Both state and federal laws govern hazardous waste facilities. Facilities that are not following applicable laws can be penalized. Review simple ways to avoid common hazardous waste violations.
Hazardous waste areas must be inspected weekly, and you must maintain logs of these inspections to provide proof.
To remain consistent, inspect hazardous waste facilities on the same day each week so you don’t forget. Select a backup inspector who can do the task when the primary inspector is out of the office.
- Contingency Plan
All hazardous waste generators are required by law to have a contingency plan, which reduces health and environmental hazards by centralizing key information. Your contingency plan should list out:
- emergency coordinators
- emergency equipment
- emergency procedures
- details that show how and why the plan was created
- Closed Containers
By law, all hazardous waste containers must be closed when your employees are not adding or removing material.
To enforce compliance, make sure the employees know how to close containers. Then check during weekly inspections to make sure everyone is closing containers properly.
- Insufficient Aisle Space
Laws state that hazardous waste facilities must preserve unobstructed movement of employees and free access to the exit in case of emergency.
Make sure storage areas are not so cluttered that staff cannot move down the aisle toward the exit in case of an emergency.
Check that all emergency equipment is accessible so employees can get to it if something goes wrong.
- Satellite Accumulation Areas
There are times when your facility has more hazardous waste than it can store without blocking the aisles. In this case, you may use a satellite accumulation area for the overflow.
All waste stored in one of these areas must be clearly marked as “hazardous waste” on the outside of the container.
When containers are full, they should be dated, since laws mandate that full containers of hazardous waste cannot remain in a satellite accumulation area for more than 72 hours.
Some hazardous waste generators do not take waste stored in these areas into account toward their total stored waste, which is a mistake. You must account for all waste at your facility and make sure you do not exceed the maximum regulated amounts for hazardous waste anywhere onsite.
These tips will help you avoid many common problems, yet this is not a complete list.