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ERA's Environmental Compliance Management Blog

Our EH&S blog is your go-to source for industry news, advice, and compliance information. With each post, our team of experts (advanced degree holders in chemistry, environmental science, management, and more) maps out today’s most pressing EH&S issues. We also try to keep things interesting!

We’re committed to helping companies like yours maintain safe, efficient, environmentally-conscious operations. Use the buttons below to find EH&S blog posts that match your specific interests. And if you don’t see the type of content you need, please let us know!

GHS Turbulence Ahead: Transportation and Shipping Concerns in SDS Authoring

Posted by Lorcan Archer

With the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) now officially in place as the standard for the labelling of hazardous chemicals across the US, Canada is preparing to adopt the system in 2017. It’s an indication that regulations regarding hazardous warnings have taken a great stride towards standardization.

However, there are aspects to the laws governing the transportation of hazardous goods that are not fully covered by the GHS provisions.

Produced materials simply need to be transported to where they’re required – this is the essential nature of any produced chemicals. The challenge therefore is staying compliant with the rules of the territory where the goods will be travelling through, and the ultimate location where they will be used.  

This article will explore the ins and outs of transportation regulations, the web of requirements that need to be respected, and how you can more easily achieve authoring compliance throughout all stages of the transportation process.

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Also posted in: SDS Authoring, GHS

CEC JPAC Regular Session for November 2016 – Operation: Cooperation

Posted by Lorcan Archer

Implementing sustainable policies, be they commercial or public in nature, is all too often limited by the scope of legislative and national boundaries.

An international forum where ambitious cross-border cooperation can be fostered certainly has its merits.

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) is that very forum. Established in 1994 through the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation, it promotes dialogue and the exchange of ideas between Canada, the United States and Mexico in the field of shared environmental collaboration. The forum acts as an important collaborative platform to engage issues, especially those connected to NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), the accord that has facilitated free trade across the continent for over 20 years.

With the future of environmental regulation, NAFTA and sustainability in business all set to be on the news agenda in 2017, ERA eagerly attended this month’s regular session on November 7th in Ottawa, Canada to check in on the latest developments and innovative ideas.

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Also posted in: Sustainability, CEC

Lost in Translation: Language Challenges in SDS Authoring

Posted by Lorcan Archer

As we move closer and closer to the GHS transition date in Canada, there is an understandable level of scrutiny being placed on SDS Authoring in North America.

Many companies will certainly be going through the self-assessment process. Are we still in compliance? How does this affect us? Are there aspects to the changeover that we haven’t anticipated?  The overall concern will be staying firmly in-line with regulations. 

The move towards GHS compliance in both the US and Canada adds these countries to a growing list of developed states that have embraced the UN-brokered system.

There is, however, an aspect that even the standardizing power of the GHS cannot fully resolve. It’s an elemental issue; the language differences between countries and regions. Even with the standardization that the GHS brings, there are specific aspects to SDS use involving language that are of paramount importance.

The laws governing language use amongst SDSs, especially in the export/import process, can be absolutely crucial. In this article, we’ll look the range of pressing factors that companies need to overcome in order to achieve compliance.

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Also posted in: SDS Authoring

2016 TRI National Training Conference – Report and Take-Aways

Posted by Lorcan Archer

Over the course of three days in October, ERA was proud to both attend and contribute to the 2016 TRI National Training Conference held in Washington DC.

This much-anticipated meet-up acts as a forum for TRI reporting, where industry, community groups, academia, researchers, state and different federal agencies come together to discuss the issues around emissions reporting, and share the latest developments across both reporting and regulations.

We’ll be recapping some of the main talking points, industry trends and concerns that emerged from the packed schedule of the conference. A vibrant level of discussion at the conference makes breaking down the discourse to a few points difficult, but some important topics consistently came up over the course of the event.  

Gary Vegh, Chief Environmental Toxicologist at ERA, was present at the conference, delivering his own lecture on ‘Communication: The Foundation of Increasing Data Accuracy’.

As it turned out, both data collection and the presentation of data were some of the hottest industry topics at the conference.

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Also posted in: Sustainability, TRI

Canada's Carbon Plan Solidifies, as New Emissions Deals Land

Posted by Lorcan Archer

Since Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his plan to implement a carbon tax across Canada on October 3, there has been a tremendous amount of interest in how this will be applied, and its potential impact on business both north and south of the Canadian border.

While there has been a considerable backlash against the plans (particularly from Canadian provinces), as well as strong support from environmental groups; what’s clear is that a major economy in the G7 is proceeding with a plan that will put in place year-on-year increases on the price of emitting carbon.

With a substantial majority, the Liberal Party of Canada seems committed to this course of action. Businesses would do well to ready themselves for more robust environmental management and reporting.  

As an industry development, this carbon plan is important. However, it’s not happening in isolation... 

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Also posted in: Environmental Compliance & Data Management, GHG

GHS Transition – Enforcement and Lessons to be Learnt

Posted by Lorcan Archer

In our last blog article in this series, we looked at how the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) will be implemented in Canada, and which key dates to pay particular attention to.

We have also covered how American companies, even those that have transitioned to the new SDS format, may fall into non-compliance due to this Canadian transition.

This article will examine the actual steps that Health Canada may take to compel companies towards adoption, as well as taking a broader look at the specific stumbling blocks lessons that can learnt from the United States’ GHS adaption.

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Also posted in: SDS

CO2 Reaches Tipping Point as Post-Paris World Gears Up For Carbon Tax

Posted by Lorcan Archer

Last week, it was announced that the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) present in the global atmosphere had reached the key level of 400 parts per million.

This is a milestone. The 400 parts per million stat has long been considered a key ‘tipping point’ in CO2 levels. Scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in Hawaii, which directs the program that detected this reading, described it as the point at which “irreversible damage to the environment” occurs.

As with most climate science, it’s not a reading that will result in sudden, observable changes in the environment – but it is an indication that human activity has considerably altered the make-up of the planet’s atmosphere. Harm reduction, particularly via air emissions, is the goal from here on in. This was the focus of the recent Paris climate deal.

Policymakers are taking notes – and so should industry in general.

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Also posted in: Environmental Compliance & Data Management, GHG

Canada's GHS / SDS Adoption - The Deadlines That Matter

Posted by Lorcan Archer

In our last blog article in this series, we examined how the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) may present difficulties for American companies, especially in terms of SDS use.

For this piece, we’ll take an informed look at the various deadlines that will signpost Canada’s transition, giving you the best possible overview of this complex changeover. You’ll learn which deadlines affect your business, and what to should expect over the coming months.
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Also posted in: SDS

OSHA Fine Increase Turns up the Pain for Non-Compliance

Posted by Lorcan Archer

Since August 2, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been applying increased penalty fees to delinquent businesses within its purview.

This change has been actively driven by legislation enacted by Congress in November 2015, which required federal agencies to review and modify the penalties handed out, and bring them in line with inflation. The new penalties represent a substantial increase in the case of OSHA compliance infractions, with fine amounts jumping approximately 78% in most cases.

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Also posted in: OSHA

5 Ways Canada's GHS Adoption Could Trip Up Your SDS Management

Posted by Lorcan Archer

In our last blog article in this series, we looked at how the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) is being embraced by Canada. We offered a broad outline of the situation, and the reasons why the system is now being implemented.


For this piece, we’ll take an informed look into more of the particulars, unearthing 5 key details in US/Canadian policy differences that could become potential pitfalls for companies looking to continue to smoothly export products to Canada.

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Also posted in: SDS