Category Archives: Certification / Accreditation
Updates on environmental certifications
By Craig Welch, The Seattle Times
The workers sat down in the makeshift classroom, prepared to learn how to safely remove cancer-causing asbestos.
Instead, the instructor turned on a video of the 2004 action flick “Van Helsing.”
The owners of a Tacoma company that was among a mere handful certified by the state to train workers to inspect or handle asbestos pleaded guilty on Friday in Superior Court for faking training programs for years.
It’s just the latest in a string of issues nationwide with companies responsible for dealing with the ubiquitous hazardous substance commonly found in ceilings, siding and insulation.
“We get a lot of calls on individuals who are cutting corners — either from a business or a colleague,” Tyler Amon, special agent in charge with the Environmental Protection Agency’s law-enforcement division in Seattle, said in an interview.
“But what we are focused on is where it’s concentrated in a criminal enterprise.”
The Tacoma company, Emergency Management Training, let workers skip training altogether or show up for as little as 30 minutes of an eight-hour course. Owners submitted false records to let workers avoid state-mandated follow-up. It forged documents so its own untrained employees could bid on a hazardous-materials-removal job for the military at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
The company even took money under the table so that uncertified contractors could evaluate schools and hospitals to see if they were asbestos-free. Read more
By Jason Clayworth, http://www.desmoinesregister.com
A contractor’s complaint has prompted closer scrutiny of possible asbestos exposure involving workers at a downtown Des Moines renovation project, but an inspector doesn’t even visit hundreds of sites across Iowa each year where workers could face risks from the cancer-causing material.
The routine lack of asbestos-handling inspections at construction sites in Iowa and across the nation represents a widespread failure to protect the public, environmental safety advocates say.
In Iowa, one inspector enforces U.S. Environmental Protection Agency asbestos removal regulations and oversees as many as 4,500 asbestos removal projects each year. Another inspector must try to enforce federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration asbestos regulations.
“It’s safe to say that enforcement of asbestos regulations nationwide is abysmal,” said Brent Kynoch of the Environmental Information Association, a group based in Maryland focused on health hazards in buildings, specifically asbestos.
“There are no budgets with either the state or federal governments to put the kind of inspection staff out there that we really would require to enforce the regulations,” Kynoch said. Read More
Reposted from http://www.msdsonline.com
OSHA unveiled the Top 10 OSHA violations of 2013 at this year’s National Safety Council Congress and Expo in Chicago. Sponsored by Safety+Health magazine and The top ten list presentation drew a big crowd of attendees in the Expo hall.
Most hazards carried over from the 2012 list, with a couple gaining ground and a few falling. Fall Protection repeated as the number one violation as did HazCom Violations at #2 – which makes sense given all of the attention OSHA has put on HazCom since it revised the standard last year to align with the United Nations Globally Harmonized System (GHS). Other hazards rounding out the top are as follows:
Most Cited Violation of 2013
1. Fall Protection (29 CFR 1926.501) 7250 violations
2. Hazard Communication (29 CFR 1910.1200)
3. Scaffolding (29 CFR 1926.451) – 3018 violations (Big problem, people using scaffoldings as ladders and ladders as scaffolding, assuming one could work for the other.)
4. Respiratory Protection (1910.134)
5. Electrical – Wiring Methods (29 CFR 1910.305)
6. Powered Industrial Trucks (29 CFR 1910.178)
7. Ladders (1926.1053)
8. Control of Hazardous Energy – Lockout/Tagout (1910.147)
9. Electrical – General (29 CFR 1910.303) 2863 violations
10. Machine Guarding – General Requirement (29 CFR 1910.212)
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- Colorado flood cleanup advice: Be safe, be patient, keep records (denverpost.com)
By Stephanie Toone, http://www.nashvilleledger.com
An East Nashville middle school once marred by mold, asbestos and age is set to receive an almost full facelift that will add it to the list of Metro Nashville Public School’s “greenest” buildings.
Highland Heights, the Douglas Avenue building that most recently housed KIPP Academy Charter School for grades 5-8, is slated to become a LEED-Silver Certified building.
“The cost savings alone makes LEED the best option,” says Claire Pitt, project manager for contractor R.G. Anderson Company.
“The building will be overall more efficient by recycling 75 percent of the building debris for other construction projects, the recycled drywall [will be used], and the pervious parking lot [will] conserve water,” she says.
The front half of the school represents the largest repurposed element of the project, Pitt says. The wall and roof structure of the school’s front will be retained in the rehabbed building.
Metro Schools are following the trend of schools systems nationwide seeking to take advantage of the cost-savings and educational benefits of building LEED-certified schools, says Tiffany Wilmot, president of Nashville’s Wilmot Inc., a building sustainability consulting firm. Read More
- Which Countries Have the Most LEED-Certified Buildings? (sustainablebusiness.com)
- How Effective is LEED? (santacruzarchitect.wordpress.com)
By Lauren Hunter, http://www.remodeling.hw.net
According to a recent report from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG), the EPA is losing money on its lead-based paint program. Based on the agency’s estimates since the Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) rule went into effect in 2010, the total loss will amount to $16.4 million by 2014. Fiscal year 2010 actually turned a profit of $8.9 million, but costs are exceeding fee collections by $25.3 million for 2011 through 2014.
According to the report, three issues are contributing to the EPA’s unrecovered costs. The agency has not conducted recommended biennial cost reviews to ensure that fees are in line with costs, and the fee structure also does not take into account all the indirect costs needed to recover the cost of administering the lead-based paint program. More importantly, the agency notes that RRP firm participation is lower than projected. Read More
A new exam for the Certified Indoor Air Quality Manager (CIAQM) program has been given the green light by the American Indoor Air Quality Council. The test can be taken electronically by utilizing the Council’s electronic testing centers and is geared toward those managing buildings and other facilities.
You can learn more about it here.