Environmental Services at Healthcare Facilities

At Protect Environmental, we understand that each healthcare facility is unique and has its own set of challenges.  Each facility treats different patients and will have environmental needs related to the care it provides.  Our goal is to reduce our clients’ liability and risk by providing comprehensive waste disposal, decontamination and emergency response services.  We’ve offered our expertise and reliable services to clients since 1996, and during that time have helped numerous healthcare facilities ranging from small clinics to large hospitals.

Our staff can assess your disposal needs and find solutions that best fit your schedule and budget. Whether you have bio-hazardous waste, pharmaceuticals, RCRA hazardous waste, or universal wastes such as light bulbs and paint, Protect Environmental can find a disposal facility and arrange pickup scheduling.  All the wastes handled by Protect Environmental are properly packaged and transported to licensed facilities, so you can be assured that your wastes won’t pose an environmental hazard.  These wastes will also have the proper documentation; keeping your facility in compliance with EPA and TCEQ regulations.

In addition to waste disposal, Protect can dispatch teams to perform regular cleaning and decontamination operations.  We pressure-wash sidewalks and parking lots, and can complete thorough cleanings of interior surfaces with disinfectants.  These periodic cleanings keep animal droppings and debris from being tracked inside your building and prevent the spread of diseases among patients and employees.

If there is ever an emergency at your facility, our teams are available 24/7 for emergency chemical spill or bio-hazard cleanups.  Protect’s technicians are trained to meet all OSHA and EPA standards while containing and removing spilled materials.  We handle disposal of any waste materials generated, so your employees are able to get back to caring for patients while minimizing their risk of exposure to harmful vapors, hazardous chemicals and infectious agents.

One call to our office can take care of multiple environmental needs and save you time while saving your facility money.  We’re standing by to help, so feel free to contact us today to find out what solutions we can offer.

Protect Environmental: Inclusive Emergency Response and Waste Management Services

Most companies, to one degree or another, transport, handle or store chemical products.  The presence of these chemical products means that the possibility of a spill exists as well.  Managers at small businesses with a handful of employees may not face the same level of risk that large industrial companies do, but they can still find themselves suddenly trying to cope with a HazMat spill.  Without prior planning, the scramble to contain and clean up hazardous chemicals can become a dangerous and costly endeavor.

When a spill occurs, whether the material is a fuel, a cleaning compound or an adhesive, it will need to be handled in a safe manner by trained employees.  The product’s chemical characteristics can vary widely and so will the precautions that need to be taken.  Spilled materials can catch fire, give off harmful vapors or burn employees exposed to them.  The ability to assess the hazards of any given chemical and form a containment plan is key to conducting a cleanup without any injuries.  

Having untrained or otherwise unprepared employees engage in a HazMat cleanup not only puts them at risk but the company as well.  The National Safety Council estimates that when an employee is injured and requires medical treatment, the average cost to their employer exceeds $40,000.  This does not include any property damage costs, OSHA fines and litigation that may also arise after an employee is injured while handling hazardous materials.  All these expenses can quickly add up and a single, serious employee injury can be mean bankruptcy for many small businesses.

Even if a hazardous chemical doesn’t spill, many companies find themselves needing to remove old, outdated chemical products and dispose of them.  The regulations governing the transportation and disposal of chemical wastes can be complex.  Mishandling wastes could also lead to spills, injuries and penalties from OSHA and the EPA.

The best way to mitigate the hazards associated with the use and disposal of dangerous chemicals is to partner with a competent contractor who can manage your emergency response and waste needs.  Protect Environmental has been doing this for our clients since 1996 and we offer the full spectrum of services.  When your company has a spill, we can dispatch teams 24/7 to contain and clean up the material.  When you need to dispose of old hazardous products or universal wastes, we can handle all the associated paperwork and arrange for removal.

Our staff are dedicated to finding the most cost effective solutions that meet our clients’ unique needs.  Safety and regulatory compliance are our priorities and we give employers piece of mind.  Our clients can rest assured that when the call Protect, they are limiting their liability, protecting their assets and ensuring the safety of their employees.

 

Start the New Year with Protect

Each new year brings new challenges and in the world of environmental health and safety there is no end to the challenges that safety and compliance professionals face.  Whether its at a healthcare facility or an industrial manufacturing complex, the demands of the job require partners that can assess the client’s needs, formulate cost effective strategies and manage smooth implementation.  Protect Environmental is proud to be a contractor that provides comprehensive emergency response and waste disposal solutions for countless clients all over the state of Texas.

Since 1996 our focus has been on hazardous materials management and environmental cleanups.  Our response teams are trained to handle numerous types of situations that require specialized knowledge and equipment.  From confined space operations to biological hazard cleanups, our technicians are able to meet your company’s needs 24/7.  We respond to emergency events every day of the year because we know every second of down time matters to our clients’ bottom line.

The most important thing you get when you partner with Protect Environmental is exceptional customer service.  Our staff strive to provide an open line of communication and are always willing to help answer any questions we can about how a cleanup is conducted and where waste materials are disposed of afterward.  We prepare detailed reports for each spill and wastes are always sent to properly licensed facilities that provide documentation.  This level of thoroughness lets our clients know that they are safe from penalties from state and federal regulators.

Managing safety and compliance is a difficult and necessary job.  It means looking after the well being of the company, the employees and the environment.  It doesn’t have to be done alone; however.  Let 2017 be the year that Protect Environmental made your job a little easier so give us a call or email today.

Spill Waste Management

Businesses that store and use chemical products during their operations are at risk of having a spill but even companies that don’t use traditional chemical products may still be at risk.  Vehicles, forklifts and other power equipment contain fluids such as oils, battery acid and fuels that can pose varying levels of hazard when spilled during an accident.  While it may seem like an unlikely event, the prevalence of spill-able chemical materials in the workplace makes the need for an emergency cleanup a possibility for many organizations.

