FED's Industry Related News

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Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Latest IAQTV Video Discusses Flood Cleanup & Indoor Air Quality

IAQTV on You Tube has produced a number of basic videos discussing various indoor air quality (IAQ) topics.  The most recent one discusses the problems with flood water and the need to dry areas quickly to prevent IAQ problems.  http://youtu.be/3Q1tnHFkPF0



A few things not discussed is to make sure the drying company you choose to help you with flood cleanup has experience and is qualified.  The American Council for Accredited Certifications (ACAC) has two certifications in structural drying.  The Council-certified Structural Drying Remediator (CSDR) and the Council-certified Structural Drying Supervisor (CSDS) these individuals perform water damage restoration services.  For example, a CSDR or CSDS can safely mitigate water losses resulting from floods, fires, hurricanes and other disasters as well as broken pipes and water mains.  These professionals have verified knowledge of the principles, techniques, equipment and regulations relevant to structural drying as described in widely published industry texts and accredited standards.  Visit the ACAC's website to find companies that hire CSDRs or CSDSs.


Rainwater Flooded Basement
In addition, the term usually used for flood waters is black water.  Black water is typically defined as containing or potentially containing harmful contaminants.  It would include floodwaters containing soil and any sewage water.  All raw sewage is contaminated with microbes, including bacteria, protozoa, mold, fungi, and viruses.  Many are pathogenic to humans.  So heed the warnings in the video and get some professional help if you find yourself in this unfortunate position.
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Friday, March 21, 2014

PACNY's Three Day Environmental Conference A Success!

Almost from the beginning, this year's Professional Abatement Contractors of New York (PACNY) Environmental Conference seemed to be different from previous years.  There was a certain buzz about the conference even downstate.  Usually, we are the only one discussing the conference.  However, this year we found several people discussing the conference and several others saying they were attending at least the first day of the conference.  Well that buzz definitely turned into a well attended conference.  The new Wednesday session had 70 attendees with 30-40% of them staying for an additional day.  The total conference attendance was up 50% and the exhibit hall was at full capacity which was 18% increase over last year.  We always have fun at these events, and this year was no different.

View from the Tower at Turning Stone Resort & Casino
The venue, Turning Stone Resort & Casino actually improved over last year with some new restaurant choices.  TS Steakhouse was fantastic, the Tin Rooster a barbeque restaurant was very good, and the Upstate Tavern specializing in locally sourced food and drinks was excellent.

Annual Certificates/Students Slide from Mr. Malone's Presentation
The new first day of the conference, was advertised for training providers and trainers, featuring Mr. Kevin Malone, Director of the Asbestos Safety Training Program.  The session started with Mr. Darren Yehl & Mr. Kevin Hutton from Cornerstone Training discussing "What are we telling our clients?".  This discussion featured audience participation with a Classroom Performance System  that allowed the audience to answer the questions on the screen and then tallied the results.   This session definitely determined one thing, the information provided in training is all over the place.  Based on the responses it would seem that the trainers need training.  This was probably very eye-opening for Mr. Malone.   Mr. Bill Self's presentation "High Impact Presentations" definitely gave us a lot to think about and had us thinking how we can improve our presentations.  Mr. Malone's presentation was informative and it was interesting seeing the asbestos training business increasing (it is our opinion the increase is coming from those retiring out of the asbestos industry and having to replace them).  It was also interesting, however, though not unexpected how few asbestos management planners there are (for 2013, there were 24 initials and 134 refreshers in the management planner title.  Compare that to 101 initials and 333 refreshers in the inspector title).
 
Dave Pannucci of Seneca Meadows Landfill
The next two days was the typical Environmental Conference and the presenters/presentations were all informative and some were more entertaining than others.  The first presenter was Mr. Craig Benedict, Assistant US Attorney in the Northern District of New York discussing some of the various asbestos related cases (100 prosecutions over 15 years) and the process of investigating environmental crimes (the cases are won before the trial even happens).  Why is it when he talks you feel like crawling under the table?  Mr. Dave Pannucci's, of Seneca Meadows Landfill, presentation regarding the handling of friable and nonfriable asbestos waste was very interesting since we don't usually hear about how asbestos is handled at the landfill. Dr. Marty Rutstein's, from New Paltz Geology Department, presentation "All About Amphiboles" was very interesting and helped us realize how the science has progressed so far ahead of the regulations in this industry.  His discussion on transitional fibers and bio-reactivity of fibers were eye opening.  Mr. Tom Stebbin's, of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, presentation regarding the scaffold law was very interesting and the statistics are very compelling.  Though we would agree with some in the audience who thought for such a controversial issue it would've been nice to hear from someone from the counter point.  Mr. Tom Laubenthal, from the Environmental Institute, discussed "Methods for Asbestos Sampling & Analytical" who dropped a bomb shell regarding the minimum volume for clearance sampling under the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) 7400 methodology being between 3,000 to 10,000 liters based on loading.  The final presentation was Mr. Steve Fess from Xerox discussing "Getting Your Foot in the Door" providing a private client's perspective of developing lasting partnership with customers.

