FED's Industry Related News

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

All Eyes Turn To Turning Stone Casino For PACNY's 19th Annual Environmental Conference

This week is the Professional Abatement Contractors of New York's (PACNY's) 19th Annual Environmental Conference.  The conference is being held at Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York from Wednesday, February 25 through Friday, February 27th.  The conference is New York's premier conference for the abatement and remediation industries.  Like most conferences it consists of meetings and a vendor hall.  Unlike other conferences, regulators usually participate and are the main speakers at the event.  Find the registration form here.  

Turning Stone Casino is a Beautiful Casino
Future Environment Designs (FED) is again sponsoring the event, find our booth in the vendor hall staffed by Ms. Kimberly Granmoe & Ms. Sheryl Esposito, you met both of them last year.  The ladies will help you get our new app for Negative Air Calculations and a parting gift.  If you can't make the event, we will be posting updates on our Twitter feed (https://twitter.com/angelogarcia3) with the hashtag #FEDTCPACNY.

FED's Booth in the Vendor Hall

Last year, the conference expanded to three days, adding the Proficiency Day designed primarily for training providers.  This year PACNY has expanded it to include other proficiency topics.  In addition to Mr. Kevin Malone of New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) speaking on the training regulations, Mr. Andy Oberta & Mr. Sean Hart will be speaking on the asbestos visual inspection standard American Society of Testing Materials (ASTM) E1368; and Ms. Diana Wolgemuth of Dale Carnegie speaking on "Incorporating the Human Element into our Business."

The Long Island Contingent for PACNY Last Year.

Technical sessions on the second day this year will include discussions on vermiculite, the new mold regulations, asbestos abatement, understanding ASTM D7886, and "Industrial Hygiene Lessons Learned from the World Trade Center Disaster."  Opening speaker will be Ms. Linda Reinstein of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO).  Other speakers include: Mr. Brent Kynoch of the Environmental Information Association (EIA); Mr. Christopher Alonge (is Back!) from the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY); Matthew Darin from Bluepoint Environmental; Matt Sanchez from RJ Lee (guess what he will be talking about?); Dr. Marty Rutstein; Dr. Barry Castleman; Mr. Andy Oberta of the Environmental Consultancy; & Mr. Jack Springston of TRC Environmental Corp.  All should be great presenters with great topics!

Last Year's Regulatory Day

The final day of the conference is usually Regulation day.  It will start with Mr. Ed Cahill from EMSL (guess what he will be speaking on?).  It will then move to a roundtable consisting of asbestos and mold representatives from New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) from the engineering, enforcement, & legal divisions led by Dr. Eileen Franko, who is always entertaining and hopefully not offended this year.  For more details about the conference you can find the conference flyer here.  The conference is always fun and a great networking event.  The Cocktail Hour on the second day happens in the Vendor Hall and Wednesday night President's reception features Dan the Magic Man!  Hope to see you there!  Come by our booth and say hello.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Have You Remembered To Post The OSHA 300A Form?

On February 1, covered employers were required to post the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) 300A form.  The 300A form summarizes the information that is kept on the OSHA 300 log form.  Covered employers are required to prepare and maintain records of serious occupational injuries and illnesses that occur at a workplace on the OSHA 300 log form.  At the end of the year, covered employers are required to tally the totals on each column and enter the totals on the OSHA 300A form.  The information should be used by employers to evaluate safety in the workplace and determine ways to eliminate or reduce hazards in the workplace.  OSHA's 300A form is required to be posted until April 30, 2015 and must be retained for 5 years.  During the retention period you are required to update the log to add new information regarding the occupational injuries and illnesses recorded on it.  OSHA has brief tutorial to help you complete the forms.


OSHA 300A Form

A final rule was announced on September 11, 2014, which went into effect January 1, 2015, changing the list of employers partially exempt from the above recordkeeping requirements.  The revised list uses the new method of classification of industries, the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).  The partially exempt industry list includes: architectural, engineering, & related services; legal services; & drinking places (really!!!), as examples.  For the full list of exempt industries visit OSHA's website on recordkeeping.  In addition, to new exempt industries there are industries that have to start keeping records.  These industries include:  automotive dealers, building material & supplies dealers, & activities related to real estate, for example.  Find the industries that have start keeping records here.  

However, this does not exempt these industries or covered industries from reporting to OSHA, within 8 hours, any work-related fatality and reporting work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations, or losses of an eye within 24 hours.  This new reporting requirement was also part of the changes that went into effect on January 1, 2015.  Employers can report these events by telephone to the nearest OSHA Area office during normal business hours, or the 24-hour OSHA hotline 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), or electronically through a new tool which is being developed, look for it here.   Should you need any assistance with these requirements contact Future Environment Designs.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

New York State Mold Licensing & Minimum Standards Law Is Signed By Governor Cuomo

On January 29, 2015 Governor Andrew Cuomo signed New York State Senate Bill S3667D-2013 which will create Article 32 to the Labor Law.  This article will establish the licensing of mold inspection, assessment, and remediation specialists and minimum work standards.  According to the bill the law goes into effect in 180 days of January 29, 2015, or if we calculate this right July 28, 2015.  This law is so important to the abatement industry the Professional Abatement Contractors of New York (PACNY) at the last minute added two speakers (Mr. Chris Alonge from DASNY and Matthew Darin from Bluepoint Environmental) to speak on the law at their 19th annual environmental conference at Turning Stone Casino being held from February 25-27.  Click here for the registration form.

