Casino

Opening remarks & conference welcome were done by Chairman Deb Sanscrainte of Aramsco, and PACNY President Joseph Cantone, of Colden Corporation.  The first presenter for the second day was Sue Rossi, CHMM the Sr. Industrial Account Manager of Waste Management, her topic was "Asbestos and other special wastes".  Her presentation informed us that New York State in 1988 had 227 landfills and now there are only 26 active landfills, many closed due to tougher environmental regulations.  Her presentation also informed us that NYS requires landfills to treat non-friable asbestos-containing materials (ACM) that are placed into an asbestos labeled waste bag (class 9 bags) as friable.  Even if they are put into class 9 bags that were turned inside out.  If the bag rips open at the landfill, the landfill will back charge the contractor for the additional fee for disposal as a friable instead of the nonfriable charge.  Ms. Rossi also discussed that Waste Management's High Acres Landfill can accept polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) bulk product (e.g., caulk, paint, mastics, sealants) waste.  The approval checklist and backup information for the handling of PCB bulk product wastes and a copy of her presentation can be found here.

Sue Rossi, CHMM of Waste Management speaking about Friable ACM waste
Our next presenter was Timothy W. Pullis, ARM, Construction Practice Leader of Brown & Brown of NY, Inc., discussing "Workers' Compensation EMR Fundamentals".  Mr. Pullis discussed a drugfree workplace credit of 5% (worth 5 points); experience mod was explained as a formula that calculates the ratio of "expected" losses compared to "actual" losses, the experience mod is a statistical comparison of risks using the same job class codes and similar payroll, and the result adjusts the annual workers compensation premium based on the prior loss experience by "modifying" the manual premium; and EMRs over one (1) could exempt people from certain contracts.  Our presenter before coffee break was Adam Schrader, President of Ecospect and George Schambach, President of NYS American Association of Radon Scientist and Technologist (AARST) Professional Home Inspection Service discussing "Current Radon Legislation in NYS, and current national American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/AARST Standards for testing and mitigation in all building types".  Mr. Schambach discussed pending NYS legislation Assembly Bill #A8605 and Senate Bill #S6851 to amend the real property law, in relation to radon service professional licensing.  Radon service professionals would include - radon measurement professional defined as radon service professional who deploys and retrieves radon detectors and provides a report of the associated measurement results that are generated by a radon analytical laboratory and radon mitigation professional defined as a radon service professional who interprets radon test results and determines the most effective way to manage radon concentrations within buildings.

Corey Briggs of Colden Corporation - Freeze Framed!
After taking our break in the Vendor Exhibit Hall, Kevin Canaan, of AAC Contracting, started the presentations by awarding Joseph D. Lane, President of Environmental Protection Services, PACNY's Lifetime Achievement Award for his many years of service above and beyond normal PACNY duties.  Corey W. Briggs, MSPH, CIH, CET, FAIHA, Senior Consultant of Colden Corporation, led a presentation titled "Freeze Frame - Focus on H&S" that was entertaining for the many pictures of unsafe acts.  Next up was Brian Sampson, of the Associated Builders and Contractors Association, discussing "Trends and Issues of Concern for the Construction Community".  His discussion touched on the legalization of recreational marijuana and the extension of prevailing wage to private work.

