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Era Environmental
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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!

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

Sub Part W: Realigning to Ease GHG Reporting – Part 2

Posted by Lorcan Archer

This is the second of two blog posts that will take a close look at new changes to Sub Part W reporting, which are set to swing into place over 2017. 

As we have previously explored, 2017 will see this important realignment amongst Oil & Gas operators. This shift primarily will concern production, transfer and storage locations that are engaged in New Source Performance Standard OOOO (Quad O) and/or OOOOa (Quad Oa) reporting, as per US regulations.

The change revolves around how the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reporting program’s Sub Part W requirements are set to aligned with the existing NSPS Quad O and Quad Oa reporting processes.

This year, data inputs utilized in Sub Part W reporting will reflect those from the existing NSPS Quad O/Oa reporting processes.

This represents a considerable streamlining of data processing for all facilities engaged with this reporting.

The purpose of this article is to examine exactly which segments of the oil & gas industry will be affected, as well as highlighting some of the best ways in which your facility can demonstrate compliance. 

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Also posted in: GHG

Sub Part W: Realigning to Ease GHG Reporting – Part 1

Posted by Lorcan Archer

This is the first of two blog posts that will explore recent changes to Sub Part W reporting, which are set to take place in 2017.

2017 will see an important realignment amongst Oil & Gas operators. This will concern facilities that are engaged in New Source Performance Standard OOOO (Quad O) and/or OOOOa (Quad Oa) reporting in the United States.

The change revolves around how the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reporting program’s Sub Part W requirements are set to be brought in line with the existing NSPS Quad O and Quad Oa reporting processes.

As of 2017, the data utilized in Sub Part W reporting will reflect those from the existing NSPS Quad O/Oa reporting processes.

This represents a considerable streamlining of data processing, which will affect all those facilties engaged with this kind of reporting. 

This article will attempt to explore the nature of this regulatory change, illustrating the legislative background to these key adjustments.

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Also posted in: GHG

The Top 5 EH&S Lessons We Learned in 2016

Posted by Lorcan Archer

It’s often said that hindsight is 20/20, and that’s certainly the case for businesses. A successful company is often capable of identifying and learning from mistakes, as well as capitalizing on industry trends. The way point that is the end of the year gives us a perfect opportunity to do both.

Here at ERA, we’ve been taking a look at some of the developments across the EH&S sector in 2016.

We’ve identified some key influencing events and industry trends that will better inform your business as to the state of the sector, where current regulatory authorities are headed, and how you can ensure you stay ahead of the curve in 2017.

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Also posted in: Sustainability

Swinging into Action - How a Properly Authored SDS Delivers

Posted by Lorcan Archer

Looking beyond the importance of regulations and training exercises, the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) is the document that you turn to when things go wrong at your facility.

The purpose of the document is to provide a summary of information related to the hazards posed by a product, as well as advice on safety precautions. This means that it is the SDS that you reach for when a there is a spill or leak incident, an unintended chemical reaction, or if a fire breaks out. These situations can range across every possibility, but if there’s one document you can turn to – it should be your SDS.

This article will attempt to outline how a properly authored SDS can go a long way to meeting your most pressing needs in an emergency scenario.  

No facility or company wants to go down the path of a major incident, and to confront the human and financial cost that such an incident can cause.  A comprehensively authored SDS will allow this to sort of situation to be nipped in the bud. 

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Also posted in: SDS Authoring, GHS

SDS Automation - How to Meet Your Deadlines

Posted by Lorcan Archer

Automation is a buzzword that’s been in constant use across numerous industries in recent years, especially in manufacturing. It’s being discussed as a technology that will continue to revolutionize our economies by introducing reliable computer-based solutions for repetitive tasks.

In the context of Safety Data Sheet (SDS) Authoring for hazardous goods and chemicals, automation refers to software rapidly carrying out the completion of logic processes required for creating SDSs. This largely consists of cutting out any aspect of redundancy and logically resolving decisions within the authoring process. Correctly implemented, this will deliver an error-free document more rapidly and efficiently.

Automation’s application to SDS Authoring in the form of smarter software is already a proven benefit to many companies. It saves time, money, and is more accurate due to the elimination of human errors.

This article will outline the business benefits that automating SDS authoring can deliver at your business. You might be surprised at the number of areas where positive changes can be observed.

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Also posted in: SDS Authoring, GHS

Life Cycle of an SDS - Smoothing Your Pain Points

Posted by Lorcan Archer

The production of a document that’s as key as a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) can be a complex affair.

In order to satisfy its function, an SDS needs to satisfy a range of requirements: from accurate, GHS-compliant hazard communication, to clearly understandable content and language, and the correct procedures to implement in the case of a spill or human exposure.

Part of the challenge of the production of a sufficiently well-written SDS is that it involves a degree of collaboration between the supplier who will have produced the substance or mixture, and the company using, storing or otherwise employing the substance. The specificity of the chemicals directly correspond to the safety measures that need to be taken, and as such, directly affect the accuracy of the SDS document.

This article will attempt to outline the specific challenges, or pain-points, that should be taken into account when producing an SDS, as well as suggesting practical ways in which to overcome these challenges. 

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Also posted in: SDS Authoring, GHS

No Magic Solution – How GHS Adoption Won’t Solve All Your SDS Authoring Issues

Posted by Lorcan Archer

Manufacturers and producers in both the United States and Canada will, by now, be well aware of the standardization in hazard communication that the newly adopted Globally Harmonized System (GHS) pushes. 

As a set of hazardous symbols and warnings, it will bring the hazardous materials documentation of an increasing number of countries broadly into line with each other. 

However, the operative word here is “broadly”. The intent of the GHS is to act as a unified way of indicating hazardous symbols, but it does not act as a comprehensive system to regulate all aspects of risk management.

This means that a company that moves towards an SDS Authoring solution that is GHS-compliant will have made a strong move towards regulatory compliance. It does not mean that company will have satisfied all aspects required of them in their safety documentation, especially if they have only carried out a “once-off” realignment.

To further explore the grey areas where threats to your overall compliance still remain, this article will examine the various challenges that can undermine your efforts to stay in line.

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Also posted in: SDS Authoring, GHS