CAPACCIO’s EH&S Regulatory and Industrial News Blog

In an effort to “help industry and the environment prosper,” CAPACCIO has developed this blog to provide the latest news on environmental, health and safety related regulatory updates, management systems and sustainability topics.

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For further information on our blog posts or if you need more information about our services, please contact Lucy Servidio  at 508.970.0033 extension 114 or lservidio@capaccio.com.

Always Make Safety Your Top Priority Reply

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

The Assault on Health and Safety Begins!

Deregulation policies a threat to worker safety!

OSHA Delays Electronic Record-Keeping Rule!

Talk of scrapping two regulations for each new one adopted!

OSHA Further Delays Silica Rule Enforcement!

Proposed $2.5B Cut to Dept. of Labor’s Budget, Elimination of Chemical Safety Board

During the past six months, there has been lots of talk (and action) in Washington about reducing and eliminating regulations, repealing OSHA rules, and imposing major staff reductions and budget cuts in agencies dedicated to increasing worker health and safety (OSHA, MSHA, NIOSH, and The Chemical Safety Board). Despite all the headlines, businesses throughout the country must continue to operate and, unfortunately, workers continue to be injured or killed on the job on a daily basis.

Although safety regulations and enforcement actions can have a positive effect on reducing worker injuries, they do not prevent them. It still remains everyone’s responsibility within the workplace to promote, create, and maintain a safe and healthy work environment despite whether or not a formal regulation is in place.  From top management down through all levels of the business hierarchy to the employees on the shop floor, safety should be everyone’s top priority.

Regulations or the threat of enforcement penalties and fines should not be the sole driving force in providing safe and healthy work environments. Many highly successful businesses foster safe working conditions and decide on their own to implement safety programs that exceed the basic requirements spelled out in safety regulations.

Bottomline –Safety should remain at the top of your priority list every day for yourself, your fellow employees, and your family and friends while you are away from the workplace.

For more information or of you require assistance with your health and safety programs, please contact Bob King, CIH, CSP, at 508-970-0033 ext. 113 or bking@capaccio.com.

Neglecting Your Health and Your EHS Program’s Health Can Be Hazardous Reply

Our series about auditing and how it resembles an annual physical comes to an end
with this article that discusses risk management and process safety management
(RMP and PSM) assessments. In the same way that an annual physical may alert
you of weight gain or poor nutrition, an annual assessment of your chemical
processes provides a grasp of the current state of the management of your
facility’s hazards.

An annual physical typically begins with a weigh-in. Your weight is tracked and observed by your doctor, and when unhealthy dietary choices and lack of exercise
have led you to pack on some pounds, your doctor will suggest that you modify
your food choices and increase your activity level.

Likewise, mismanaging your RMP and PSM program could lead your processes
down a slippery slope of poor condition. Does your maintenance group maintain
each part of your process in a way that prevents known hazards? Have your
operating procedures been reviewed and certified as current and accurate each
year? Is your frequency of training your employees on RMP and PSM often enough
so that employees are refreshed on the hazards of the process and can perform
their jobs in a safe manner? Answers to these questions are asked during a required
and enforceable 3-year Compliance Audit; however, wouldn’t it be a good idea to
catch these issues ahead of time by performing an annual program assessment?

These pieces to the healthy PSM and RMP puzzle need constant attention, review,
and care. Just as easily as you can get out of the exercise groove, you can also fall
off the wagon with your awareness and upkeep of your PSM and RMP processes.
An annual program assessment is non-enforceable, kept internal, and ensures
that you regularly evaluate your PSM and RMP targets for compliance, the plan
to reach those targets, program milestones achieved, the resources available
to get to the next step, and program areas in need of work.

Just like there are apps to track your food and exercise plan on your phone,
computer, or other electronic device, CAPACCIO’s EHS Dashboard can help you
track your PSM and RMP action items from an annual assessment to help you
reach your goals for a safe and healthy process.

Don’t wait for an inspection to uncover your program’s health issues; call or
email Christine Silverman 508-970-0033 x 127 or csilverman@capaccio.com
for assistance.

To “Air” is Human Reply

In our continuing series about auditing and how it can be similar to an annual physical, we will discuss an often overlooked area; a deep dive into air permitting. Just as an annual physical may gloss over some of the more specific parts of the body, air permits can also sometimes be overlooked but doing so can lead to a potential problem in the long run.

Every year, the Doctor asks a list of questions, such as, “Has anything changed in your immediate family’s health (diagnosed with diabetes, heart disease, ADHD)? Who lives at your home? Do you have any pets? Do you have any concerns at the moment?  In a similar fashion, prior to an air audit, the auditor will send you a list of questions. Do you have an air plan approval?  Do you have air emissions tracking sheets?  Do you have a control device? All of these questions help the Doctor/Auditor get an overview of your health/facility and any specific areas that may be of concern.

Your responses become the roadmap for the auditor. If you stated you do not have an air plan approval, the auditor may request a listing of how much solvents are used onsite to determine if the facility needs to further evaluate/justify whether a plan approval is needed or if there is an exemption that excludes a facility from obtaining an air plan approval.  The auditor will check if you are maintaining documentation that states how you are complying with the regulation or why your facility meets the listed criteria exemption.

As with your annual checkup, the more symptoms/details you can provide to the Doctor increases their ability to provide you with advice on what you need to do to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Are there warning signs that you may not have noticed with your air permits?

  • Your volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from a small process is approaching permitting level
  • The state updated their Regulated Toxic Air Pollutant (RTAP) list and you missed the notice
  • EPA has finalized a regulation that applies to you
  • An emergency generator was installed at your facility and was not self-certified
  • Emission statements were not submitted

These are some of the most common findings found during an air audit. What happens if you don’t see the warning signs or you ignore them for too long?  The small warning signs can compound each other to create one larger issue. Just like your health, it is good to go through the annual checkup to help catch the small warnings before it becomes a larger issue and is too late to be fixed.

