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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!

OSHA Inspections – The Lowdown and How to be Prepared

Posted by Hayoung Jun

Ensuring a healthy and safe workplace is integral to both employers and employees. In their efforts to ensure a strong, fair, and effective enforcement of safety and health at the workplace, OSHA inspectors, called compliance safety and health officers, conduct onsite inspections on a regular basis and usually without advance notice. Although sans prior notice, their surprise visits need not be unpleasant, if you take steps be prepared for them! Knowing what to expect during an OSHA inspection or safety audit and habitually following best practices can make OSHA inspections a beneficial and stress-free experience. At the same time, due to sheer volume, OSHA cannot visit every workplace. However, even if they never come knocking at your facility, employers should always be prepared for this possibility as it will help reduce accident rates and be a proactive demonstration that your company prioritizes work safety.

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Also posted in: Health and Safety

EHS Professional Development & Networking: Not Just Small Talk

Posted by Anamaria Sporea

From workshops that focus on time efficiency to speeches given by prestigious experts, EH&S conferences represent a wide variety of different opportunities for professionals. Therefore, workers in the EH&S sector need to be discriminating when selecting which conferences to attend. 

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Also posted in: EHS Conference, ERA Ingenuity at Work

Summertime Safety: Promoting Team-Based H&S During Hot Months

Posted by Alex Chamberlain

As the summer months arrive, an increased amount of outdoors maintenance and general activity can take place on work sites. Meanwhile, indoor working areas can experience higher temperatures and less pleasant working conditions, as heat and humidity creeps in.

For those businesses that are based in warmer regions, this can mean an additional set of precautions and measures that should be taken to avoid compromising employee or public health.

How a business responds to differing temperatures and environmental conditions is all part of the ongoing “stress-test” of a functioning health and safety management system. Businesses need to be able to ensure their health and safety management can react to soaring temperatures, the dangers of sunstroke and heat exposure, dehydration, and any material temperature based hazards – particularly those involving volatile chemicals.

This piece will explore the kind of robust systems that need to be in place to counter these kinds of seasonal conditions.

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Also posted in: Health and Safety

Revealed: The Top 5 Reasons Professionals Attend EH&S Conferences

Posted by Alex Chamberlain

When it comes to attending conferences, employees in EH&S roles need to be keenly strategic about which ones they attend.

Most companies only have a limited budget, in terms of funds and expendable time that they can use to send their key staff to conferences. Most of the time, EH&S role-holders are deeply embedded in their roles, and more often than cannot spare the time to attend a conference or industry event that doesn’t deliver on key requirements. The pressures of the role mean that there has to be a firm set of “takeaways” that can be identified.

Here at ERA, we’ve attended more than our fair share of EH&S industry events. Our environmental staff have both attended, and presented, at a dizzying number of events across North America and beyond.

So what is it that professionals in the EH&S sphere actually want from these events? What distinguishes the real substance from the surface level shine? Below, we’ve put together a range of perspectives from individuals who have spent plenty of time on the “front line”.

What experiences have stuck with you? Once you have successfully justified your attendance at the event, what do you really want to come away with? Please feel free to leave comments at the bottom of the page reflecting your experiences.

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Also posted in: Conferences, EHS Conference

GHS Compliance Delayed by Health Canada

Posted by Alex Chamberlain

In late May of 2017, news began to circulate that Health Canada was moving to change the requirement dates associated with Canada’s adoption of the Globally Harmonized System (GHS). This represented a shift away from the previously published transition deadlines.

The new process will center around three key dates, and will be defined by closer adherence to the requirements of both Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR) and Controlled Products Regulations (CPR) rules. These standards are associated with corresponding regulations (HPR with WHMIS 2015, and CPR with WHMIS 1988).

Those industries that create and import hazardous chemicals will now have until June 1 2018 to comply with HPR rules, while distributors will have until September 1 2018 to reach compliance. The completion of the GHS transition remains scheduled for December 2018.

This represents a considerable change of course for the regulatory authorities.