Mike Rubin of Goldberg Segalla - Proactively Establish Your Defenses
After lunch and the Vendor Exhibit Hall Mike Rubin Esq., Partner at Goldberg Segalla, discussed "Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Top Ten Tips - Minimize and Eliminate Exposure".  Mr. Rubin's presentation touched on the employer's rights during an OSHA inspection, creating an OSHA response plan, asserting your rights during an inspection, and points necessary for a proactive defense.  After another visit to the Vendor Exhibit Hall, Mike Waller, PhD, of Rochester Regional Health, spoke on "Sustainability/Solutions and How to Balance".  Dr. Waller started his presentation with "how do you define sustainability."  His definition was thought-provoking "development that meets the needs of the current generation without compromising the needs of future generations" or in other words "Solving today's challenges without creating future problems".  The presentations ended with Rob DeMalo, Member of the Board of Directors of the Environmental Information Association (EIA) and Senior Vice President of EMSL Analytical, Inc, presentation on "Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) Regulatory Update".  Discussing the Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Vendor Reception - Food and an Open Bar
After the presentations, the Vendor Reception was held in Vendor Exhibit Hall including food and an open bar.  The vendor reception included the usual suspects Aramsco, DiVal, Frederico Demolition, Healthy Indoors, and Future Environment Designs, click here for a full list of Sponsors/Vendors.  One of the interesting new vendors was Sundstrom displaying new respirators for asbestos and silica and Red Roof Inn with a special discount for conference attendees.  The second day is called Professional Day and all the presentations definitely met the definition of professional with a lot of valuable information provided and may takeaways. Stay tuned for the final day Regulatory Day!

Sundstrom Silica Dust Respirator Kit

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Thursday, March 28, 2019

Proficiency Day Awards Architects & Engineers 3 Professional Development Hours - PACNY's 23rd Annual Environmental Conference - Day One

This year's Proficiency Day of the Professional Abatement Contractors of New York's (PACNY's) 23rd Annual Environmental Conference was approved to award three (3) professional development hours (PDH) for architects and engineers.  This was the first time the first day of the conference was recognized for this purpose.  The first day is typically short with two or three presenters allowing us to get the presentations to the Practicing Institute of Engineers for their review.  Attendees had to sign the attendance sheet and attend the presentations to receive the 3 PDHs.  Ms. Lisa Brown, Executive Secretary of PACNY sent out the certificates to those that attended the presentations.

Karen Cummings, MPH presenting on the Asbestos Safety Training Program
Starting the conference and the proficiency day was Ms. Karen Cummings, MPH presenting on the Asbestos Safety Training Program  "Overview and Updates".  Her presentation gave us insights into the asbestos training industry.  For a copy of her presentation visit our Dropbox folder on the Resources page of our website.  Ms. Cummings has been the Director of the New York State Department of Health's Asbestos Safety Training Program for just over a year and has been getting to know the program.  Her presentation gave asbestos training providers, an important opportunity to meet with her and her staff (Ms. Jessica Pierce, reviewer of training submittals, and Ms. Ida Berry, many of us have met her when she has audited our training courses, were both in attendance).  Her department in 2018 regulated 62 training providers that provided 26,251 training certificates.  Her presentation included several graphics providing us with a glimpse of the NYS asbestos training industry.  The high water mark for training was 2000 when approximately 3,838 training classes (refreshers and initials total) were held (in 2018, 3,401 training classes were held).  Ms. Cummings also informed us that the high water mark for training certificates was 2013 with 29,130 certificates issued.  We learned that the busy season for training providers runs from January to April with over a third of all classes being held in that time period.  Some other interesting points from Ms. Cumming's presentation: 15% of providers (training providers holding 100+ classes per year) taught over half the classes and issued two-thirds of the certificates; average exam scores by discipline were typically higher for refresher classes than initial classes (not surprising) except for the air sample technician discipline (surprising).

Angelo Garcia, III, CIEC, CEOP, presenting on Asbestos Inspections & NYCDEP Changes
The next presentation was a "Review of Asbestos Inspection Requirements" presented by Mr. Angelo Garcia, III, CIEC, CEOP, of Future Environment Designs with significant assistance from Mr. Peter Delucia and Mr. Greg Mance, both from AAC Contracting.  Mr. Delucia worked on the content and did the polling of the audience, while Mr. Mance assisted with the content and questions to the audience.   Our group effort paid off with a well-received presentation that provided the audience with interactivity and information on the various requirements for performing asbestos inspections.  This presentation can also be found in the Dropbox folder.


