Celly Services Inc.

PREVENT A $100,000 CATASTROPHE BY INSTALLING A $500 VALVE/TIMER DEVICE ON YOUR NEW OIL/ATF TANKS

You walk into the shop early in the morning and see a mega oil spill. Material loss and cleanup can cost a bundle not to mention the shop shut down time while the cleanup crew vacuums the shop floor, slurry the lot and undertake the cleanup of the storm sewer. Regulators are breathing down your neck threatening civil and criminal penalties.  
WHAT HAPPENED: The leak source may be attributed to equipment failure as follows:
  • Metering Pump Failed: In one case the metering pump controlled by parts department to regulate the dispensing of oil failed, creating a backpressure that emptied out the entire oil tank on the shop floor and then into the storm sewer.
  • Dispenser Came Off The Hose: The new dispenser and hoses installed did not have a tight fit and on a weekend the dispenser unit came off, resulting in emptying out the oil tank, even though the compressor had been shut off. The oil spill damaged the lot and entered the storm sewer resulting in extensive cleanup and regulatory activity.
  • Pipe Leak: The pipes carrying the oil from the oil tanks to the shop burst resulting in an oil spill. Even though no oil was discharged to the storm sewer, there was significant product loss and cleanup activity not to mention productivity loss as the shop had to be shut down for a few days. 
In each of the cases where oil had spilled to the storm sewer, extensive regulatory enforcement activity followed. Cleanup of the entire lot and service department had to be undertaken as well, along with the cleanup performed on the complete storm sewer system impacted by the oil spill. The price tag, in each of the cases was tens of thousand of dollars! The SPCC Plan prepared by the dealership was also summoned by the federal-EPA and the dealership underwent rigorous questioning.  
WHAT TO DO: The remedial measures to avoid such disasters are straightforward, easy and inexpensive to install compared to the potential for an expensive and troublesome spill.
  1.  A $500 Solenoid Valve With Timer Will Shutoff Air To Dispensers During Non-Shop Hours: (We recommend this option) Place a solenoid valve with a timer in the air-line to the oil tank dispensers. With the help of a preset timer, the valve will automatically shut-off air to dispenser pump during non-shop hours thereby preventing any spills. Leaks or spills in the shop area during shop hours are not an issue as they are detected immediately and addressed by the shop staff in a timely manner. Compressed air required by the detail staff or others will still be available even though air is not available to the dispenser pumps.
  2. Training Employees To Shut Air To Dispensers By Hand Valve Is Not Effective: A hand-operated valve would do the same job as shutting the air with a solenoid valve as discussed above but is prone to human errors. Shop porters or other shop staff will have to be trained and routinely reminded to ensure that they are carrying out the job of shutting air during non-shop hours. A shop porter trained to shut-off valve can be on vacation, call in sick, or simply be terminated resulting in the discontinuation of the air shut off procedure. An automatic valve with in-line timer as discussed above does not have the human limitation. The mechanical device has to be tested for proper operation and serviced on a periodic basis.
  3. Compressors On The Timer: Some dealerships have compressors with a timer to shut them at the end of the work shift. However, there is enough air in the air-storage tank, even after compressor has been shut off, to empty the oil tank of hundreds of gallons when a leak occurs down stream in the hoses, dispenser, or the metering pump. So this procedure is of limited use in preventing spills. To prevent corrosion of the air tank, many companies have an employee drain the air-tank on a daily basis. This procedure faces the same limitations discussed in item # 2 above.
DISCLAIMER: The contents of this newsletter are merely for informational purposes only and are not to be considered as legal advice.  Employers must consult their lawyer for legal matters and EPA/OSHA consultants for matters related to Environmental, Health & Safety. The article was authored by Sam Celly of Celly Services, Inc. who has been helping automobile dealers comply with EPA and OSHA regulations since 1987. Sam received his BE (1984) and MS (1986) in Chemical Engineering, followed by a J.D. from Southwestern University School of Law (1997). Our newsletters can be accessed at www.epaoshablog.com. Your comments/questions are always welcome. Please send them to sam@cellyservices.com.
Advertisements

