The Federation of Environmental Technologists is hosting its annual environmental conference virtually this year with a series of presentations on Tuesdays and Thursdays – October 20, 22, 27, and 29. SCS is a conference sponsor.
The conference will feature 24 sessions over four afternoons, as well as a variety of exhibitors.
SCS Engineers professional Cheryl Moran will present at Session 17 (2:30 – 3:30, Tuesday, October 27) on Chemical Safety: The Interaction of E, H, and S. She will provide chemical safety requirements from OSHA, EPA, DOT, and DHS, along with case studies examining several chemical accidents.
The PPE Donation Directory is a comprehensive national directory of healthcare facilities in need of the personal protective equipment to help protect healthcare workers during the COVID-19 crisis. This is a volunteer project developed by TESSA’s President Kevin Callen and several companies in Virginia. TESSA’s experience in developing software to support national crisis response has informed and inspired their PPE Donations Directory Project.
The PPE Donation Directory relies on volunteers to search the Internet and add new Donation Centers. You can lead the charge in your state by adding all locations in need of PPE.
If you know of a healthcare facility in need of PPE, let us know so we can add it to the PPE Donations Directory. Contact us at https://www.ppedonation.com/contact/
Visit the PPE Donation website to learn more and share this resource with your friends, colleagues, and family.
Thank you, from your friends at SCS Engineers.
During this COVID-19 outbreak, many employers, property managers, and property owners are tirelessly working to maintain clean and safe environments for tenants and employees. Cleaning contractors and janitorial services are working overtime, expending considerable efforts trying to maintain clean and disinfected workspaces and buildings. While providing their services, they face continual challenges of not having enough information regarding COVID-19 behavior, and the dwindling supply of cleaning and disinfecting agents. Many have inquired about microbial sampling and analytical methodologies to evaluate the effectiveness of these cleaning measures.
Some of us have been here before. Twenty years ago, property managers and tenants faced similar challenges in the wake of anthrax contamination of mailrooms in several prominent buildings. The approach we took then—collecting wipe samples from areas of concern for analysis at a nationally-recognized specialty laboratory—can offer peace of mind and an empirical basis for the evaluation of cleaning/disinfection effectiveness.
While specific testing for viruses, including the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), is not generally available, it is possible to test environments and surfaces for the presence of surrogate clinical pathogens and bacteria—these should be absent if cleaning and disinfection are effective.
Every building, tenant space, and office work environment is unique, and therefore it is important to develop site-specific plans. Staff collecting the samples should be trained in hazardous incident response, including microbiological and chemical impacts on structures and the environment, and should have the proper personal protective equipment (somewhat scarce at present in many locations).
About SCS Engineers
SCS Engineers is a 50-year-old, employee-owned environmental consulting and contracting firm that designs and implements sustainable and innovative environmental solutions. With 70 offices nationwide and nearly 1,000 employees, we are a full-service provider in the solid waste, hazardous waste, and environmental engineering industries. We study challenges and design solutions; we remediate, build and operate environmental and energy projects and systems; and, we evaluate the public health risk of hazardous materials exposure scenarios. As technologies, industry, and public needs change and expand, SCS evolves to provide innovative solutions to our clients’ challenges.
Most states’ guidance considers SCS’s services as essential to protect public health.
Contact SCS today at 800-767-4727 or for additional information and consultation regarding the effectiveness of cleaning/disinfection at your properties and workspaces in your state. Further information about SCS is on our website at https://www.scsengineers.com/.
Both associations are providing guidance, as many waste management activities must continue. SCS is following association advice, state protocols, and our clients’ recommendations in our own procedures as we continue to perform essential work. We share the SWANA resources and recommendations here and thank them for their dedication. SCS employees should use SCS resources available on the SCS intranet and through our Health & Safety protocol, which reflect the safety precautions advised here.
Reprinted Letter to SWANA Members dated March 23, 2020
As communities and companies throughout the United States and Canada respond to the Coronavirus pandemic, SWANA will continue to provide assistance to its members and the waste industry.
A growing number of states and localities are issuing orders identifying certain industries as “essential” during the pandemic, and these orders typically include the solid waste industry and other categories of employees who may be SWANA members. In those locations, employees and contractors may need to demonstrate proof to law enforcement personnel or others that they work in an essential industry. See this template letter that employers can customize to their needs and provide to employees and contractors. The letter should be on agency/company letterhead and include a contact person and a telephone number to call. The contact person should be familiar with the applicable emergency declarations.