The final presentation was "New York City Title 15 Amendments" also presented by Mr. Angelo Garcia, III, CIEC, CEOP, and again this presentation can be found in the Dropbox folder.  This presentation was on the recent changes to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection's (NYC DEP's) Title 15 Asbestos Regulation (formerly known as Local Law 76).  These changes were made because of the arrest of 17 NYC asbestos investigators (see the above video on the press conference on the arrests) and the recommendations of the New York City Department of Investigations (NYC DOI).   These changes included additional requirements for NYC Asbestos Investigators and some changes to other parts of the asbestos regulations.  See our previous blog post on these new requirements.

TS Steakhouse Waitress making the "Gotham"
Overall it was a good start to the three-day conference.  Of course, what is a PACNY conference without snow?  It was snowing by the end of the presentations.  Though it did not seem to deter people from attending the President's Reception that evening or prevent us from getting the Gotham at the TS Steakhouse.  Stay tuned for Days Two & Three!

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Monday, March 18, 2019

OSHA Fines Increase by 2.5%

On January 15, 2019, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has increased the maximum civil penalties (fines) for serious, other-than-serious, and posting requirements to $13,260, from $12,934.  Failure to Abate violations have increased to $13,260 per day beyond the abatement date from $12,934 and Willful/Repeat violations have increased to $132,598 from $129,336.  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 indexClick here for the 2019 increase announcement.  OSHA will continue to do penalty reductions based on the size of the employer and other factors.

Thursday, February 07, 2019

Countdown to PACNY's 23rd Annual Environmental Conference Begins!

It's that time again!  If you haven't registered to attend the Professional Abatement Contractors of New York's (PACNY's) 23rd Annual Environmental Conference, its time to do so (It is only 21 days away, from this posting).  The Conference will be held on February 27, 28, and March 1, 2019, at the Turning Stone Casino & Resort in Verona, NY.  This three-day conference, as usual, will include the Wednesday Proficiency Day with the PACNY President's Reception, the Thursday Technical Sessions with the Vendor Hall, and the Vendor Cocktail Party, and completing Friday with the Regulatory Session including a panel from New York State Department of Labor and lunch.  Registration and sponsorship information can be found here.


It all begins on Wednesday, February 27, 2019, at 12:30 PM with a presentation from Ms. Karen Cummings, M.P.H., New York State Department of Health's (NYSDOH's) Director of the Asbestos Safety Training Program.  Her presentation will update us on the status of asbestos training in NYS.  Along with some failings of training providers.  It will continue with presentations from Pete Delucia & Gregg Mance, both of AAC Contracting and myself, Angelo Garcia, III, of Future Environment Designs (#FEDTC), discussing asbestos inspection requirements, and polling of the audience to make this presentation interactive.  Finishing the session will be a presentation of the amendments to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYDEP's) Title 15 Asbestos Regulations (NYCDEP has been invited to present by teleconference).  We have also submitted the information regarding this day of the conference to the Practicing Institute of Engineering (PIE) for the purpose of being able to award three (3) Professional Development Hours (PDH) to the attendees. The President's Reception is later that evening.


The second day will include presentations by Ms. Sue Rossi, of Waste Management, discussing "Waste Management NY Landfills with acceptance of waste streams"; Adam Schrader of Ecospect with George Schanbach, of NYS AARST, discussing Radon and DOH Regulations Update"; Brian Sampson, of Unshackle Upstate, discussing Albany 2019 What You Need to Know and How it Will Impact Your Business"; Mike Rubin Esq., Partner at Goldberg Segalla, discussing "Best Practices for Abatement Contractors"; Mike Waller, of Rochester Regional Health, discussing "Sustainability?solutions and How to Balance"; and a representative of EIA discussing the "TSCA Update".  The vendor reception/networking will follow the presentations on Thursday.

NYSDOL Panel 2018
The final day will be Friday morning with a Lead (Pb) panel discussion followed by the NYSDOL panel discussion.  Friday ends with lunch and few stragglers discussing the week in review.