Heat Stress

Both Cal-OSHA and Fed-OSHA are requiring that employers take affirmative steps to reduce heat stress. This law was enacted in California a few years ago when employers were required to train employees & supervisors for the prevention of heat stress. https://www.dir.ca.gov/title8/3395.html This memo provides you with guidance on the statute and other steps you may take to be in compliance and to protect employee health. Please note that if Cal-OSHA were to inspect you facility, they would require you to show proof of training on heat stress along with other safety documentation!
Background: Workers who are exposed to extreme heat or work in hot environments may be at risk of heat stress. Exposure to extreme heat can result in occupational illness and injuries. Heat stress can result in heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, or heat rashes. Heat can also increase the risk of injuries in workers as it may result in sweaty palms, fogged-up glasses, and dizziness. Burns may also occur as a result of contact with hot surfaces.
Law on Heat Stress: In the state of California, regulations require employers to take affirmative steps for controlling Heat Stress. Generally, for an automobile dealership, high risk of heat stress exists in locations as follows:
  • Sales Staff: When a sales employee walks through the lot with a potential customer, the walk-through the lot would be considered outdoors and hence the standard would apply.
  • Parts Truck Drivers: A parts truck driver works outside the dealership driving around town. The place of work is considered outdoors.
  •  Shop Areas: Shops with marginal ventilation, metal roofs and/or hot engines idling may increase the ambient temperatures and heat stress can become an issue.
Employees Working Indoors: Training on Heat Stress for employees working indoors is being worked out by the regulators in Sacramento.
Other States: In other states where a specific heat illness standard may not exist, the employer’s responsibility for addressing heat related illness’ does not cease. The general duty clause of OSHA requires that an employer provide a safe workplace and abate hazardous conditions. Training employees on Heat Stress should be completed.
Provide Water: One salient requirement of the California Code is that the employer provide one quart of water per hour per employee during the work shift. For parts truck drivers, provide a water cooler with ice at the start of the shift. Last but not least, water fountains or coolers should be readily available at the job site.
Poster: STOPPING FOR WATER KEEPS YOU GOING poster from the OSHA website can be downloaded and posted on your employee notice board. http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/osha_heat_poster_en.pdf
Start A Conversation At 80˚ F: The dealership management should start a conversation with the employees regarding the impact of hot ambient temperatures and the means to alleviate the effects of heat. Some ideas are as follows:
  • Install a Thermometer: An 18 inch or bigger thermometer in the shop area. May even install one in the break room indicating the temperature outside. This will send a reminder to employees regarding being vigilant to the increase in temperature. Taylor Precision sells patio thermometers for $25.
  • Drink Water: Remind employees to drink water and stay hydrated. You may even blend Gatorade type drinks for employees with ice in the cooler, preferably during the hotter times of the day.
  • Get the OSHA App For Your Cell Phone: OSHA has developed an app “OSHA-NIOSH HEAT SAFETY TOOL”. Employee can download the app on their phone and get the local Heat Index, Hourly Heat Index, Symptoms of Heat Stroke, First Aid for Heat Stroke and other safety tips.
  • Defog Your Glasses: The high heat will induce sweat that will fog up the safety glasses. Keep your safety glasses clean and spray defogger solution on the lenses. Lenses with high performance anti-fog coating are also available.
  • High Blood Pressure and Diabetics: The heat impacts persons with diabetes or high blood pressure in a severe manner. Employee with those ailments should take extra precaution in the hot summer months.
Training Guidance
Employee training is required for employees as follows:
  1. The environmental and personal risk factors for heat illness.
  2. The employer’s procedure for complying with the requirements of this standard.
  3. The importance of frequent consumption of small quantities of water
  4. The importance of acclimatization.
  5. The different types or heat illness and the common signs and symptoms of heat illness.
  6. The importance of immediately reporting to the employer, directly or through the employee’s supervisor symptoms of heat illness in themselves, or in coworkers.
  7. The employer’s procedures for responding to symptoms of possible heat illness, including how emergency medical services will be provided should they become necessary.
  8. Procedures for contacting emergency medical services, and if necessary, for transporting employees to a point where they can be reached by an emergency medical service provider.
  9. How to provide clear and precise directions to the work site.
Training should be completed ASAP and employee acknowledgment should be retained in files.
DISCLAIMER: The contents of this newsletter are merely for informational purposes only and are not to be considered as legal advice.  Employers must consult their lawyer for legal matters and EPA/OSHA consultants for matters related to Environmental, Health & Safety. The article was authored by Sam Celly of Celly Services, Inc. who has been helping automobile dealers comply with EPA and OSHA regulations since 1987. Sam received his BE (1984) and MS (1986) in Chemical Engineering, followed by a J.D. from Southwestern University School of Law (1997). Our newsletters can be accessed at www.epaoshablog.com. Your comments/questions are always welcome. Please send them to sam@cellyservices.com.

