Audit, Compliance and Risk Blog

Paris Agreement On Climate Change Calls For Action By Non-National Entities

Posted by Jon Elliott on Tue, Jun 21, 2016

Last December, representatives of 195 countries agreed to continue to expand global efforts to combat climate change. The new Paris Agreement breaks a longstanding impasse with a clever mixture of multinational agreements and agreements-to-agree. I summarized its provisions (and the history of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Framework Convention) it modifies) here.

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Tags: Health & Safety, EHS, Greenhouse Gas, ghg, climate change, global

OSHA Requiring Employers to Submit Injury and Illness information

Posted by Jon Elliott on Tue, Jun 14, 2016

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires most employers to prepare and maintain records of occupational injuries and illnesses as they occur (I&I Logs). OSHA also requires employers to post an annual I&I Summary in each “establishment” within their workplaces by February 1, summarizing that workplace’s I&Is during the previous calendar year. Delegated state-run programs impose comparable requirements. (I summarized these requirements here). Most of this information remains with employers and their employees, so it never gets used for analyses of workplace trends or to help OSHA evaluate areas where additional regulations might be most helpful.

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Tags: Employer Best Practices, Health & Safety, OSHA, Employee Rights

STC Webinar: ISO 14001:2015 – Challenges for the Transition

Posted by Melanie Powers on Tue, Jun 07, 2016

The long awaited ISO 14001: 2015 standard is here. The 2015 standard follows a new format and requires organizations to redefine some key planning and implementation aspects of their environmental management system.

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Tags: EHS, Webinar, iso14001

Registering Pesticides

Posted by Jon Elliott on Tue, May 31, 2016

Most of the laws and regulations discussed in these blogs exist to ensure proper management of hazardous chemicals and products, in ways designed to minimize environmental and human exposures. Pesticide management provides important variations on these themes, since pesticides are used for the very purpose of killing targeted organisms in the environment … and are regulated to target those uses to protect humans and other non-target species. Within the United States, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) provides the national framework for regulation of pesticides, including registration of active ingredients and mixtures, licensing of applicators, and requirements for the application and use of these hazardous materials. FIFRA provides the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with overall responsibility, although different elements of pesticide regulation are subject to different balances of federal (EPA) and state control.

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Tags: Health & Safety, OSHA, EHS, EPA, Hazcom

What is TENORM?

Posted by Rebecca Luman on Tue, May 24, 2016

Every place on Earth has at least a little radioactivity. It is found in bodies, food (not just in industrially irradiated food), the ground, and in many consumer products. The sun and outer space are sources of radiation. Radioactive materials prevalent in nature, such as those present in soils and rock formations and in the water that comes into contact with them, are called naturally occurring radioactive materials, or NORM. NORM typically does not present a problem to human health or the environment, as the radiation levels are very small, and there is generally not an exposure pathway. However, NORM can become concentrated as the result of certain human activities that also expose people and the environment to radiation hazards. Over time, this collection of individual concentrations/exposures has come to be regarded as part of a single, larger, and more complex problem—radiation contamination—referred to as TENORM (tee-norm).

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Tags: Audit Standards, Health & Safety, Environmental risks, Environmental, EHS

Protecting Employees Against The Zika Virus

Posted by Jon Elliott on Tue, May 17, 2016

The first significant outbreak of the mosquito-borne zika virus in the Americas was announced in Brazil in May 2015. Public health officials in the United States began to prepare responses, and have accelerated efforts in reaction to reports that the virus is spreading into U.S. territories, beginning with Puerto Rico and Florida and expanding northward. Late in April, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) entered the fray, by issuing joint “Interim Guidance for Protecting Workers from Occupational Exposure to Zika Virus.” The rest of this note summarizes that Guidance.

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Tags: Employer Best Practices, Health & Safety, Employee Rights, EHS

Protecting Employees Against Bloodborne Pathogens

Posted by Jon Elliott on Tue, May 10, 2016

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to protect their employees against possible exposure to “bloodborne pathogens (BBPs).” OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogen Standard prescribes protections for workers occupationally exposed to blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM). Healthcare workers are the most obvious beneficiaries, but emergency responders and others may also be regularly at risk to these exposures.

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Tags: Employer Best Practices, Health & Safety, OSHA, Employee Rights, Environmental risks, EHS, Hazcom, pharmaceuticals

Employee Suspension: A Legitimate Disciplinary Measure?

Posted by STP Editorial Team on Thu, May 05, 2016

Supreme_Court_Canada_cropped.jpgIf you are an employer and are considering using suspension as a disciplinary measure, be aware that the Supreme Court of Canada has indicated that employers do not have unfettered authority to withhold work from their employees and that legitimate business reasons must be shown in the context of any administrative suspension. Absent such reasons, an administrative suspension—even with pay—may be found to be a constructive dismissal.

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Tags: Business & Legal, Employer Best Practices, Employee Rights, Canadian

Can a Hospital Be Both Hygienic and Environmentally Sustainable?

Posted by Jane Dunne on Mon, May 02, 2016

When it comes to hospitals we all expect the highest standard of cleanliness and yet, we want every part of our lives to be more sustainable. Of course, when hospitals are faced with a choice that puts hygiene up against sustainability, hygiene always wins. But I wonder if it’s possible to find ways for both to win?

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Tags: Health & Safety, Environmental risks, Environmental, EHS, EPA, sustainability

Stormwater Regulation Basics: What is Required?

Posted by Jon Elliott on Tue, Apr 26, 2016

The Clean Water Act’s (CWA’s) national water quality purview includes National Pollutant Discharge Elimination system (NPDES) provisions for “stormwater” that may contain pollutants such as oil, industrial contaminants, and sediment. This means run-off of rain or snow melt containing pollutants from manufacturing, processing, or raw material storage areas at an industrial site, that passes through a “conveyance” (such as a storm drain) into waters of the United States. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administers or delegates permit programs covering discharges from the following:

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Tags: Environmental risks, Environmental, EHS, EPA, Hazcom, Stormwater

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