Article 32 will require companies doing mold remediation, like above, to be licensed in NYS
Several important points of the new law are in the bill already, in Section 1: Title 1 is the definitions and the following points:

  • Defines the difference between mold remediation (conducting the business of removal, cleaning, sanitizing, or surface disinfection of mold, mold containment, and waste handling of mold) and mold assessment (inspection or assessment of real property that is designed to discover indoor mold growth, toxic mold growth, conditions that facilitate indoor mold growth, and/or indicia of conditions that are likely to facilitate indoor mold growth).
  • To be licensed in NYS you must be at least 18 years old; must have completed a NYS Department of Labor (NYSDOL) approved course work including training on the appropriate use and care of personal protection equipment (PPE) as approved by NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH); and paid appropriate fees.
  • Exemptions to licensing in the standard include:
    • Design professional licensed pursuant to Title 8 of the Education Law (Registered Architects or Professional Engineers) performing mold inspection, assessment, remediation, and or abatement tasks or functions if the person is acting within the scope of his or her practice, 
    • residential property owner who performs mold inspection, assessment or remediation on his or her own property;
    • non-residential property owner, or the employee of such owner, who performs mold assessment or remediation on an apartment building owned by that person that has not more than four dwelling units; and
    • an owner or a managing agent or a full-time employee of an owner who performs mold assessment or remediation on commercial property owner by the owner provided, however, that this subdivision shall not apply if the managing agent or employee engages in the business of performing mold assessment or remediation for the public.
  • Prohibits a person licensed to perform mold-related services from acting as both the mold assessment contractor and the mold remediation contractor.
  • Authorizes NYS to impose civil penalties and revoke a contractor's license after a notice and hearing, suspend or revoke any license, or censure, fine, or impose probationary or other restrictions on any licensee for good cause. (the bill has a list of items).
The next area, Title 2, details the minimum work standards for the conduct of mold assessments and mold remediation by licensed persons.  This includes:
  • A mold assessment licensee to prepare a mold remediation plan that is specific to each remediation project, the plan must specify:
    •  the rooms or areas where the work will be performed;
    • the estimated quantities of materials to be cleaned or removed;
    • the methods to be used for each type of remediation in each type of area;
    • the PPE to be supplied by licensed remediates for used by licensed abaters;
    • the proposed clearance procedures and criteria for each type of remediation in each type of area;
    • when the project is a building that is currently occupied, how to properly notify occupants of such projects.....
    • an estimate of cost & an estimated time frame for completion; &
    • when possible, the underlying sources of moisture that may be causing the mold and a recommendation as to the type of contractor who would remedy the source of such moisture.
  • Requires posting of the remediation project
  • Requires that containment cannot be removed any person until the mold remediation licensee overseeing the project has received a notice from a mold assessment licensee that the project has achieved clearance which shall be determined by post-remediation assessment.
  • The post-remediation assessment shall determine:
    • the work area is free from all visible mold; and
    • all work has been completed in compliance with the remediation plan and remediation work plan and meets clearance criteria specified in the plan.
The interesting parts that are left out are the specifics about the training requirements to become licensed as an assessor or remediator/abater.  These specifics have been left to NYSDOL to create with some assistance from NYSDOH.  Licensing and recertification will be good for two years and you will need to take a refresher course which is also left to NYSDOL to create.  It will be interesting to see if individuals certified by the American Council for Accredited Certifications (ACAC), or the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH) will have to take the courses that NYSDOL creates.  The only exemption in the law are for Professional Engineers & Registered Architects.  Whoever, creates this process could go to ACAC which has assisted other states with this type of licensing.  Only time will tell.  Tick Tock! Tick Tock! 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wearable Technology In the Workplace

We just read the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health's (NIOSH's) Science Blog regarding "The Future of Wearable Technology in the Workplace".  Wearable technology includes things like Fitbit, Jawbone, and things like Google glass or Microsoft's just announced HoloLens.  The potential to use wearable technology in the workplace to provide occupational safety and health information at the moment would be really useful.  Though the potential for distracted workers and some workers having health issues using the technology should give pause in rolling it out too quickly.  Considering all the new technology we've been keeping up with, we are very interested in seeing where wearable technology brings the occupational safety and health field.  Maybe some accidents could be prevented with the wearable technology.

Image of the ZYPAD wrist wearable computer fro...
Image of the ZYPAD wrist wearable computer from Arcom Control Systems (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Mold Legislation Threatens Restoration/Remediation Industries

The New Year wasn't very old before the restoration/mold industry was beset with concerns regarding new regulations and legislation.  The first, Nassau County in New York State started requiring licensing for companies and owners of those companies who are environmental hazard remediation providers, this legislation Local Law No. 13-2014 was voted on by the County Legislature on September 22, 2014 and signed by County Executive Ed Mangano on September 25, 2014 (Thank you Mark Drozdov for the info).  The second item, on December 30 New York State's "Licensing of Mold Inspection, Assessment andRemediation Specialists and Minimum Work Standards" legislation was presented to Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign.  The Governor has until January 29 to either sign it, or veto it or he can let it expire (called a pocket veto) (Thank you Chris Alonge for the info.).
 