Top 10 OSHA Citations of 2018

The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has released a list of the 10 most frequently cited safety and health violations for the fiscal year of 2018; compiled from thousands of inspections of workplaces by federal OSHA staff. For the fiscal year (FY) of 2017, Federal OSHA and States with their own OSHA plans completed close to 76,000 workplace safety inspections.

The top 10 violations accounted for an estimated total of 32,266 violations, based on preliminary data for FY 2018 as noted by OSHA’s Deputy Director of the Directorate of Enforcement Programs. One remarkable thing about the list is that it rarely changes. Year after year, thousands of the same on-the-job hazards are cited, any one of which could result in a fatality or severe injury.

In 2016, 5,190 workers were killed on the job (3.6 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers) — on average, more than 99 a week or more than 14 deaths every day bls.gov. This is despite the fact that by law, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their workers. If all employers simply corrected the top 10 hazards, we are confident the number of deaths, amputations, and hospitalizations would drastically decline. Consider this list a starting point for workplace safety:

  1. Fall Protection – 7,720 violations: Falls, primarily from ladders and roofs, accounted for 384 fatalities in 2016. Any time a worker is at a height of 4 feet or more (30 inches or more in CA), the worker is at risk and needs to be protected.
  2. Hazard Communication – 4,552 violations: Employers are required to provide a written Hazard Communication Program, label hazardous chemicals, provide a Safety Data Sheet for each chemical, and document employee training.
  3. Scaffolding – 3,336 violations: Primarily applicable to the construction industry.
  4. Respiratory Protection – 3,118 violations: Body shop employees need specific training on policies (written) and practices involving the use of respirators during auto refinishing operations. Training on respiratory protection, fit testing, user seal check, and respiratory cleaning procedures are mandatory, and so is the OSHA Respirator Medical Evaluation Questionnaire. When an employee wears a respirator, even when it is not required under the regulation, information on proper usage, including limitations, must still be provided.
  5. Lockout/Tagout – 2,944 violations: Specific procedures and practices safeguard employees from the unexpected energization or startup of machinery and equipment. A written program and employee training is mandatory (annually). Employees working on automobiles must comply by isolating energy to the engine to prevent inadvertent movement during repair or service. A lockout kit including locks should be available.
  6. Ladders – 2,812 violations: Limit ladder use to trained and experienced staff only. Lock ladders with a chain to prevent usage by untrained staff.
  7. Powered Industrial Trucks (Forklifts) – 2,294 violations: The high number of fatalities associated with forklifts and high number of violations associated with powered industrial truck safety tell us that many workers are not properly trained to safely drive potentially hazardous equipment. OSHA compliance requires training in these specific activities: forklift operations, loading and unloading, and vehicle maintenance. Evaluating an operator every three years is also mandatory.
  8. Fall Protection Training Requirements – 1,982 violations: This moved up a notch from the 2017 number 9 spot. Dealerships watch out for employees working on parts second floor while loading or unloading parts.
  9. Machine Guarding – 1,972 violations: Moving machine parts have the potential to cause severe workplace injuries, such as crushed fingers or hands, amputations, burns, or blindness. Safeguards, including anchoring machinery, are essential for protecting workers from these preventable injuries. Any machine part, function, or process that may cause injury must be safeguarded. When the operation of a machine or accidental contact with the machine may injure the operator or others in the vicinity, hazards must be eliminated or controlled. Moving parts in automobiles, grinders, and brake lathes are all subject to this regulation.
  10. Eye & Face Protection – 1,536 violations: A brand new entry to the top 10 list. Essentially reinforce your Person protective Equipment (PPE) policy and ensure all your employee wear eye and face protection as necessary.

 

CAL/OSHA (DOSH): Certain notable violations for general industry in California for 2010-2016 can be found here. DOSH proposed total penalties of $59 million in 2017 rising from $54.5 million in 2016.

