Hazardous Materials Civil Penalties Increased

Hazardous Materials Civil Penalties Increased

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) announced last week significant increases in civil penalties for hazardous materials violations as follows:

 

  • The max fine for a violations having to do with hazardous materials transportation increased from $79,976 to $81,993 per day, per violation.
  • For a violation that results in death, serious illness, severe injury, or substantial property damage, the civil penalty rose from $186,610 to $191,316.
  • The minimum penalty for a hazmat training violation went up $12 to $493 per employee, per day.

It’s important to note that many of these fines are PER DAY, PER VIOLATION, which can be catastrophic especially for small companies.

Many companies routinely violate DOT Hazardous Materials laws, especially training requirements.

Any company who ships any hazardous materials must train their impacted employees how to complete shipping documents, properly label, etc, a minimum of every 3 years.

This includes hazardous waste, paint, chemicals, gases, etc.

These training laws apply for ANY QUANTITY SHIPPED, EVEN A SINGLE SHIPMENT PER YEAR!

Have Questions About Hazardous Materials Compliance and/or Training?

Call 512-457-0374 or CLICK HERE for help

 

 

By |2020-05-05T17:38:22-05:00August 15th, 2019|Good To Know, Hazardous Waste Management, Texas Environmental Regulations, Texas Hazardous Materials Regulations|Comments Off on Hazardous Materials Civil Penalties Increased

About the Author:

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.