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.