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Environmental, Health & Safety Blog

Q&A Series: An Expert's Take on Preparing for an EH&S Emergency

Posted by Kevin Coulon on Mon, Nov 06, 2017

Are you prepared for an emergency response (ER) situation, such as a chemical spill, unknown odor, water/sewer line break, oil spill, and more? Being prepared and reacting swiftly to assembly your ER team can help to prevent further harm. I recently delivered a webinar  on this topic and provided answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding ER situations. Read on to see a portion of the questions and answers, and be sure to watch our webinar to hear the rest of the Q&A! Read More

Tags: emergency response, ER, Emergency Planning, Emergency Preparedness, HAZWOPER emergency response team, OSHA HAZWOPER, RCRA, higher education, healthcare, life sciences, industrial

Emergency Responders? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Responders!

Posted by Doug Graham on Mon, Jul 31, 2017

OK, here's the scenario: Our hypothetical employer (factory, institution, research facility, hospital, take your pick) makes an executive decision to "out-source" all hazardous chemical emergency response actions to an outside contractor. All employees are instructed that in the case of a chemical spill, they are not to respond, but to call the internal emergency contact person, who will then call the outside spill response service provider. Hands off, nice and neat, no internal hazmat response team, no need for emergency spill response (HAZWOPER) training of employees, it's all good, right?

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Tags: Emergency Preparedness, HAZWOPER emergency response team, emergency response, EHS training programs, OSHA HAZWOPER training, training programs

Q&A Series: 4 Important Emergency Response Questions and Answers

Posted by Kevin Coulon on Tue, Feb 07, 2017

While the ER coordinator serves as the point person during an emergency, it is important to prepare your entire facility for a possible emergency in order to streamline the response and control the situation. Practicing different spill scenarios and other emergencies is the best way to identify procedural flaws and potential issues that could exacerbate an already dangerous situation. I recently delivered a webinar on this topic and provided answers to some of the most common questions received.

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Tags: ER, emergency response, spill, safety, lab safety, spill kits

Emergency Response: Who Should Clean Up in 200 Words or Less

Posted by Brian Blenkhorn on Fri, Sep 23, 2016

Building off the last post on who should evacuate during a spill, another common question is “Who is responsible for cleaning up the spill?” OSHA states in CFR 1910.120 that a spill becomes an emergency response when it is likely to result in an uncontrolled release of hazardous substance and/or poses a potential safety or health hazard to the responder. This is a fairly broad definition, but it generally boils down to what you and the responder feels comfortable with.

If a lab employee spills a very small quantity of a fairly benign substance, then they are probably capable of cleaning it. However, if that small quantity is highly toxic or is impacting a floor drain that leads to city sewer, it has become an emergency that requires OSHA trained personnel to evaluate and clean. A useful tool that many institutions have put into place is a “cut off” volume for any and all low-risk substances to delineate between “incidental” and “emergent” spills.

For instance if your “cut off” volume is 4 liters and a researcher drops a half full 4 liter bottle of buffer, they can clean it up. On the other hand, if the same bottle contains ethanol, which poses a significant fire risk, it’s time to evacuate your employee and call in a hazmat-trained spill team. It’s important to note that it’s perfectly acceptable and fairly common to prescribe your “cut off” volume at 0, meaning any spill of any volume requires a trained hazmat team to evaluate and clean regardless of the associate hazards.

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Tags: emergency response

Emergency Response: Who to Evacuate in 200 Words or Less

Posted by Brian Blenkhorn on Wed, Sep 21, 2016

A common question you will need to deal with during a chemical spill is who to evacuate and how much of the area will need to be closed to personnel. Much of this will depend on the size and type of spill you’re dealing with.

A large spill of a relatively non-hazardous substance will require less action than a small spill of highly toxic or volatile chemical. Action will also depend on whether the spill occurs in an open space or within the confines of a small lab or fume hood. Regardless of where the spill happens, it’s best to take the “better safe than sorry” approach and evacuate as many people as possible.

If the spill occurs outdoors or in a large open area, anyone in line of sight of the spill should be moved to safety. Your Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) can then help you fine-tune your exclusion zone as it should clearly prescribe evacuation distances. When dealing with a spill in a lab or fume hood it’s generally acceptable to evacuate the lab and close the doors behind you. You should also use air monitoring at the door to ensure the breathing zone outside of the lab isn’t being impacted.

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Tags: emergency response, emergency plan

4 Questions That Stand Between You and a Best-In-Class Environmental Preventative Maintenance Program

Posted by James Ciccone on Wed, May 11, 2016

emergency_responsePreventative maintenance is a crucial, yet underemphasized facet of Environmental, Health & Safety operations. A regular PM program allows you to create, streamline and optimize a preventative maintenance calendar in order to maximize compliance and minimize downtime. Here are four questions you need answered to optimize your PM program to do just that.

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Tags: Field Services, emergency response, facilitycare

[QUIZ] Are You Prepared For an Emergency Response Situation?

Posted by Sasha Laferte on Mon, Dec 07, 2015

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Tags: emergency response, emergency plan

[INFOGRAPHIC] The Importance of Emergency Response Planning

Posted by Derek Cuneo on Thu, Dec 03, 2015

While the ER coordinator serves as the point person during an emergency, it is important to prepare your entire facility for a possible ER in order to streamline the response and control the situation. Practicing different spill scenarios and other emergencies is the best way to identify procedural flaws and potential issues that could exacerbate an already dangerous situation. Learn more about proper planning in the infographic below.

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Tags: emergency response, Emergency Planning

5 Things You’re Forgetting for Emergency Response Preparedness

Posted by Sasha Laferte on Mon, Nov 30, 2015

Facility spills by nature are unforeseen, but there are steps that you can start taking today to ensure that the personnel in your buildings are prepared to immediately respond in the event of the unexpected. Reviewing your response plan, training those involved, and communicating with a response provider in advance are all essential pieces to preparedness.

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Tags: emergency response, emergency plan

4 Questions That Stand Between You and a Best-In-Class Environmental Preventative Maintenance Program

Posted by James Ciccone on Wed, Sep 30, 2015

Preventative maintenance is a crucial, yet underemphasized facet of Environmental, Health & Safety operations. A regular PM program allows you to create, streamline and optimize a preventative maintenance calendar in order to maximize compliance and minimize downtime. Here are four questions you need answered to optimize your PM program to do just that.

Read More

Tags: Field Services, emergency response, facilitycare

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