Just like there are apps to track your health on your phone, computer, or other electronic device, CAPACCIO’s EHS DashboardTM can help you track your facility’s data making an audit by the state or federal inspectors that much easier. Learn more about the dashboard at www.ehsdashboard.com.

For more information on air permits or other air compliance related questions, please contact Lynn Sheridan, EIT, at 508-970-0033 ext. 122 or by cell at 774-249-2565 or email lsheridan@capaccio.com.

Climate Change and Sustainability in Massachusetts in the Current Political Climate Reply

Deregulation around climate change has had scientists, citizens, and organizations deeply unsettled in recent months. If looking from the outside in at the message being sent by the federal government, it appears that the U.S. has deprioritized sustainability and is actively revoking its support for the fight against climate change. It wouldn’t be out of place to think this, either. For example, in recent months, the U.S. has pulled out of the Paris Agreement, passed an executive order to revoke the Clean Power Plan, and most recently, the U.S. has revoked a ruling to ban hydrofluorocarbons (HFC’s) in refrigeration and air conditioning.

Regarding HFC’s…

  • On 8/8/17, a federal court ruled that HFC’s cannot be banned.
  • The reversal is due to a technicality in how the Clean Air Act is being used to support the EPA’s effort to ban HFC’s.
  • HFC’s have been and are of increased concern due to their high global warming potential, relative to CO2. In other words, for every one unit of CO2 removed from the environment, a one unit addition of HFC’s to the environment negates the CO2 removed from a global warming standpoint, and leaves the atmosphere with even more greenhouse gas (GHG).

But not so fast! There is a very different story unfolding in Massachusetts (and many other states around the U.S.).

First, for some country-wide good news related to the revoked HFC ban, despite this ruling, U.S. chemical companies are still committed to producing climate friendly HFC alternatives, per the Montreal Protocol in which approximately 150 countries vowed to phase out HFC’s beginning in 2019.

Meanwhile in Massachusetts, on August 11, 2017, Massachusetts published six final regulations to reduce GHG emissions in the Commonwealth. Granted, this was in response to a Supreme Judicial Court ruling (Kain v. DEP, May 2016), requiring the Commonwealth to “beef up” its emission reductions efforts. Enter Governor Baker’s Executive Order No. 569 – “Establishing an Integrated Climate Change Strategy for the Commonwealth” – and the resulting amendments (or new regulations) made to meet 2020 statewide emissions limits set in the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA). Below, those regulations are summarized, and more details can be found on the MassDEP website.

 

Regulation 310 CMR 7.72

Reducing Sulfur Hexafluoride Emissions from Gas-Insulated Switchgear (GIS)

What is it? Establishment of annually declining, mass-based limits added to existing max leak rates for SF6.
Who is affected? -Large utilities

-Federal reporting GIS owners

Why Was it implemented? Adding the mass-based limits is accounting for potential SF6 increased emissions associated with deployment of new GIS equipment – not accounted for prior to revision.

 

Regulation 310 CMR 7.73

Reducing Methane Emissions from natural Gas Distribution Mains and Services

What is it? Establishment of annually declining emission limits on Massachusetts gas operators in 2018, 2019, and 2020. This regulation establishes the annually declining limits on GHG emissions.
Who is affected? -All Massachusetts gas operators

-Gas operators with a Gas System Enhancement Plan (GSEP) order from Department of Public Utilities (DPU)

Why Was it implemented? Emissions limits were not established in the Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2020. It simply required updates and fixes to leaks. Per the GWSA, limits needed to be imposed to ensure reductions.

 

Regulation 310 CMR 7.74

Reducing CO2 Emissions from Electricity Generating Facilities

310 CMR 7.75

Clean Energy Standard

What is it? Two regulations to reduce CO2 emissions from Power plants in Massachusetts.

7.74 sets a minimum percentage of electricity sales that utilities and competitive suppliers must procure from clean energy sources.

7.75 sets a sector-wide, annually declining limit on aggregate CO2 emissions from twenty-one large fossil fuel-fired power plants in Massachusetts.

Who is affected? -All owners and operators of an electric generating facility
Why Was it implemented? These two regulations are intended to increase procurement of clean energy (from utilities) and ensure emissions reductions associated with fossil fuel-powered power plants.

 

Regulation 310 CMR 60.05

Global Warming Solutions Act Requirements for Transportation

What is it? Establishment of annually declining aggregate targets on CO2 emissions from Massachusetts’ transportation system.
Who is affected? -MassDOT; MPO’s; RTA’s; DEP; EOEEA
Why Was it implemented? Previous regulation did not include requirements for the MassDOT to meet enforceable limits on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

 

Regulation 310 CMR 60.06

CO2 Limits for State Fleet Passenger Vehicles

What is it? New regulation setting limits on CO2 from passenger vehicles owned and leased by the Commonwealth’s Executive Offices.
Who is affected? Executive Offices that own or lease 30 or more passenger vehicles, as determined by the MassDEP.
Why Was it implemented? To reduce CO2 emissions from certain Commonwealth owned or leased vehicles through imposition of mass-based limits that decline each year from 2018 through 2025.   This requires each Executive Office to monitor, record, and report CO2 emissions from vehicles.

 

Industry in Massachusetts has stayed on course in terms of preparing for and doing their part to mitigate climate change through often extensive sustainability programs. Consistent with these efforts is the message that Massachusetts continues to stay the course as well, as evidenced by these new regulations.

For more information on this topic, please contact Cristina Mendoza at 508-970-0033 ext. 128 or by cell at 774-249-2418, or email cmendoza@capaccio.com.