Environment: Industry Updates

OSHA Instills New Automotive Lift Inspections

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

silhouette auto repair small

Since 2007, 15,000 U.S. workers were treated for automotive lift, jack, or jack stand injuries, causing OSHA to implement a new program to inspect, identify, and evaluate lift safety in the auto industry. A local emphasis will be placed on the Hawaiian region beginning in July 2013.

Inspections will be conducted at randomly selected sites within the auto industry, including automobile dealers, automotive repair, accessories, and tire stores. OSHA will also respond to complaints, referrals, and incident related facilities.

Contact KPA for more information at info@kpaonline.com.

Electronic Hazardous Waste Manifests

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

The days of 6 paper copies of a Hazardous Waste Manifest may finally be drawing to a close.  Earlier this month President Obama signed Senate Bill S.710; The Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest Establishment Act.  This regulation amends the Solid Waste Disposal Act requiring the federal government to implement an optional electronic submission system within 3 years.  This optional system must be made available to any person currently required to submit paper manifests.

There is little in the regulation that defines the specifics of how this might be accomplished just a lot of information on how fees would be collected to pay for the system, and how they must promulgate additional regulations to carry out the implementation within the next year.  Overall the new system must be established “Not later than 3 years after the date of enactment”.   I guess that means that we could see the system sooner than the 3 year timetable.

From KPA’s perspective this regulation is long overdue.  As we continue to shift all of our programs online this is the first step towards eliminating all of those paper shipping receipts our client’s receive.  Ultimately, without making any specific promises, this regulation could pave the way for KPA to implement an online “Yellow Box”.


Study: Safety Inspections Don’t Hurt Profits

Friday, May 18th, 2012

While some businesses complain that workplace regulations damage competitive strategies and destroy jobs, a new study suggests that government enforcement of workplace health and safety rules can save lives without sapping a company’s bottom line.

A new study published in the journal Science followed 409 California work sites that were randomly inspected by California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health from 1996-2006. It found that inspected firms saved an average of about $355,000 (an average of 9.4%) in injury claims and compensation for paid lost work over the following four years.

“These inspections ironically appear to be creating value for the firms that they are visiting in terms of reduced workers’ comp costs and frequency of injuries,’’ said Michael Toffel, a professor at Harvard Business School and co-author of the study.

Read the full article published by By Sam Hananel at the Associated Press here:

Study: Safety inspections don’t hurt profits – Boston.com.

What You Need to Know About EPA’s NESHAP 6C

Friday, April 13th, 2012

NESHAP 6C applies to all gasoline dispensing facilities in the US and businesses that own and operate gasoline dispensing equipment. Its goal is to reduce air pollutants that escape during storage tank loading. This is a federal rule that applies in addition to state and local laws. NESHAP 6C sets parameters for equipment, record keeping, reporting, and required performance testing.

EPA published an official instructional video (embedded below) about acceptable methods for controlling gas vapors during the loading of underground storage tanks (stage 1 vapor recovery), along with compliance guidance for different levels of the rule’s requirements.

EPA Stage 1 Vapor Recovery – Gasoline Dispensing Facilities – YouTube.

Special NADA University Webinar: Green Programs Will Bring in Greenbacks

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Capitalize on your regulatory compliance programs for increased sales and improved profitability. This workshop explains how to leverage safety programs, environmental compliance, and the positive perception of being “green” to bring in more customers, without “green-washing.”


Presenter: Eric Schmitz

Vice President, Product and Business Development, KPA

Eric is a registered environmental assessor and is the Vice President of Product and Business Development at KPA. Prior to joining KPA, Eric worked as a field chemist and project manager for a hazardous waste disposal contractor across the US. Eric earned his B.S. in Environmental Toxicology from the University of California at Davis.


Date: Wednesday April 04, 2012


Register Today >>



The Secret to Getting Ahead of Corporate Responsibility

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Corporate Responsibility used to refer to a few fortune 500 companies, and their efforts to not seem well, “corporatey.” The idea was that companies should care about the environment and their employees as much as their profits (the buzzword for this was triple bottom line). During the recession as profits grew slim, the concept evolved. It is still evolving, but in ways that make it easier for family-owned businesses like dealerships to shine.

The voluntary Global Reporting Initiative is picking-up steam, and most OEMs are already making tracks toward public performance reporting on a number of indicators. It is a matter of time before their affiliated dealerships and repair centers are also affected. This article from EHStoday discusses the direction things are headed in more detail, but here are a few areas of interest that will position your dealership favorably as public reporting gains momentum.

  1. Make sure your facility is up to code.
    Document facility audits, inspections, along with injury and illness rates. Chances are, facility inspections will become more standardized across regions, but the good news is that if you’re already documenting and keeping up with compliance in your area, then your dealership is ready to ride this wave.
  2. Make sure your employment practices are up to code
    For GRI, there are a number of standards around rates of new employee hires and employee turnover by age group, gender and region, return-to-work and retention rates after parental leave by gender, and the ratio of basic salary and remuneration of women and men by employee category and by significant locations of operations. Basically, this means that your HR team needs to document that employment practices are by the books, and keep accurate records, especially around these employment activities.
  3. Keep sponsoring the little league team.
    Small businesses have an advantage in GRI reporting because they rely on a local clientele. Already, most dealerships have learned to reach out and support a number of local community efforts, and they enjoy a return on investment from good publicity, name recognition, and influence that come from these activities.

