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About Russell Carr

How A Sales Guy Transformed Into An Environmental, Health & Safety Expert & Advocate For Small Businesses

I've spent my entire 30+ year career working within the manufacturing and “industrial services” sectors.

The first 15 years of my career focused on sales of hazardous materials related products and services to the manufacturing sector, then for the last 16+ years transitioned into entrepreneurship, founding 3 small industrial services related contracting businesses. As you’ll see below, running these companies eventually lead me to found yet a 4th business, but more on that in a minute….

Here’s a brief description of the first 3 companies:

  • Berg Environmental Services, Inc.: hazardous waste disposal & transportation services, founded in August of 2003
  • 3rd party wind energy operations & maintenance services provider to utility scale wind farms throughout the US, founded in September 2007
  • 3rd party oil & gas exploration & production services provider, founded in August of 2011

Each of these companies operated in extremely dangerous working conditions and exposed my employees to a wide range of serious health & safety hazards on a daily basis.

To complicate matters, 2 of the companies also exposed the environment to significant potential harm.

In other words, I learned very early the critical importance of managing environmental, health and safety issues so as to ensure the safety of our employees and the environment, as well as minimizing related risks.

But I also learned how incredibly difficult and challenging this endeavor can be due to the wide range of complicated and continually changing environmental, health and safety rules and regulations that impacted the companies.

To summarize the challenges: First I had to determine which regulations applied to each company, then I had to build compliance programs to meet those regulations, and finally I had to ensure that the programs were being managed and followed by our staff on a daily basis.

All while trying to run and grow 3 profitable businesses….

It was overwhelming and I always struggled to keep up.

To make matters worse, throughout this time I also witnessed the devastating price that companies, management and ownership can pay for failing to manage EHS compliance.

This included seeing one of my hazardous waste management clients get sent to jail over environmental issues, another client’s management team threatened with jail time, a direct competitor get fined $378,000 by OSHA fine after an employee was nearly killed, and many others face major fines and penalties.

Full disclosure, one of my companies got fined by OSHA at one point, & another was cited by TCEQ, so I know how it feels.

In summary, I learned first hand how incredibly difficult it is for small companies to manage EHS compliance due to a common lack of the critical expertise, time and resources that are needed to keep up, and how this situation then ends up exposing them to these potentially catastrophic risks that can literally destroy lives and businesses.

This later inspired me to found my 4th company, Berg Compliance Solutions in 2012, which is dedicated to helping other small businesses, and business owners, to manage EHS compliance and risk.

Education

  • BA, Philosophy, University of Colorado, Boulder, December, 1990.

Summary of Professional Experience & Qualifications:

  • 30+ years serving the manufacturing & industrial services sectors
  • 30+ years of sales and marketing experience
  • 16+ years as small business owner & entrepreneur: Founded and operated 4 small businesses since 2003.

Environmental, Health & Safety Compliance & Program Related:

  • 19 plus years of hazardous waste management including EPA, TCEQ & RCRA regulations
  • 8 years of DOT/FMCSA compliance experience, including hazardous materials transportation
  • 8 years of combined experience implementing and managing OSHA health and safety compliance programs for 2 high risk energy services businesses
  • Successfully implemented and gained ISO 9001 Quality Management Certification and OHSAS 18001 (Occupational Health & Safety Advisory Service) Certification for wind energy maintenance business.

Regulatory Enforcement Related Experience:

  • Served as expert witness in criminal environmental compliance enforcement cases
  • Superfund-CERCLA
  • OSHA enforcement inspections, investigations and resolution in following industries: industrial services, manufacturing & construction.
  • TCEQ enforcement inspections, investigations and resolution in manufacturing.

OSHA Inspection Video

OSHA recently issued a short 5 minute video which summarized the OSHA inspection and enforcement process. Here's a summary of what the video covers: The purpose and importance of OSHA enforcement What can trigger an OSHA inspection:  This includes employee complaints, hospitalizations, fatalities, referrals and more. OSHA enforcement officer credentials The inspection process: From opening conference, to walk around, to typical questions they will ask of employees and management, facility inspection to closing conference Reporting of potential violations and review [...]

OSHA Increases Fines Again

In order to adjust for inflation, OSHA has increased their fine schedule for 2020 as follows: Serious and Other Than Serious: Raised from $13,260 to $13,494 per violation Failure To Abate:  $13,494 per day beyond abatement date Willful or Repeat: Raised from $132,598 to $134,937 per violation

By |2020-01-17T09:34:19-05:00January 17th, 2020|Good To Know|Comments Off on OSHA Increases Fines Again

Think Twice Before Hiring A Safety Manager

Are you considering hiring an internal environmental, health and safety compliance manager for your company? If you've never done this before, you might want to think twice about the decision and here's why: Here are some of the most common challenges facing small companies when trying to recruit and hire an internal EHS compliance manager: Recruiting: During recruiting process, it's very difficult to properly vet a candidate's experience & qualifications unless you have lots of experience doing this. Management: It's [...]

Don’t Get This OSHA Letter in 2020

Last summer I received a call from the owner of a small Texas manufacturer who got inspected by OSHA and had just received the this letter: It was a 24 point laundry list of virtually all OSHA standards that apply to a typical manufacturer, and the company was in violation of all of them. The owner was in a state of panic and didn’t know what to do, and unfortunately I was the one who had to tell them it [...]

By |2020-01-07T11:01:39-05:00January 7th, 2020|OSHA Texas Laws & Regulations, Safety Training, Texas OSHA Compliance|Comments Off on Don’t Get This OSHA Letter in 2020

Business Owner Sentenced To 2 Years In Jail After Fatalities

A Boston area court sentenced Kivin Otto, owner of Atlantic Drain Services Company, Inc., to 2 years in prison after a trench collapse in 2016 resulted in the tragic deaths of two employees. Otto was convicted of two counts of manslaughter, and other charges, including witness intimidation after Otto tried to interfere with the OSHA investigation. The local OSHA representative stated: "Employers that display willful disregard for employee safety and/or obstruct, mislead or otherwise interfere with an OSHA inspection will [...]

By |2019-12-24T11:08:06-05:00December 24th, 2019|Good To Know, Government Regulation, OSHA Texas Laws & Regulations, Safety Training, Texas OSHA Compliance|Comments Off on Business Owner Sentenced To 2 Years In Jail After Fatalities

What Happens To Business Owners Who Don’t Pay OSHA Fines?

OSHA answered this question in a press release issued this week:  They will come after the offender until they collect, plus penalties!Just ask Vasilios Saitis, owner of Altor, Inc. a construction company in New Jersey who was found in contempt of court, and was not only forced to pay the original $412,000 OSHA fine for multiple safety violations, but also $30,000 in penalties, not to mention all of the legal fees that accrued during extensive litigation.This statement summarizes the case:“This [...]

By |2019-12-11T13:41:52-05:00December 4th, 2019|Government Regulation, OSHA Texas Laws & Regulations, Safety Training, Texas OSHA Compliance|Comments Off on What Happens To Business Owners Who Don’t Pay OSHA Fines?
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