Guidance on Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plans Reply

There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza,
There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, a hole.
Then fix it, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry…

Well you can look up the rest of the poem, but what if that bucket is a tank and it’s leaking oil…now what do you do?  Hopefully, this won’t happen to you, as it did in Dorchester, Massachusetts recently, but you may be asking yourself a few questions right now:

  • Is there something I should be doing to prevent a leak?
  • Is there a plan I should have in the event of a leak?
  • What should I do if my tank is actually leaking?

CAPACCIO can help you answer these questions.  Our staff of engineers has prepared numerous Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plans which are required for sites with over 1,320 gallons of aboveground oil storage. For smaller facilities, we can conduct inspections of oil storage tanks to determine their risk of failure.  In the unfortunate event of a spill, our on-call Licensed Site Professional (LSP) is available 24/7 to answer your questions and assist with reporting and clean-up requirements.   

If you would like more information on SPCC Plans and whether your facility is required to have one, click here. For general information regarding SPCC Plans and tank inspections call Josh Fawson at 508.970.0033 ext. 120.  For LSP services, call Dawn Horter at 508.970.0033 ext. 118.

ISO 26000:2010 (Social Responsibility Guidance) Released Reply

The ISO 26000:2010 social responsibility guidelines have been finalized and published.  It is now possible to add social responsibility “core subjects” from these new guidelines to an ISO 14001:2004 or ISO 9001:2008 program.  This would create an integrated sustainability management system. The ISO 26000:2010 guidelines cannot be used alone as a sustainability management system.

CAPACCIO thinks ISO 26000:2010 will facilitate the development of effective sustainability programs since it clearly articulates a wide range of social responsibility issues that sustainable companies need to watch closely; e.g., community involvement, human rights, labor issues, and consumer/customer issues.  Incorporating conformance to social issues within a management system will help coordinate those who manage the environmental responsibilities with those that manage the social responsibilities.

A recent survey (found here) found that 86% of employees are not engaged by their employers on sustainability even though the same amount – 86% – said that their organization promotes employee sustainability.  It is possible to engage employees more effectively using a management system rather than relying only on training and awareness.  A properly implemented management system can make sustainability part of what every employee does every day by including it in the work instructions and every aspect of their involvement with the organization.  CAPACCIO is already seeing this make a difference with our clients that are integrating their sustainability efforts directly with their management system efforts.  The new ISO 26000:2010 standard will make this effort easier and more effective.

CAPACCIO is preparing a “white paper” on how to use ISO 26000:2010 with your management systems.  Please reserve a copy by contacting Bob Pojasek at rpojasek@capaccio.com or calling him at 508-970-0033 extension 137.

Energy Management System Standards Reply

For those of you who are still eagerly awaiting the release of  the ISO 50001 energy management system standard (due to be released early next year), there is a British Standard, BS EN 16001, that can be used now.  This British energy management system standard has been a key priority for European delegates contributing to the development of the ISO standard in the much slower international standards setting arena.  These delegates are working closely with ISO to make sure there will be no disincentive for the early adopters of EN 16001 when ISO 50001 is released.  The use of this standard is also providing some information to those writing the ISO 50001 standard. 

The aim of this European standard is to help organizations establish the systems and processes necessary to improve energy performance and make reductions in both cost and emissions of greenhouse gases.  Launched in July 2009, this standard effectively presents a business with a roadmap of the various steps to be taken to ensure it is viewed as being serious about energy management.  The promotion of the standard notes that the combination of energy reduction and risk management is more financially advantageous than merely buying additional carbon credits or offsets to lower the carbon emissions that are reported to the public. 

The standard helps businesses ask the right questions of themselves and adjust their internal processes and decision-making accordingly.  These businesses use the plan-do-check-act (PDCA) framework to establish objectives and processes, implement some changes, monitor their results and finally act again to deliver incremental improvements in performance over time.  Some companies in the UK are required to certify to this standard because of the “Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme” that was launched in April 2010 to support attempts to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the Climate Change Act of 2008.  There are similar requirements in the European Union.

To keep up to the demand in the United States, the US Department of Energy is making draft copies of ISO 50001 available to certain technical assistance providers to use for their own energy conservation programs.  However, no climate change legislation has been enacted in the United States.  A company can purchase a draft of ISO 50001 and use it while the final standard is being subject to its final international ballot.  You do not need to be involved in these Department of Energy projects to do so.

It is important to note that the “aspects” determination in ISO 14001 was designed for looking at all resources:  water, energy and materials.  Energy is very important to all companies and their stakeholders.  Unless you find that you need to certify to an energy management standard, you may be better off looking at both the BS EN 16001 and the draft ISO 50001 and using the information to strengthen your existing ISO 14001 program.

The Vision of OSHA Reply

On October 15, 2010, OSHA Assistant Secretary, Dr. David Michaels sent a letter to all OSHA personnel that outlined the progress being made to transform the agency.  This letter was an update to a July 19 document Michaels issued to OSHA staff, “OSHA at Forty: New Challenges and New Directions.” In his July letter, Michaels discussed transforming OSHA by focusing on nine areas.