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Also posted in: Sustainability, ERA Ingenuity at Work

June’s WHMIS / GHS Deadline: Essential Reading for Canadian and US Producers

Posted by Lorcan Archer

Update: May 2017: Since the publication of this article, Health Canada have issued an annoucement indicating changes to WHMIS 2015 compliance requirements and deadlines. These changes in requirements center around the timely implementation of Controlled Production Regulations (CPR) and Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR), as well as Confidential Business Information (CBI) disclosure. The annoucement can be read here

Manufacturers, producers and facilities based in Canada will by this stage likely be keenly aware of WHMIS 2015 regulations. This is a comprehensive new set of regulations, developed to UN-approved Globally Harmonized System (GHS) standards, which cover the onsite documentation and labeling of hazardous goods in Canada. These new rules will also have a subtle impact on any US business involved in the cross border trade of these goods.

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Also posted in: Sustainability, ERA Ingenuity at Work

Suppliers Partnership for the Environment 2nd Quarterly Meeting - Georgetown, KT.

Posted by Alex Chamberlain

ERA Environmental Management Solutions was delighted to attend the Suppliers Partnership for the Environment 2nd Quarterly Meeting on 27 April, which took place at the Toyota Motor Manufacturing facility in Georgetown, Kentucky. 

ERA has been a contributing members of the Suppliers Partnership (SP) for many years. The SP acts as an innovative industry group, set up to exchange the latest developments in sustainability and efficiency in the North American manufacturing sector. 

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Also posted in: Sustainability, ERA Ingenuity at Work

Earth Day 2017: Enlarge Your Efficiency

Posted by Lorcan Archer

 As part of Earth Day 2017, ERA have put together a illustrative infographic, to illustrate the range of small but mighty measures that can be taken in almost any office or workplace to conserve resources. 

From starting a composting scheme to cut down on waste, to using LED light bulbs and natural light to reduce energy bills, the right approach can see companies benefit greatly, in both reducing costs and creating a greener and more sustainable workplace.

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Also posted in: Sustainability, Energy Management

Hazardous Air Pollutants List: Potential Addition and Why It Matters

Posted by Lorcan Archer

 In December of 2016, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a draft notice related to approving petition(s) to add a chemical by the name of n-propyl bromide (nPB – also referred to to as 1-bromopropane) to the Hazardous Air Pollutants list.

The HAP list is a key regulatory document. It is a live list of 187 hazardous air pollutants, which the EPA must regulate under the requirements of the Clean Air Act.

The potential addition of a new substance to this list is real regulatory news. There has not been any new addition to the list for over five years. nPB, with uses as an industrial solvent in asphalt production, de-greasing products and synthetic fiber production, has recently been suggested for inclusion on the list - not least due to its carcinogenic properties.

The addition of a new chemical to this list will be of concern to any commercial organizations or businesses that use nPB today. Given the broad number of industrial uses of nPB, the revision of a user’s safety procedures, documentation and reporting processes will be necessary if the chemical is indeed added to the HAP list.         

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Also posted in: EHS Training

Learning Management System and SCORM Benefits

Posted by Lorcan Archer

Nowadays, training and employee certification is essential to many modern businesses in North America.

From oil & gas facilities, to manufacturing units, to painting and coating operations, the need to stay on top of training is vital. From handling hazardous waste to basic first aid, every enterprise regularly relies on individual employees having the right training and expertise for the task at hand.

From a Health & Safety perspective, employers face the real risk of compliance violation whenever a health & safety related incident occurs. The penalties can be even worse if a regulator such as the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) identifies a gap in training as the root cause.

A popular solution to meet this need is to employ a Learning Management System (LMS), which can centrally administer training and certification processes. LMS Training is now an established practice in many modern businesses in the US and Canada.

An ideal LMS administers training, integrates with existing training modules, and can track and indicate when training is required. This symbiotic identification of need, feeding directly into the practical testing and examination, is often facilitated by the versatile SCORM data format – taking the form of a small package (SCORM package) of evaluation and examination data.

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Also posted in: EHS Training