Sheryl Esposito Will Be Back at the FEDTC booth this year!
 #FEDTC will have a booth, again, this year and Ms. Sheryl Esposito will be womaning the booth.  We will also have the book I wrote "Do As I Say, Not As I Did! What I've Learned After 30-Years of Being in Business." available at the booth.  You can follow the conference on Twitter, Facebook, & Linked-In by searching for the #FEDTCPACNY.     We are looking forward to teaming with Peter and Greg to do our presentation on Wednesday and hope all of you will join us!

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Monday, January 28, 2019

The Annual OSHA February 1 Recordkeeping Deadline is Fast Approaching

Every year at this time the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers with 10 or more employees to post the OSHA 300A form from February 1 to April 30th, 2019.  In addition, this year certain employers must electronically submit the OSHA 300A information directly to OSHA by March 2, 2019.  Last year, we did a webinar together with Keevily Spero & Whitelaw on completing the OSHA 300 & 300A form.  You can find the webinar here or watch it below.  


If you remember, the 300A form summarizes the injury and illness information that was kept on the OSHA 300 log form.  Covered employers are required to prepare and maintain records of serious occupational injuries and illnesses that occur at a workplace on the OSHA 300 log form.  At the end of the year, covered employers are required to tally the totals on each column and enter the totals on the OSHA 300A form.  The information should be used by employers to evaluate safety in the workplace and determine ways to eliminate or reduce hazards in the workplace.  OSHA's 300A form is required to be posted until April 30, 2018, and must be retained for 5 years.  During the retention period, you are required to update the log to add new information regarding the occupational injuries and illnesses recorded on it.  OSHA has a brief tutorial to help you complete the forms.  
OSHA 300 Log Form
A final rule was issued and went into effect on January 1, 2017, requiring certain employers to electronically submit injury and illness data to OSHA.  OSHA has provided an online secure website (click here for the website) for submitting this information. You must submit this information by March 2, 2019, OSHA will start collecting the information on January 2, 2019.  If you meet the following criteria you DO NOT have to electronically submit your 300A information to OSHA: 

OSHA 300A Form - Posting/Reporting Form

  • The establishment's peak employment during the previous calendar year was 19 or fewer, regardless of the establishment's industry. 
  • The establishment's industry is on this list, regardless of the size of establishment.
  • The establishment had peak employment between 20 and 249 employees during the previous calendar year and the establishment's industry is not on this list.  Construction and Remediation and other waste management services are both on this list, so if you are in those industries and meet the size requirements you must electronically report your OSHA 300A information.
  • Establishments under the jurisdiction of these State Plan states do not currently have to electronically submit to OSHA: California, MarylandMinnesotaSouth CarolinaUtahWashington, and Wyoming.

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Thursday, January 24, 2019

NYC DEP Seeks Public Comments on Mold Notification Requirement

New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) is requesting public comments on a Notice of Mold Remediation Work.  A public hearing is being held on Wednesday, February 6, 2019, at 11:00 AM in the NYCDEP's 8th-floor conference room at 59-17 Junction Boulevard, Flushing, New York 11373.  The public comment period closes Wednesday, February 6, 2019.