Water damage/Mold growth in a Basement Apartment
There is a growing group of industry individuals who feel that Governor Cuomo should veto the NYS legislation.  Many feel it is poorly written and have major issues with it.  Some examples include the definition of mold (to narrow a definition), NYS Department of Labor is charged with writing rules and regulations for overseeing the practices of assessment & remediation (it should be either the NYS Department of Health or NYS Department of Environmental Conservation), and does not mention or exempt a minimum quantity.  In our opinion, the law does use existing infrastructure to create the rules and regulations, recognizes conflict of interest issues, and leaves the details of the procedures up to the agencies who already have experience handling the restoration/remediation industry and provides some minimum procedures.  The law puts the responsibility for creating the details to NYS Department of Health and the NYS Department of Labor.  Both agencies already regulate the asbestos industry and have the experience to create, write, and enforce the potential rules and regulations to handle this industry.  Our feeling this legislation is better than the Nassau County legislation, and our concern is that we might get one like the Nassau County law.

Nassau's Local Law is meant to address problems that happened after Super Storm Sandy
Nassau County Local Law No. 13-2014 requires "Licensing of Environmental Hazard Remediation Providers" or in another words environmental contractors.  However, environmental contractors are defined "any person who or legal entity that, contracts with an owner or an owner's agent to inspect a suspected environmental hazard or to implement any measure or measures that result in the remediation of an environmental hazard in a building."  This definition means both consultants and contractors have to be licensed.  Even more amazing is the definition of Environmental hazard.  "Environmental hazard(s) means any condition that constitutes an indoor air quality violation as defined by any United States statue or regulation, any New York State Law or regulation, any local law or any regulation promulgated by the Commissioner of Consumer Affairs, and which hazard was caused by fire, flood, storm, chemical spills, dust, sewage, mold, pathogens or other biological contaminants and not caused by the presence of asbestos or lead."  There are so many statements in this definitions that we're not totally sure what is or isn't covered.  

The Local Law 13-2014 requires two licenses, environmental contractors have to get the Environmental Hazard Remediation Provider (EHRP) License ($1,000 for a two year license, renewal fee is $500 every two years) and the Environmental Hazard Remediation Technician (EHRT) License ($100 for two year license, every two years) shall be issued to an EHRP or their principal(s) and any person employed by, seeking employment by or under contract to a EHRP for the purpose of environmental hazard assessment and environmental hazard remediation.  It does allow an EHRT to supervise up to 10 unlicensed employees or contractors performing a remediation or remediations.  To get the EHRT license you must have taken and be current/in effect Certifications:
  • OSHA Safety Standards for Construction or General Industry - minimum 10 hours
  • NYS Asbestos Handler - minimum 32 hours
  • EPA Lead Worker - minimum 16 hours.  Lead RRP is NOT sufficient
  • Hazardous Waste Operations (HAZWOPER) - minimum 40 hours
  • Microbial Remediation - minimum 24 hours
  • Water damage restoration - minimum 20 hours or Institute of Inspection, Cleaning Restoration Certification (IICRC) WRT Certification
  • Fire damage restoration - minimum 16 hours or IICRC FSRT Certification
  • PCB Awareness - minimum 4 hours
  • Bloodborne pathogens - minimum 4 hours
  • Infection control risk assessment - minimum 4 hours
  • Proof of a valid lead and asbestos abatement licenses.
The above list consists of 170 hours of training.  It is interesting to note to get an asbestos abatement license you need to take an NYS asbestos supervisor - minimum 40 hours and to get the EPA Lead Remediation License you must be an EPA lead supervisor - minimum 32 hours.  Nowhere in this list of topics is a supervisor course, considering that the EHRT will be allowed to supervise up to 10 unlicensed employees/contractors that seems very lacking.  In addition, there is no assessment class in this list.  Most of us in the industry would agree that this list should be the minimum training for the remediation workers in the restoration/remediation industry.  This list should not be the training requirements for the principals/supervising employees of an EHRP.  In our opinion, EHRP principals/supervising employees should have a minimum certification from American Council for Accredited Certifications, American Board of Industrial Hygiene, Board of Certified Safety Professionals, or another national, non-profit certifying body which:  
In addition, the Local Law does not address the conflict of interest issues that arise from these types of projects.  In our opinion, the local law should have this language to address conflicts of interest:
  • Individuals or legal entities shall not conduct environmental assessments for a period of one year on projects for which they have conducted environmental remediation services.
  • Individuals or legal entities shall not conduct environmental remediations for a period of one year on projects for which they have conducted environmental assessments.
Both laws have their issues unfortunately the worst of the two laws is currently in effect and it needs drastic changes and should be repealed or amended.