Hazardous waste violations are a common occurrence and can pose risks to your coworkers, your community, your environment, and your business. In addition to putting everyone in danger, improper handling of waste can violate the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, which was enacted to protect human health and the environment. Each year, millions of dollars in property damage is done due to hazardous waste incidents, with only a small percentage from natural causes. This means that these accidents are preventable! Remember that education is key. Learning the rules and regulations that help create (and keep) a safe working environment start with you.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common hazardous waste violations:
- Waste Identification – One of the most common mistakes is incorrect identification of waste. It is important to properly label all waste with their appropriate codes and UHCs (underlying hazardous constituents).
- Inspections – According to RCRA, inspections of hazardous waste areas and containers should occur on a weekly basis. Keeping your records current with all necessary information and proper documentation is vital to a good inspection.
- Reporting – Stay up-to-date and submit facility reports in a timely manner.
- Container Management – Containers that are open (when not in use) or in poor condition are in violation.
- Marking/Dating Containers – Correct labels and dates on containers are a requirement.
- Preparation, Prevention, and Contingency Plans – Always be ready for an emergency with a contingency plan.
- Personnel Training – Improper or lack of training can cause dangerous conditions and pose risks to all. In addition, contingency plans cannot be executed properly without trained personnel. Make sure all employees are educated in how to perform their daily jobs in a safe manner and what to do in the event of an emergency.
- Tank Management – Ensure tanks are in good condition, clear of leaks and overflows.
- Transporter and Manifest Requirements – Transportation of hazardous waste must utilize the manifest system with signature of acceptance.
- Improper Management of Expired Hazardous Waste – Failure to track and properly dispose of expired chemicals can result in violations and regulatory fines.
- Universal Waste Management – I.e., used batteries, fluorescent lamps, mercury-containing equipment, & pesticides must be labeled “universal waste” and containers must be kept securely closed when not in use.
- Improper Disposal of Hazardous Waste – Disposal of hazardous waste into municipal dumpsters or sewer systems is a violation.
These are common mistakes that can easily be avoided with proper education, planning, and good management. Reduce your risk. And start today.
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