Mass. DPS Announces Major Change to Hoisting Regulation Requirements for Forklifts Reply

The Massachusetts Department of Public Safety (DPS) has just announced a major change to its Hoisting Machinery Regulation (520 CMR 6.00).

As of November 14, 2014, companies operating industrial lift trucks and forklifts on private property are now exempt from complying with the requirements to obtain Massachusetts Hoisting Licenses for forklift operators (520 CMR 6.06) and for implementing an “In-Service Training Program” (520 CMR 6.07), as long as the general public does not have access to the company property. The DPS made this ruling in light of the fact that the current OSHA standard governing the use powered industrial trucks (29 CFR 1910.178) already requires the training of forklift operators and therefore preempts any state requirements.

The exemption only applies to the operation of industrial lift trucks and forklifts on private property. Companies operating other types of hoisting equipment on their property, such as cranes and hoists, are still required to comply with the licensing and training requirements of the regulation.

A copy of the Administrative Ruling is located here: http://www.mass.gov/eopss/consumer-prot-and-bus-lic/license-type/hoisting/in-service-training-and-company-property-exemption.html

CAPACCIO has been working closely with clients over the past year to provide guidance and assistance in complying with the confusing and somewhat controversial Hoisting Regulation. This recent change will bring welcome relief to those companies still struggling to come into compliance.

Any questions or comments you may have regarding these changes can be directed to Colleen Walsh at 508-970-0033 Ext. 129 or cwalsh@capaccio.com or Bob King at 508-970-0033 Ext.113 or bking@capaccio.com.

Deadline nearing for Hazardous Material Process or Processing (527 CMR 33) permit applications Reply

The new year is fast approaching, and so is the deadline to submit permit applications for 527 CMR 33 – Hazardous Material Process or Processing. On or before January 1, 2014, companies that fall under Categories 2 and 3 are required to submit their permit applications.

As a refresher, Category 2 companies have a process which involves or produces a hazardous material which occurs in a vessel that is greater than 2.5 gallons but less than or equal to 60 gallons. Companies that fall under this category must have the following in place in addition to submitting the permit application by the deadline:

• Hazard Communication Program
• Chemical Hygiene Program
• Flammable Storage Permit/License
• Emergency Response Planning

Category 3 companies have a process which involves or produces a hazardous material which occurs in a vessel greater than 60 gallons but less than or equal to 300 gallons, or a process that is conducted in an area that is classified as an H-occupancy per the Massachusetts Building Code. Companies that fall under this category must fulfill all the same requirements as Category 2, but must also have in place a:

• Process Hazard Evaluation for each Category 3 process
• Procedure for Post Incident Analysis

CAPACCIO has successfully helped companies come into compliance with this regulation and has worked with local fire departments to obtain the necessary permits. It is important that you are prepared to educate the fire department about your processes and that you involve them early in the process. If your permit is denied, the fire department may require an evaluation by a third party.

With the deadline drawing near, CAPACCIO can ensure that all the necessary leg work is done and the last minute details are taken care of before submitting your permit application to the fire department. We can help with determining your applicability and process category, updating your plans and policies, implementing applicable program requirements, compiling and preparing specific documentation to demonstrate compliance to the regulation, preparing your permit, and working with your local fire department to submit your permit.

Please contact Christopher Walton, PE, BCEE, Senior Associate, at 508.970.0033 ext. 139 or cwalton@capaccio.com if you require assistance on some or all of these tasks to ensure you meet the January 1 deadline.

The HazCom/GHS Training Deadline Is December 1 – Are You Ready? Reply

OSHA revised its Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) to align with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) and published it in the Federal Register in March 2012.

The revised HCS standard contains new requirements for hazardous chemical labeling. The HCS also includes a standardized format for Safety Data Sheets (SDSs), formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs). Employers must provide training on the new label elements and the SDS format by December 1, 2013.

GHS has more structured requirements for labeling including a product identifier, signal word, hazard statement(s), precautionary statement(s), and pictogram(s). All hazardous chemicals shipped after June 1, 2015, must be labeled with the GHS required elements. The information contained in the SDS is largely the same as the MSDS, except that SDSs are required to be presented in a consistent, 16-section format. SDSs must be provided in the standard GHS format by June 1, 2015.

