Posts Tagged ‘hazmat compliance’

September Update on How to Handle Airbag Disposal

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Hazardous Waste SignAuto dealers find the disposal of undeployed airbags to be a significant challenge, because they can be considered “reactive hazardous waste” if they are not recycled. For many years, dealers have opted to deploy the airbags and then send them to disposal sites like traditional landfills or incinerators. However, the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently cited a dealer for doing so.

So what’s the best approach for disposing of undeployed airbags? Till now, dealers’ options have included:

  1. Recycling the undeployed airbag.
  2. Disposing the undeployed airbags as hazardous waste.
  3. Deploying the airbags and then sending them to disposal.

Since the EPA recently cited a dealer for “treatment of hazardous waste without a permit” for deploying airbags, disposal of such items has become more problematic. Every dealer needs to weigh a variety of pros and cons, such as long-term liabilities and shipping costs.

Bottom line: If you’re not sure about the best approach for disposing undeployed airbags in your state, or if you’re using option 3 above, it’s time to reconsider your approach.

KPA Environment & Safety clients can contact their engineer for more information. Or, you can review the airbag page on our website.

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

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

OSHA’s Top 10 Most Cited Violations for 2010

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

OSHAOSHA’s Top 10 Most Cited Violations for the 2010 fiscal year was revealed at The National Safety Council (NSC) Congress and Expo in San Diego in EHS Today. Keeping with the trends of previous years, this new top 10 was only slightly different from last year’s top 10. Thomas Galassi, the director of OSHA’s directorate of enforcement programs, listed the 2010 top 10 at the NSC conference and said that OSHA generally sees “a degree of consistency in these violations” and that the “violations relate to falls, contact with equipment and exposure to harmful substances.”

For the second year in a row, we have compiled a list of the top ten violations by Auto Dealers for you.

  1. Hazard Communication
  2. Electrical safety requirements
  3. Abrasive wheel machinery
  4. Respiratory Protection
  5. General Duty Clause
  6. Personal Protective Equipment
  7. Walking/Working Surfaces (including stairs and ladders)
  8. Machinery and Machine Guarding
  9. Powered Industrial Trucks
  10. Medical Services and First Aid

Once again, our list was similar to our Top 10 list from last year. Hazard Communication was at the top of the list for a second year in a row and stands out as the most common violation cited by OSHA. Perhaps getting the word out about these haz-com requirements should be at the top of more public relations and association’s top 10 “to-do” lists. “These are very important,” Galassi said. “[They are] lessons learned in the workplace … lessons to take home.”

For more information about the Hazard Communication Standard, visit the OSHA’s Inspection Procedures for Hazard Communication Standards or learn more about OSHA safety, material safety data sheets (MSDS), and employee training.

GM Temporarily Suspends DOT Hazardous Material Shipping

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

We learned from our GM dealer clients that they received notifications to temporarily suspend all Hazardous Materials shipments from GM dealers on Thursday, September 2, 2010. The communication also outlined the steps that GM dealers have to take to lift the shipment suspension. In order to be allowed to ship hazmat again, all GM dealers will have to declare completed HAZMAT Certification Training for all hazmat employees by Friday, September 17, 2010.

The regulations that apply to GM’s DOT training requirements are 49 CFR §172.704 “Training requirements”, and 172.702(a) “Applicability and responsibility for training and testing”. The requirements include general awareness/familiarization training, function-specific training, safety training, emergency response, measures to protect employees from exposure to hazardous materials, procedures for handling hazardous materials, in-depth security training, as well as OSHA, EPA, and initial and recurrent training.

Other requirements are items such as recordkeeping of hazmat employees’ training, compliance, and certification that the hazmat employee has been trained and tested.

If you’re concerned whether or not your dealership is meeting these requirements, KPA can help – please call us at (866) 356-1735. Contact us for more information about DOT hazmat training.

Missing face plates on electrical outlets: $52,500 fine

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Okay. It’s not exactly that. OSHA proposed the $52,500 penalties for four violations: a repeat violation is for failing to provide functioning safety latches on the hydraulic automobile lifts, a serious citation is for missing face plates on electrical outlets, and two other-than-serious violations are for recordkeeping deficiencies and hazard communication deficiencies. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Two learning lessons from this press release:

(1) OSHA is STILL providing you the opportunity to reduce the fine by complying or contesting. HOWEVER, the damage is to your reputation is already done when a press release like this goes out from OSHA

(2) These violations are just a few in pretty much an end-less, and growing, list of potential violations. You can use EHS checklists but that gets you only so far.These checklists typically don’t cover the  General Duty Clause very well, and makes it virtually impossible to rely on checklists alone. For reference, the general duty clause states that “Each employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees”

My advice: stop playing whac-a-mole with regulations, do a risk assessment, and engage in a formal safety program.

Tip of the month: every facility conducting spray coating must file notification with EPA before January 10

Monday, December 7th, 2009

compliance tip of the month

An initial notification letter or a petition for exemption has to be filed with EPA regarding compliance with 40 CFR Part 63, Subpart HHHHHH (also referred to as the 6H rule). Every facility conducting vehicle spray coating operations must file an initial notification of compliance or a petition for exemption with the EPA by January 10, 2010. The initial notification is ordinarily submitted to both the EPA region where the facility resides, and the delegated regulatory authority, if any. Consult the list of delegated regulatory authorities (PDF) (2pp, 21k).

A free recorded webinar about the 6H rule is available to find out:

  • If you qualify for an exemption, and why you are probably better off not trying to claim the exemption.
  • Requirements for new facilities, and why your definition of a new facility is probably not the same as the EPA’s definition. For example, if you install new paint equipment the EPA may reclassify your shop as a “New Facility”

Who needs DOT training?

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

Sounds like a simple question and you would expect a simple answer, doesn’t it? Yet, the reality is that many employees and employers alike don’t know the answer. Or worse, because they cannot readily find the answer, they assume they don’t need it. Unfortunately, in many cases they are required by DOT to have training.

Let’s review a few definitions and requirements.

Question: what defines a “hazmat employee”?

Answer: a hazmat employee is a person who is employed by a hazmat employer and who in the course of employment directly affects hazardous materials transportation safety. This term includes an individual, including a self-employed individual, employed by a hazmat employer who, in the course of employment: (1) Loads, unloads, or handles hazardous materials; (2) Manufactures, tests, reconditions, or repairs, modifies, marks, or otherwise represents containers, drums, or packages as qualified for use in the transportation of hazardous materials; (3) Prepares hazardous materials for transportation; (4) Is responsible for safety of transporting hazardous materials; or (5) Operates a vehicle used to transport hazardous materials.

Question: who needs DOT hazmat training?

Answer: all hazmat employees require training including the following: (1) General awareness/familiarization training, and (2) Function-specific training.

Question: when and how often do I need training?

Answer: Initial training by a new hazmat employee, or a hazmat employee who changes job functions must be completed within 90 days after employment or a change in job function. Recurring training is required at least once every three years.

Check out the DOT regulations for the 49 CFR, Part 172, Subpart H regulations or the website of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for a less formal and more readable explanation.