Roundtable Discussion
The second day started with Mr. Paul Watson, of the Center for Toxicology & Environmental Health, presenting "A Regulatory Update in Renovation, Restoration, & Abatement" discussing the new silica standard (the proposed new action level of 25 micrograms/cubic meter and permissible exposure limit of 50 micrograms per cubic meter) and other things on the horizon.  Unfortunately, because of the weather Dr. Barry Castleman could not make it, so Dr. Marty Rutstein replaced with a presentation "Are We Hugging the Trees to Death", which was funny and entertaining.  The Roundtable Discussion added levity with a fictional contractor defending some of the data we were discussing.  The final presenter was Dr. Eileen Franko (hopefully we spelled that right) the Director for the Division of Safety and Health with the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL).  Dr. Franko discussed the NYSDOL's initiative to educate code enforcement officers across the state, their attempt to remove the 1974 cut off in the Industrial Code Rule 56, and changes to the notice of violation system (including considerations for history, gravity, & good faith).

Moonglo Light at the DiVal Booth in Exhibit Hall
The Exhibit Hall was sold out this year, and the Thursday night reception and networking allowed us to discuss the conference with some of the new people who attended the conference.  We were glad to hear that almost all were impressed with the conference and enjoyed all parts of the event.  In addition, in the Exhibit Hall we enjoyed seeing all the usual equipment and some new equipment that is available from Aramsco, DiVal Safety, The Safety House, Grayling Industries, The Duke Company, Admar Supply Company, Fiberlock Technologies, Inline Distribution, Novatek Corporation, and Vermeer.  Honeywell Safety Product's booth was interesting with all the different safety equipment they supply (we thought Honeywell was a security and energy company).  We thank all of you who came by our booth and introduced yourself to Ms. Kimberly Granmoe and Ms. Sheryl Esposito who were handling our booth duties.  A big Thank You to Ms. Granmoe & Ms. Esposito for adding a woman's touch to our booth and helping us spend more time meeting and talking with the attendees.  PACNY should be very happy with the success of this year's event.  Though, the bar has been set very high in trying to make next year's event even better.  For more photos from the Conference visit Future Environment Design's Picasaweb Album.
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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Future Environment Designs Sponsoring PACNY's 18th Annual Environmental Conference #FEDTCPACNY

Future Environment Designs is looking forward to attending the Professional Abatement Contractors of New York (PACNY) 18th Annual Environmental Conference being held at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino from Wednesday, February 26 till Friday, February 28, 2014.  As has become our habit we will be at the tradeshow with our display booth and brochures.  However, this year you will see someone new at our booth.  Come by the booth and meet the newest member of our team Kimberly Granmoe.  Ms. Granmoe is from the Plattsburgh area of New York, and has been increasing our presence in the North Country.  Ms. Granmoe has worked for several companies in the Plattsburgh area and has served our country in the United States Marine Corp as a Desert Storm Vet (earning the Good Conduct Medal & National Defense Ribbon).
Turning Stone Resort & Casino is Beautiful in Winter
Angelo Garcia, III is proud to be on the discussion panel on Friday with Special Guest Christopher Alonge, PE and moderated by Kevin Hutton.  The panel will be after Dr. Eileen Franco, of the NYS Department of Labor (NYSDOL), who will be discussing the "Annual DOL Update" including the NYSDOL's current initiatives to educate the Code Enforcement Officers across the State and explain the enforcement strategies and statistics.

New this year to the Environmental Conference is an additional day meant for training providers and trainers.  Mr. Kevin Malone MPH, Director of the NYS Department of Health's (NYSDOH's) Asbestos Safety Training Program, will be discussing an "Overview of the Asbestos Training Program" including DOH training trends and initiatives.