News, fact sheets and other information can be found on the OSHA website’s Hazard Communication page: https://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/index.html.

For more information or for assistance with your GHS training program, please contact Colleen Walsh at (508) 970-0033 ext. 129 or cwalsh@capaccio.com.

EPA’s Risk Management Program – General Duty Clause Reply

You have a facility that uses chemicals regulated under the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) risk management program (40 CFR 68) and have conducted a study and determined that the quantities stored and in use at the facility are below applicability thresholds, therefore you are not required to have a risk management plan, right?  Well, not exactly.  Section 112(r)(1) of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 contains the following General Duty Clause (GDC):

“…The owners and operators of stationary sources producing, processing, handling or storing such substances [i.e., a chemical in 40 CFR part 68 or any other extremely hazardous substance] have a general duty [in the same manner and to the same extent as the general duty clause in the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)] to identify hazards which may result from (such) releases using appropriate hazard assessment techniques, to design and maintain a safe facility taking such steps as are necessary to prevent releases, and to minimize the consequences of accidental releases which do occur.”

So, what is an extremely hazardous substance (EHS)?

As the GDC does not offer a definition of what constitutes an EHS, the EPA has interpreted the definition to apply to virtually any chemical that it feels poses a risk if released.  In applying this broad definition, the EPA looks at the consequences of a release (catastrophic or not) to the offsite areas surrounding the property.  There is also no “less than” use threshold, so if you use an EHS in any amount, you are subject to the GDC.

As an example, you operate a warehouse part of which stores refrigerated foods.  The refrigeration system uses anhydrous ammonia and has a total charge capacity of 6,000 pounds. This is below the threshold quantity of 10,000 pounds for anhydrous ammonia and therefore would not trigger the requirement to have a risk management plan (RMP) per 40 CFR 68.  You do, however, have an obligation under the GDC to assess the consequences of an anhydrous ammonia release to the environment.  In particular, you have a duty to:

  • Determine if, and under what circumstances, a release could occur
  • Put in place procedures and controls to prevent a release, and
  • Implement a plan of action should a release occur.

Is the EPA really enforcing the GDC?

In March of 2011, EPA Region 1 (NY, CT, RI, MA, VT, ME) published notification of a violation settlement for a chemical manufacturer located in New Haven, Connecticut. The violation included a finding that the facility failed to develop and put in place a RMP for the storage of concentrated hydrochloric acid.  The case arose out of a number of inspections conducted by EPA Region 1 at chemical warehouses and distribution facilities.  One of the lessons from the inspections (and cited in the violation notification) was that:

“Several companies were unaware that the Clean Air Act’s General Duty Clause can apply, even when RMP regulations do not.  The GDC requires companies that manage EHS to prevent chemical releases by, among other things, designing and maintaining a safe facility.”

The company was fined $12,626 and agreed to spend an additional $40,000 to buy emergency response equipment for the City.

So how do you assure that you meet this obligation? 

It is important to note that the GDC is not a regulation and there is no clearly defined set of procedures or steps to follow to demonstrate compliance.  The EPA document “Guidance for Implementation of the General Duty Clause Clean Air Act Section 112(r)(1)” (EPA 550-B00-002) provides guidance on what EPA inspectors will look at during an inspection at your facility.  Three basis steps cited by the EPA to demonstrate compliance include:  

  • Adopt or follow any relevant industry codes, practices, or consensus standards (for the process or facility as a whole as well as for particular chemicals or pieces of equipment)
  • Be aware of unique circumstances of your facility which may require a tailored accident prevention program, and
  • Be aware of accidents and other incidents in your industry that indicate potential hazards.

CAPACCIO staff is experienced in helping facilities meet the requirements of EPA’s RMP and OSHA’s PSM programs. If you have any questions about the GDC and how it might apply to your facility, please contact Lynn Sheridan at 508.970.0033 ext. 122 or lsheridan@capaccio.com.