OSHA PENALTIES

Federal OSHA Penalties: OSHA penalties which had not earlier kept up with inflation are now being adjusted with rate of inflation. The adjusted penalties for 2018 are as follows:

Type of Violation Penalty
 

General

 

$750 per violation

 

Serious

 

$12,934 per violation

 

Failure to Abate

 

$12,934 per day beyond abatement date

 

Willful or Repeated

 

$129,336 per violation

 

Criminal

(willful violation causes employee death)

 

$250,000 for individual

6 months prison

$500,000 for corporation

Celly Services is available to audit your facility for compliance with OSHA standards as applicable to the dealership. Please call us at (562) 704-4000 or email Sam at sam@cellyservices.com.

DISCLAIMER: The contents of this newsletter are merely for informational purposes only and not to be considered as legal advice. Employers must consult their lawyer for legal matters and safety consultants for matters related to safety. The article was authored by Sam Celly of Celly Services, Inc. who has been helping automobile dealers comply with EPA & OSHA regulations since 1987. Sam received his BE (1984) and MS (1986) in Chemical Engineering followed by a J.D. from Southwestern University School of Law (1997). Our newsletters can be accessed at http://www.epaoshablog.com. Your comments/questions are always welcome. Please send them to sam@cellyservices.com.

SCAQMD Throughput Reporting Requirements, January 2016

SCAQMD RULE: ANNUAL REPORTING OF GASOLINE USAGE (AST AND UST)

All dealerships with aboveground storage tanks (AST) and/or underground storage tanks (UST) must report monthly throughput data for each month of 2015 to the SCAMQD by fax to (909) 396-3761.  Deadline for reporting is March 1, 2016.  Click here for the form.

Continue reading

Changes to CA Environmental Regulations & OSHA Penalties, December 2015

CAL-EPA REGULATIONS EFFECTIVE 1/1/16

90-Day Storage Limit:  Automobile dealerships generating more than 1,000 kg of hazardous waste per month must  dispose of hazardous waste within 90 days (otherwise the facility must obtain a storage permit, an arduous process).  Almost all dealerships generate more than 1,000 kg (about 300 gallons) of used oil and used coolant per month and hence, must limit storage to 90 days.  In the past, local enforcement agencies excluded used oil from these calculations so all dealers fell below the 1,000 kg/mo. level.  The new law, SB 612, clarifies the fact that all hazardous waste generated at the facility are counted towards the 1,000 kg/mo. calculation.  For facilities generating less than 1,000 kg/mo. of hazardous waste (Federal Term: Small Quantity Generator), the maximum accumulation time is 180 days or 270 days if the waste must be transported more than 200 miles for treatment and disposal.

In summary, each hazardous waste storage container must have a proper date of accumulation marked on each container along with EPA required waste labeling and secondary containment requirements.  The waste must be disposed of within 90 days of the start date.  Almost all facilities have used oil pickup on a 30-day or more frequent cycle.  However, other smaller waste streams, such as used coolant or contaminated fuel, are not on the radar screen.  Dealers must ensure that these wastes are now on a 90-day pickup cycle through a licensed and registered hazardous waste hauler.  Contact your hauler to set up a required pickup schedule immediately.

Continue reading

Foot Protection Requirements, October 2015

BACKGROUND: Safety inspections of the shop, parts, and car wash area have revealed that many employees are not wearing appropriate footwear that will protect them from foot injuries caused by crushing or falling objects, such as a rotor or a battery.  Penetrating actions may happen from a sharp object left on the shop floor. Also, footwear in the shop area must be slip resistant when employees are working on slippery surfaces, since slip hazards are common due to accidental spills of lubricants in the shop.  The porters in car wash are also subject to slip and fall hazards created by water and/or soap on the floor, and as such, their shoes must provide traction.

Continue reading

Workers’ Compensation, Experience-Modifier, and How Litigation is Adding to Our Claims, August 2015

Introduction:  Workers’ Compensation (WC) insurance costs to the dealership are increasing more than other costs and much faster than inflation.  In this newsletter, we explain:

  • How WC Insurance Premium is calculated based on payroll
  • How manual premium rates are based on risks of the worker, e.g., the office worker has a lower manual rate compared to an auto service technician due to hazards on the job
  • How employers with greater injury rates have a higher Experience Modifier (ex-mod)
  • How a higher ex-mod results in higher premiums
  • How WC rates have climbed over the years
  • How Medical Indemnity has more than doubled over 15 years
  • How Allocated Loss Adjustment Expense (ALAE) per Indemnity Claim has tripled over 15 years

Continue reading