The Handling of Environmental Concerns in the Workplace and Federal Standards

If you or your company handles concerns like hazardous material, you need to know what the standards are.

There are many federal and state regulations to consider for companies that deal with hazardous material and other environmental concerns.

At the “Understanding Your Environmental Responsibilities” session at National Safety Congress & Expo 2022, President of IHN Safety Service Salvatore Caccavale talked about some of these regulations.

Under the Clean Water Act is the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Regulation. This regulation sits under the Oil Pollution Prevention Regulation. If you have more than 1,320 gallons or report a spill of more than 1,000 gallons or two spills of 42 gallons in 12 months, the SPCC may apply to you.

Another regulation under the Clean Water Act is the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). According to the EPA, this “permit program addresses water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants to waters of the United States.”

In the session, speaker Caccavale spoke about the elements of this program, such as the regulation of discharge, failure reporting requirements, sample activity and that length of the permit, which is five years.

Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, founded in 1976, the EPA can control "the generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste," according to the agency's website.

In his session, Caccavale spoke about the main components of this act. They include “identification of hazardous waste, manifest tracking...operating standards for generators, transporters, and treatments, storage, and disposal facilities, permit system for TSDFs,” which is “any person who treats, stores or disposes of hazardous waste, and “state authorization to assist in implementing program,” according to his slide deck.

If these standards apply to you and your workplace, you may be wondering who is supposed to know about this. Who needs training? Well, as Caccavale explained in his slide, “all personnel involved in hazardous waste management (except satellite accumulation).”

These are just a few of the regulations that companies need to abide by to ensure proper environmental handling and a safe work environment. The Clean Air Act, the Comprehensive Emergency Response, Compensation and Liability Act and your local state regulations are essential to follow as well.

About the Author

Alex Saurman is the Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety.

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