While businesses in general are moving toward more transparency, it is important to remember that these efforts are not expected to come at the expense of autonomy or profits. A lot is going on right now around implementing public reporting in a way that actually makes businesses more competitive, and ultimately will cut-down on the number of reports and regulatory agencies that companies will have to report to. In the short-term, you’ll be managing a better run business. In the long-term, you’ll be preparing your business for days when public reporting is a by-word for “good-business.”

Worth a Read

Friday, August 19th, 2011

OSHA General Duty Clause Explained

Friday, August 12th, 2011

OSHA enforces thousands of health and safety standards and rules. In addition to all these standards, there is one regulation that covers all hazardous conditions. This is the General Duty Clause (GDC), or section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and  Health Act. It states:

“Each employer shall furnish his (sic) employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious harm to his employees.”

The General Duty Clause is actually meant to clear things up a bit. It means that if there are actual injuries occurring, or a situation that could lead to an injury; if there are actual illnesses or health effects among workers or a situation that could lead to disease or illness; or if there is a situation that just doesn’t sit right- it worries us even if we are not “experts”- then this situation probably violates the General Duty Clause.

Read the full article in our August Newsletter

   Watch a 2 minute video about the General Duty Clause

Monthly Facility Inspection List

Friday, July 29th, 2011

As the last business day in July, today is a great day to take care of your monthly facility inspections.

There are a few items in your dealership that need to be inspected and updated every month. There should be tags on these items for signatures and dates. These are safety inspection items, and federal law requires that they are monitored and maintained by the dealership on a monthly schedule. Here’s the short list:

Monthly Facility Inspection Checklist
Emergency lighting (short test)- make sure all exit signs (aka luminaries) are present and clean. Activate the system long enough to test each exit sign. Document defects and corrective actions. Check each exit sign for functional back-up system. If necessary, replace back-up power sources (battery packs).
Above Ground Storage Tank- Make sure monthly inspections are conducted as required by SPCC regulations.
First Aid Kits- Check the contents and make sure supplies are accounted for, and at the correct level. Make sure first aid kits are properly mounted and accessible. Sign and date inspection card.
Elevators with a phone or fire department call button- The requirement does not specify who is to perform the operation- maintainence company, elevator inspector, equipment owner or lessee- only that it is performed and that a written record of findings is kept on premises. Periodically, circuts and relays should be checked.
Eyewash stations- Check signage, make sure area is clear and the station is accessible at all times. It should be clean and ready for an emergency. Check portable stations for fluid expiration dates. Sign and date the inspection card.
Fire extinguishers- needle should be in the green, inspect for signs of damage or use. Make sure extinguisher signs are present and extinguisher is properly mounted.
Lifts- perform leak test: check for functionality, oil level and leaks in rolling bridge, wheel free, valves and hoses. Check moving parts for excess play, wear lubrication, and grease. Test switches and terminals to make sure the electrical components are in good shape. Check for overall condition including rust, damage wear, and alignment. Make sure decking and covers are secure, check anchor bolts, and all safety features for functionality.

Depending on your size, kinds of services that you offer, and your location, there may be other monthly inspection items that are part of your dealership’s safety responsibilities. You should talk to your KPA safety engineer to find out about other monthly inspection requirements specific to your state or local area.

It is also a good idea to keep an eye on other time-sensitive inspection items that need annual or periodic inspection and documentation (fire alarm systems, oil/water separators, new product tanks, lift inspections, permit renewals, waste storage areas…); they may need attention soon.


Who Needs DOT HazMat Training? It’s More Employees Than You’d Think!

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Under the DOT regulations (Title 49 Part 172.702) any employee defined as a hazmat employee is required to be trained.  So you ask what is a hazmat employee? The definition is found in (Title 49 Part 171.8) and includes employees that:
• Load, unload, or handle hazardous materials
• Prepare, package, label or mark hazardous materials
• Operate a vehicle used to transport hazardous materials

Now of course not all employees at your facility need to be DOT trained, but depending on who is responsible for different operations you may have to train more employees than you would like. So for an automotive service facility employees that need to be trained include:
• Parts management – they oversee the transportation of hazmat
• Parts shipping & receiving – they load & unload hazmat & might even prepare shipping papers

Additional employees that may need to be trained include:
• Parts drivers – they may transport hazmat
• Service employees – they may prepare & package hazmat (take for example a battery being returned to the manufacturer. The service employee prepares the battery for shipment and may even place it in the shipping container
• Service management – they may oversee hazmat employee operations and may sign for hazmat shipments with the disposal of their facilities wastes.

Learn more about KPA’s  hazmat training at http://www.kpaonline.com/ehs/dot.html

Join the conversation:   How are you providing required training in your dealership.