Hazmat Professionals Meeting in Anchorage

A rail chemical emergency response scenario will be one of the highlights of the Alliance of Hazardous Materials Professionals' 2012 National Conference.

The Alliance of Hazardous Materials Professionals' 2012 National Conference, the 25th annual event in the series, is taking place is Anchorage, Alaska, for the first time, giving some of the estimated 500 hazmat and EH&S professionals a unique vantage point on environmental issues.

AHMP once again is presenting a real-time emergency response scenario, with this one simulating a rail hazmat spill and chemical cleanup, during the Sept. 9-13 meeting. Cedric Calhoun, the organization's executive director, said the regulatory updates and expert training provided at the conference are invaluable "for our professionals who are challenged every day with protecting the public and our environment from hazmat situations." The simulated emergency at the Alaska Railroad Corporation will include the Anchorage Fire Department, the 103rd WMD Civil Support team, and the 95th Chemical Company assisting in implementing three separate, integrated chemical releases that affect train passengers and the surrounding environment.

Calhoun answered a few emailed questions from OH&S Editor Jerry Laws prior to the start of the meeting:

Q: When will the 2013 AHMP National Conference take place, and where will it be located?

A: September 15-18, 2013, in Orlando.

Q: How was Anchorage chosen as the site for this year's conference? Has AHMP ever held the event there before?

A: It is AHMP's 25th Anniversary National Conference, and we wanted to choose a location where our members could experience what some consider an environmental utopia. We also wanted to share the beauty of Alaska, as well. The conference has never been in Anchorage, and I hope it will not be the last time AHMP hosts a meeting here.

Q: Probably the most important regulatory action in 2012 by OSHA has been the Globally Harmonized System, known as GHS or HazCom 2012, that affects the labeling of chemicals and training of workers who handle them. What other recent or upcoming regulatory actions are AHMP members focused on at the moment? Are they already seeing changes in U.S. companies' chemical safety programs as a result of GHS?

A: For brownfields, the critical component is tracking and pushing for EPA and state budgets for incentives to offset the extra costs of redeveloping previously used and contaminated properties. California has eliminated its program, Ohio has eliminated its grant program, and EPA brownfields budgets are under pressure from Congress.
The major new regulatory/technical initiative for site cleanup and brownfields redevelopment is investigating and mitigating the vapor intrusion exposure pathway arising from volatile solvent and gasoline contamination. The deletion of the ORM-D category in 49 CFR (DOT) is conforming with the GHS implementation. It affects the marking of hazardous materials in transit.
As far as seeing changes in US companies as a result of GHS, at this point it is a mixed bag. Some companies are further along than others with changing the way they write their MSDS's.

Seminars and exhibitions at the AHMP 2012 National Conference, co-supported by CleanHarbors®, will be held at the Hilton Anchorage. Additional sponsors include the Institute of Hazardous Materials Management, Shaw group, TRANSCAER®, Veolia ES, Compliance Solutions, and Weston Solutions. Visit www.ahmpnet.org for more information.

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