  1. Stronger Enforcement
    OSHA is increasing its inspection activity and imposing more stringent penalties.  OSHA has shifted its employees from compliance assistance to enforcement and plans to hire additional enforcement officers. OSHA conducted 40,600 total inspections during Fiscal Year 2010, compared to 39,004 inspections during Fiscal Year 2009.

    OSHA is issuing more press releases that explain more clearly why a specific employer was cited. “The primary purpose of our enforcement program is deterrence.  By inspecting workplaces and issuing and publicizing penalties where violations are found, we hope that all employers will recognize the risk they take by not abating serious hazards,” wrote Michaels in his October letter.

    OSHA will be changing the way that it calculates penalties.  An outline of the changes can be found here:  http://www.osha.gov/dep/administrative-penalty.html

  2. Ensure workers have a voice
    OSHA is reaching out to vulnerable workers who may be low pay, non-English speaking, low literacy, or not in a labor organization through events like the National Action Summit for Latino Worker Health and Safety.  Workers must know about their rights under the law and feel that they can exercise those rights.  OSHA is reviewing the Whistleblower Protection Program and ensuring that officers talk to workers privately and confidentially during inspections.
  3. Refocus and Strengthen Compliance Assistance Programs
    OSHA is refocusing its compliance assistance programs.  Michaels still supports programs like the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP), but the funding has been redirected to focus on enforcement.  OSHA will develop more compliance assistance materials that all workers can understand and use.
  4. Change Workplace Culture
    OSHA seeks to improve the workplace safety culture, so that employers do not merely just do what’s necessary to comply with OSHA standards.  Employers must “find and fix” all workplace hazards.  This does not just apply when there is a particular hazard covered by an OSHA standard.  This change in culture would require employers to implement risk-based safety programs and focus on hazard assessment and control.
  5. Develop Innovative Approaches to Addressing Hazards: Improve Intra-Agency Cooperation
    OSHA is working to ensure that directors and field operations personnel work together closely and cooperatively.  OSHA will improve its coordination with other agencies whose work is closely aligned, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
  6. Improve and Modernize Workplace Injury and Illness Tracking
    OSHA is concerned that employers may be under-recording or incorrectly reporting injuries on the OSHA 300 log. Injury and illness data that is reported to OSHA is used to target inspections.  Under the Recordkeeping National Emphasis Program (NEP), OSHA has conducted 187 inspections and found recordkeeping violations in almost 50% of the inspections.  OSHA is looking into electronic recordkeeping programs in order to obtain more up-to-date information and better focus NEPs. 
  7. Strengthen OSHA’s use of Science
    OSHA is going to begin addressing the outdated Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs), many of which were developed in the 1970s.  Also, there are many chemicals for which a PEL has not been developed.  OSHA held a web forum and received 130 nominations for chemicals that should be added to the list. 
  8. Conduct OSHA’s work with transparency
    OSHA will share useful information with people.  For example, OSHA is posting employer specific injury and illness data and sampling data results.  The sampling data from OSHA inspections can be found on the web and accessed at: www.osha.gov/opengov/healthsamples.html
  9. Strengthen state OSHA plans
    OSHA evaluated the operation of 25 State Plans to ensure that there are not problems with the state-run programs.  OSHA found that many State Plans were operating effectively, but also found some Plans with discrepancies that OSHA will begin to address. 

For your information, below are some other OSHA updates which were not addressed in the above nine areas which may be of interest.

Injury and Illness Prevention Program
OSHA is developing a rule that would require employers to have a written safety and health program that would be referred to as an Injury and Illness Prevention Program. 

Even if a hazard is not regulated under a specific standard, developing programs to control hazards is required under the General Duty Clause.

Severe Violator Enforcement Program
OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP) concentrates resources on inspecting employers who commit willful or repeated violations or fail to abate previously issued violations.  Michaels said in the press release outlining the SVEP, “For many employers, investing in job safety happens only when they have adequate incentives to comply with OSHA’s requirements.  Higher penalties and more aggressive, targeted enforcement will provide a greater deterrent and further encourage these employers to furnish safe and healthy workplaces for their employees.” Once an employer is placed in the SEVP, OSHA may conduct enhanced follow-up inspections and inspections of the other locations of the employer.

Site Specific Targeting Program
OSHA is targeting select high-hazard workplaces where the highest rates of injuries and illness occur.  Based on injury and illness data, OSHA developed a list of 4,100 facilities and will randomly select employers to inspect.

Recordkeeping National Emphasis Programs (NEP)
OSHA adjusted the Recordkeeping NEP to focus on larger worksites with higher injury rates.  The NEP is scheduled to run through February, 2012.   

Most Frequently Cited Standards
OSHA published its list of the most frequently cited standards during Fiscal Year 2010 (October 1, 2009- September 30, 2010).  At the top of the list for general industry was the Hazard Communication Standard, followed by Respiratory Protection, Ladders and Lockout/Tagout.   http://www.osha.gov/Top_Ten_Standards.html

For more information or if you would like assistance with any of your Health and Safety programs, contact Colleen Walsh at cwalsh@capaccio.com or 508.970.0033 extension 129.