ENFORCEMENT OF HAZARDOUS WASTE DISPOSAL REGULATIONS: Reportedly, local inspectors (Environmental Compliance Officers) have gone into dumpsters at auto service facilities to determine the occurrence of illegal waste disposal. They have cited heavy fines for violations when hazardous waste and universal waste are found in the dumpster. Alameda and Santa Clara counties sued an auto dealership chain and recently obtained a settlement of $3.38 million. See link.
LOG 300, 300A & 301 REQUIRED FOR AUTO DEALERS
Background: Cal/OSHA now requires auto dealers and other employers to keep a record of occupational injuries and illnesses using OSHA Log 300. We note that Fed-OSHA had issued these requirements to auto dealers in 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.
OSHA INJURY LOG REQUIREMENTS
LOG 300, 300A & 301 REQUIRED FOR AUTO DEALERS
Background: Prior to January 1, 2002 Cal/OSHA required auto dealers and other employers to keep an injury log known as OSHA Log 200. Starting January 1, 2002, Fed-OSHA enacted Log 300, replacing the Log 200, but kept auto dealers exempt. Good news was that California joined the Feds on 1/1/2002 and kept auto dealers exempt from logging requirements, as stated here.
California regulations require that all underground Gasoline Dispenser Facilities (GDF) be equipped with Phase II vapor recovery systems that have been certified as compatible for fueling vehicles (think hoses) equipped with Onboard Refueling Vapor Recovery (ORVR) systems. So how do you know your GDF needs upgrades? Just give your designated operator or gasoline tank contractor a call and hopefully he/she will have an answer. The deadline for compliance is March 1, 2006.
Investigate Accidents: Save Money & Fight Fraud
A prompt, accurate and thoughtful accident investigation can, simply stated, save money and fight fraud. First, it is state law that mandates that an employer investigate each accident and take corrective measures to prevent repetition of accidents. Secondly, a written investigation report can be reviewed by senior management or the safety committee to undertake steps that would prevent such accidents in the future. Last and not the least, such reports can be useful ammo in fighting the 3F–Fictitious, Fraudulent or Frivolous claims. In summary, as an employer, it is your duty to provide a safe workplace and also to ensure that any worker’s compensation claim is legitimate and preventable in the future.
What’s Up 40%?
You think it’s your energy bills, wish it was your sales, but actually, it is your workers’ compensation insurance! Last year workers’ compensation premiums increased about 40% and this year it is expected to be up 30%. California amended its workers’ compensation law in 1995 to provide a more competitive field for insurance companies, thereby reducing the premiums for employers. In 1995, the law that required employers to pay workers’ compensation insurance was modified to an open rating system from a rate fixed by the state. The 1995 regulations sparked a price war amongst insurance companies much to the delight of employers. However, the premiums that went down about 50% in the year following the deregulation are up about 8% from the pre-deregulation days.
Insurance companies have reportedly increased the premiums to cover up their losses. Last year they lost about $3 billion in California alone. To make matters worse, some of them went belly-up or left the business in the state to minimize their exposure. For example, the second largest writer of workers’ compensation insurance in California, Fremont General Corp., is now under voluntary state supervision for its poor financial condition. Another reason was that when the stock market headed south, many insurance companies that had their fortunes tied up in the market got pummeled.