The conference promises to be very informative as usual with Craig Benedict Assistant US Attorney discussing "Current Enforcement of the Clean Air Act and the Asbestos Work Practice Standard"; and Dr. Barry Castleman discussing the "The Current Global Asbestos Trade".  Visit PACNY's website for the conference flyer and registration information.

As we did last year, we will be posting updates on our twitter feed (https://twitter.com/angelogarcia3) with the hashtag #FEDTCPACNY.  We hope to see you there this year, come down to the booth and say hello.
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Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Protecting Yourself During Restoration or Renovation Projects

Many of you know one of our main issues is protecting yourself and your family from the contaminants that you can be exposed to in construction work (including remodeling, restoration, or renovation work).  In our classes, we discuss the USA Today Special Report in 2000 "Workers unwittingly take home toxins".  This report discusses how workers through the years have been exposed to toxins and brought them home to contaminate their families.  Contaminates included asbestos, lead, mercury, radiation, animal growth hormones, dry cleaning chemicals, explosive toxins and carcinogens.  It has been our opinion for years, that the standard safety equipment for construction workers should also include disposable clothing or uniforms, that are left at the jobsite, and respirators.  This would be in addition to the typical hard hat, reflective vests, and safety shoes.  The new silica standard, if it goes through, will be interesting since it will probably require respirators for workers performing dusty tasks.


We have also discussed, in our classes, the emergency workers who worked at the Ground Zero site and all the different toxins they were exposed to like: asbestos, lead, dioxin, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), mercury, silica, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).  Some of these workers are so sick that we had to provide special medical coverage through the Zadroga Bill, costing the US billions of dollars.

Old House
Old House (Photo credit: WaywardShinobi)
To further prove our point, a recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) News Synopsis for January 2, 2014 discussed a Histoplasmosis Outbreak Associated with the Renovation of an Old House in Quebec Canada.  Histoplasmosis is a respiratory disease caused by the inhalation of fungus spores excreted by bats and birds, that can persist in the environment for several years.  Outbreaks can occur during demolition/renovation activities that create dust containing bird or bat droppings.  The MMWR outbreak happened during the renovation of an old house, 30 workers and residents were exposed to dust containing bird or bat droppings previously hidden in the brick walls.  14 of the workers/residents developed symptoms of histoplasmosis.  Of the four who were laboratory-confirmed, two were hospitalized.  Unfortunately, stories like this keep happening over and over, again.
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Sunday, January 26, 2014

OSHA 300A Posting Required by February 1. Changes Coming for Recordkeeping.

This is your annual reminder that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 300A injury and illness summary form is required to be posted from February 1 to April 30, 2014.  The 300A form is a summary of the information from the OSHA 300 injury and illness recordkeeping form.  You are not required to (nor should you) post the OSHA 300 form.  For more information on completing these forms visit OSHA's website at: https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/index.html



In addition, OSHA heard public comments from January 9-10, 2014 at the US Department of Labor in Washington DC.  OSHA held this meeting to give stakeholders the opportunity to remark on OSHA's proposed rule to amend recordkeeping regulations.  The amendment would require the electronic submission of injury and illness information to OSHA.  According to OSHA, the proposal would require electronic reporting by approximately 440,000 small companies (20+ employees) annually and larger companies (250+ employees), approximately 38,000 will need to submit injury and illness data on a quarterly basis.  This amendment does not add any new requirements; it just modifies an employer's obligation to submit these to OSHA.

These changes, according to OSHA, are necessary so that the government and researchers will have better access to data to encourage earlier abatement of hazards and improved programs to reduce workplace hazards and prevent injuries, illnesses, and fatalities.  OSHA also says that currently they only see 20 percent of the injury and illness data provided by employers.  Under the new system, they will see 50 percent of the data.

Needless to say, there are those who feel this is a good thing and there are those, many business representatives, who think well.......that public access to this data will encourage employers to underreport as a result of the potential negative impact on their businesses' reputations.  They are also concerned with liability.  Business representatives fear that posting injury and illness data online will open the business up to the pursuit of trial lawyers and unions.  Another concern of business representatives revolves around the costs associated with compliance, which can hurt business and job creation — especially the hiring of temporary workers.  Sounds like the usual business concerns, to us.

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