At least with health & safety compliance, you really only have to worry about a single agency, OSHA. Unfortunately, that’s not the case on the environmental & hazardous materials compliance side, where we can lump each of the following local, state and federal regulatory agencies into the mix:
EPA: Federal Environmental Protection Agency
TCEQ: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
DOT: Federal Department of Transportation
Texas Depart of Public Health
Local Fire Department
Local Town or City
While most of these agencies focus on Texas environmental regulations, some of them manage hazardous materials regulations.
These agencies mandate a range of requirements that Texas companies must manage, including:
Reporting & tracking
Record Keeping and Documentation
The list goes on and on, and the laws can change at any time. It’s no wonder that small Texas manufacturers struggle to make sense of it all, let alone meet and manage them on a consistent basis.
Given these challenges, let’s dive deeper into the consequences of failing to meet these requirements. Each agency has it’s own unique set of options in their enforcement toolbox, including:
Not capped and can run into the millions
Calculations made based upon:
Time period out of compliance (i.e.: $x per DAY x # of days out of compliance)
“Economic Benefit” (i.e: how much $ did the offending company save by not being in compliance for the entire period of time out of compliance)
Enhanced scrutiny and requirements
Cease or suspension of activities until violation abated
Extensive engineering/plant modifications
The most common issues during environmental compliance assessments for your sector are as follows:
Satellite accumulation area (SAA) and main accumulation area (MAA) maintenance and training not current
Lack of up-to-date chemical inventories and SDS
Storm water training/inspections/sampling out of date or not completed
DOT and RCRA training for employees signing chemical waste manifests outdated
So you’re wondering how to start a workplace safety program at your company and not sure where to begin?
Building an effective health and safety program for the first time is a major undertaking, so it’s important to gain some perspective and understanding of the basic requirements and challenges you’re likely to face along the way, so we’ve created this WhitePaper in hopes of helping you do just that!
Think of this as an “Introduction to OSHA Compliance 101.”
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.
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
OSHA enforcement inspections, investigations and resolution in following industries: industrial services, manufacturing & construction.
TCEQ enforcement inspections, investigations and resolution in manufacturing.