Mold Growth in Corridor
Local Law Number 61 of 2018 (also known as Intro 978-D) amended the Administrative Code by adding a new Section 24-154, which provides that, before the performance of mold remediation work in certain buildings, the New York State-licensed mold remediation contractor must file a notice of mold remediation with NYCDEP no later than two business days before the project start date.  Section 24-154(c)(3)(b) further provides that notice may be filed within 24 hours after the project starts, instead of at least two days before, if the mold condition to be remediated poses an immediate risk of harm to any person or damage to property.  The purpose of the above public comment period is to establish a rule when such risk of harm exists.  In other words what the exception for two-day notification would be.  NYCDEP is proposing that projects that have at least 30 square feet or more of visible mold within one room or excessive water accumulation or flooding exists could notify NYCDEP 24 hours after the project starts with appropriate documentation that the condition exists.
Mold Abatement/Remediation/Assessment Course for Article 32 Licensing
Local Law 61 of 2018 went into effect on January 1, 2019.  The law requires licensing pursuant with New York State Department of Labor's Article 32 "Licensing of Mold Inspection, Assessment, and Remediations Specialists and Minimum Work Standards Law" to assess, remediate, and abate for mold incidents larger than 10 square feet.  The bill applies to residential buildings containing 10 or more units or commercial buildings larger than 25,000 square feet.  This law prohibits the owners or their direct employees from performing mold remediation or assessment work, which Article 32 allows.  Under this law, the person holding a mold assessment license must file with the NYCDEP a mold remediation form and work plan as well as a mold post assessment form and a mold certification form.  These forms are located at NYCDEP's Air Pollution website under Mold Remediation and Assessment.  It appears it will be an electronic submission and consists of a 6-page form for the mold remediation plan and a 4-page form for the mold post-assessment. 


Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Most Frequently Cited OSHA Standards in Fiscal Year 2018

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) annually publishes the top ten most frequently cited OSHA standards violated in the previous fiscal year.  OSHA has published the stats for the fiscal year (FY) 2018 (which runs from October 1, 2017, to September 30, 2018).  Here is the list of most frequently cited OSHA standards:

  1. Fall Protection, construction (1926.501)
  2. Hazard Communication Standard, general industry (1910.1200)
  3. Scaffolding, general requirements, construction (1926.451)
  4. Respiratory Protection (1910.134)
  5. Control of Hazardous Energy (lockout/tagout), general industry (1910.147)
  6. Ladders, construction (1926.1053)
  7. Powered Industrial Trucks, general industry (1910.178)
  8. Fall Protection - training requirements, construction (1926.503)
  9. Machinery & Machine Guarding, general requirements, general industry (1910.212)
  10. Eye and Face Protection (1926.102)
OSHA performed a total of 32,020 inspections in FY 2018.  In 2017, there were 971 fatalities in the construction industry which were 20.7% of total private industry fatalities.  The fatal four (falls, struck by, electrocution, & caught-in/between) were responsible for 59.9% of construction worker deaths in 2017.

The top 10 violations in the Remediation Servies Industry (which includes asbestos abatement, lead abatement, crime scene cleanups, oil spill cleanup, mold remediation, and hazardous materials remediation companies) were:
  1. Asbestos (1926.1101)
  2. Respiratory Protection (1910.134)
  3. Lead (1926.62)
  4. Hazard Communication (1910.1200)
  5. Permit-required Confined Spaces (1910.146)
  6. Inorganic arsenic (1910.1018)
  7. Duty to have Fall Protection (1926.501)
  8. Electronic Submission of Injury and Illness Records to OSHA (1904.41)
  9. Scaffolding, general requirements (1926.451)
  10. Ladders (1926.1053)
Interesting how the top four violations in the remediation industry should be the industry's specialty.


Since the silica standard has been in effect since September 23, 2017, we looked to see how many citations were issued in FY 2018.  OSHA performed 202 inspections in reference to the silica standard (1926.1153) and issued 556 citations for total penalties of $815,426.  The top 10 industries cited were:
  1. Masonry Contractors
  2. Poured Concrete Foundation and Structure Contractors
  3. Commercial & Institutional Building Construction
  4. Water & Sewer Line & Related Structures Construction
  5. Highway, Street, & Bridge Construction
  6. Site Preparation Contractors
  7. Residential Building Contractors
  8. Flooring Contractors
  9. All Other Specialty Trade Contractors
  10. Siding Contractors

As you can see OSHA is still performing inspections and still issuing citations.  Though silica standard is fairly new OSHA conducted almost triple the inspections than it did regarding asbestos.  However, OSHA's focus is definitely on falls, struck by, electrocutions, and caught-in/between.