The Global Harmonized System & OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard: Where Are We?

By now, most employers and industry environmental health & safety (EHS) professionals should be familiar with the general requirements of the Global Harmonized System (GHS) and how it affects the 2012 OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) update. However, being familiar does not always directly translate into being compliant and/or having the needed understanding of these requirements.

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Road Salt: The “More The Better” Attitude Under The Microscope

Winter is in full force and with it comes ice and snow-laden roadways that create hazardous travel conditions. For many years, U.S. municipalities have turned to use of “road salt” (sodium chloride) as a cost-effective solution that provides a first line of defense to minimize vehicular and pedestrian accidents. More than 20 million tons of road salt were reportedly spread on U.S. roads, parking lots, sidewalks, and driveways last year – attempting to lower the melting point of ice. Three times as much salt is used on roadways as is consumed through food. Unfortunately, road salt usage has spiraled out of control. Usage has increased dramatically to almost “unlimited” use – with the mantra, ‘the more the better”. But with overuse comes unintended damages and potential long-term environmental impacts – requiring balancing the economic and social benefits and short-term safety risks with long-term acute and permanent consequences to the environment. Continue Reading →

Glyphosate Issues In California…And Beyond

In 1986, California voters approved Proposition 65, an initiative to address growing concerns about exposure to toxic chemicals. Proposition 65 requires the State to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, and other reproductive harm. This list, which is updated at least annually, has grown to include 800 chemicals since it was first published in 1987.1

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EPA Rules For Hazardous Waste Management: A Primer on RCRA

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) is the primary federal law governing the disposal of solid and hazardous waste and was signed by President Ford on October 21, 1976 as an amendment to the 1965 Solid Waste Disposal Act. RCRA was enacted to address problems from the improper storage and disposal of ever increasing volumes of municipal and industrial waste. Mismanagement and unregulated disposal of hazardous waste resulted in contamination of soil, groundwater and surface water.

The initial goals of RCRA were to: protect human health and the environment; reduce waste and conserve energy; reduce or eliminate the generation of hazardous waste; and ensure that wastes are managed in an environmentally sound manner.

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