Employees and contractors should carry the customized letter with them at all times, and particularly when they are going to or from work. Several waste industry employees in California in their personal vehicles were stopped on their way to work by law enforcement personnel late last week, but fortunately, their employer had created a letter similar to the attached and the employees were able to show that letter and proceed to their places of employment.
This letter is intended to allow workers to demonstrate that they work in a job category identified as an essential service, including solid waste and recycling operations. It should not be used for any other purpose or by employees that are not actively supporting these operations.
In addition, attached is a notification document for solid waste employers and others to place in their work vehicles to demonstrate they are covered by recent emergency order guidance. It cites the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, March 19, 2020 memo that identifies workers engaged in the removal, storage, and disposal of residential and commercial solid waste and hazardous waste as essential infrastructure workers.
NWRA resources are plentiful and include these:
COVID-19 WORK PRACTICES At this time CDC and OSHA are not issuing waste and recycling specific guidelines for the handling of waste and recycling materials related to COVID 19. If this changes, NWRA will alert its members. Use this industry guidance.
COVID-19 RESOURCES Resources and information provided by agencies and organizations.
In light of public concerns related to COVID-19, SCS Engineers has proactive measures and contingency plans in place to protect our employees and our clients, while continuing our work. SCS’s Health & Safety practice, in consultation with our executives, the Centers for Disease Control, and industry associations, endeavors to make the most responsible decisions as circumstances demand.
SCS will post updates here as needed, and is in regular and consistent communication with all employees and with our clients.
Can Computer Technology Enhance Safety and Environmental Protection?
Just when you thought we had gone as far as we could, now there is remote monitoring and control technology. Did you know that you can have live access to monitor equipment and data in real time from your living room? You can see how fast pumps are running or what temperature or flow rate you have at your flare. You can access live video feeds from cameras and actually see inside your flare station or storage area. Notification of unplanned shut downs can be set up. You can be notified on your mobile device when something goes wrong. The technology exists to remotely start flares when they shut down. Imagine eliminating a three-hour drive to restart a flare. Not only do you save time and money, but you avoid a potential environmental impact or fine. This is cool stuff.
Remember, whatever technology you use or plan to use, make it user-friendly. Most people resist change, and the ability to use technology varies among employees. Generation X’s and Millennials tend to understand and use computers and mobile devices more effectively than some Baby Boomers. If you want your technology to work for everyone, take a slow and defined approach to implementing the use of technology. Provide training to explain what the benefits are, and how to do things step by step. Develop written procedures that can be accessed when people become confused or forget how to do things. These measures will help others welcome the introduction of technology in the workplace. Set employees up for success. Identify employees that are well suited to use technology, and consider empowering them to assist others. As technology use grows, develop IT positions to support your efforts.
Technology is continually improving; this is a good thing. Despite these advances, try to monitor the changes you make. Try not to fall victim to continually changing the way things are done. Allow time for people to understand and use the tools they have. Consider user abilities and develop updates that are necessary or enhance your process. Include end user employees in the technology development process. Keep in mind that technology, in most instances, solid waste industry included, should support workers and operations, and not the other way around.
About Michael Knox
For over 30 years, Mr. Knox has participated in projects ranging from clearance of unexploded ordnance (UXO) from military impact ranges to construction and management of waste treatment and disposal facilities. Currently, he performs compliance audits of SCS operations. His experience in environmental safety, construction, and remediation is exceptional in terms of both field and administrative application. He often serves as the primary interface between federal, state, and local regulatory agencies and SCS project teams.
In addition to his work as a compliance auditor, Mr. Knox is a Project Manager in Florida. In this role, his responsibilities include the execution of contracts, plus management oversight and coordination of all field operations; including landfill gas collection systems at numerous landfills.
SCS sustains and improves our organization’sHealth & Safety Program by having a designated Corporate Health & Safety Director. We know H&S is important to you, and to SWANA who recently announced that it will begin collecting safety data from municipalities about collection injuries and accidents.
An organization with a limited budget is nevertheless responsible for the overall technical direction, management, and implementation of a company’s Health & Safety Program. Providing a safe and healthful environment for employees and communities is the core mission of our work. In keeping with the goals of OSHA and the USEPA, SCS makes safety and health expertise affordable to any organization, regardless of size or budget. We have resources available to help you achieve OSHA and USEPA compliance while increasing your productivity, morale, and safety awareness.