Once a chemical spill occurs, an emergency cleanup needs to be initiated.  Employees on site who are trained can begin containment procedures while a HazMat contractor mobilizes to orchestrate the cleanup.  When you call Protect Environmental for you emergency, our trained technicians quickly contain and remove the spilled chemical and other materials that may have been contaminated including soil, packaging and other debris.

During the cleanup process, the recovered chemical, contaminated solids and spill cleanup materials typically become wastes and require proper disposal.  The requirements for disposal can vary and will depend on the type of material spilled.  Chemical products that are a listed hazardous waste are still considered hazardous after a spill.  Absorbents, soil, PPE and other spill cleanup materials that are contaminated with the product will be classified as hazardous as well.

On the other hand, characteristic hazardous products may no longer be considered hazardous when they are removed from a spill site.  Due to a change in characteristics some flammable or corrosive products can be safely disposed of as non-hazardous wastes after solidification or dilution during a cleanup.  Other characteristic wastes; however, will need laboratory testing to determine whether the waste generated during a spill is hazardous or not.

Disposing of spill wastes if an often overlooked part of an emergency cleanup.  Even when the cleanup itself meets TCEQ expectations, the improper disposal of wastes can lead to penalties against the responsible party.  When you rely on Protect Environmental to handle your emergency spill response needs, you can rest assured that the cleanup and disposal of wastes will meet all regulatory requirements.  We provide our clients with detailed reporting and disposal documents that allow them to move forward with confidence after a spill.

Accidents can happen at any workplace but they don’t need to be a disaster for a business.  Protect Environmental specializes in emergency cleanups and our staff can manage the the operation from beginning to end no matter how small or large.  We work hard to get the job done fast and right so contact our office today for more information if you want Protect to be on your side during a spill .

Asbestos Key Facts

Asbestos has been a common word in the public sphere for many years.  It’s widely known that Asbestos poses a risk to the public health but asbestos has a long and complicated history that many people at risk of exposure may not be aware of.  The following are a few important facts to know about asbestos, its health effects and safe removal and disposal of asbestos containing materials.

  • Asbestos is a general term for six types of fibrous mineral materials that are mostly composed of silicon and oxygen and can be found in nature.  These minerals have desirable qualities such as resistance to heat or chemical decomposition and were incorporated into many commercial and industrial applications.
  • Asbestos materials have been mined for thousands of years but production of asbestos containing materials escalated in the early 1900’s.  For most of the twentieth century, asbestos was used in the manufacturing of household goods and construction materials.  A majority of structures built prior to the 1990’s still contain asbestos in some form.
  • Certain asbestos fibers can be woven into yarns and fabrics.  The high heat tolerance and resistance to corrosion of these fabrics made them useful for producing protective garments and the vibration dampening ability meant that they were used to reduce noise around ducts and walls.
  • Exposure to asbestos materials can cause several diseases.  Mesothelioma, Asbestosis, and several forms of lung cancer can develop in individuals who are exposed.  While chronic exposure in the workplace is a common trait among patients suffering from asbestos related diseases, OSHA states that there is no safe level of asbestos exposure.  Symptoms of an asbestos related disease can develop several years after even a brief exposure.
  • Since asbestos minerals are a natural phenomenon, large deposits that lie near the surface can release fibers into the air through mechanical weathering.  While every person breathes in small amounts of naturally occurring asbestos in the air, people that live near surface deposits have a higher chance of suffering from an asbestos related disease without occupational exposure.
  • Due to the serious health risks that come from occupational exposure to asbestos, the removal and disposal of asbestos materials is highly regulated by the EPA and OSHA.  Old buildings containing asbestos are tested, and asbestos is carefully removed and transported so that workers and the public aren’t put at risk.
  • Asbestos wastes are generally divided into two categories; friable and non-friable.  Friable asbestos is fragile enough to be broken apart by hand and has a high danger of releasing fibers into the air.  Non-friable asbestos cannot be broken apart by hand but can still release fibers during cutting and grinding actions used in the process of removal.
  • Landfill disposal is the most common method for disposal of asbestos but limited landfill space and the development of new techniques are making the recycling of asbestos materials a more viable option.  Asbestos fibrils can be treated to form non-threatening materials such as silicate glass and ceramics.

If your business has asbestos containing material to dispose of, don’t try to navigate the strict regulations alone.  Protect Environmental can help so give us a call or email our office today.

Managing Risk at Your Business

Every business faces natural and man-made events that could lead to potential loses of property or capital.  These negative incidents and their probability are known as risk.  The risks an individual organization will face will vary depending on geographic location and the types of services or products they provide.  Every business has to analyze and manage risks differently depending on their own situation.

For many small businesses, the risks they face may not be apparent and the consequences of failing to recognize and prepare for them can be catastrophic.  Large disasters such as tornadoes, floods and hurricanes can’t be prevented but actions can be taken to mitigate the damage.  Smaller incidents such as chemical spills and fires can be equally devastating for a business but are easily prevented.

One common risk to businesses are the hazardous materials they use such as flammable solvents, corrosive cleaners and other toxic materials that are prevalent in manufacturing and repair shops.  These risks can be reduced by removing the most hazardous chemical products.  Chemical manufacturers have made efforts over the years to increase the safety of their products and offer many alternatives that prove to be less of a liability to the end user.  Many companies are also re-tuning their processes so that they use fewer hazardous chemicals and produce less waste.  When fewer chemicals are on site, the likelihood of a spill or injury decreases.

When keeping hazardous chemicals on site is a must, the risk can be mitigated with proper storage and waste disposal practices.  Flammable cabinets, containment tanks, and reliable waste disposal services require an investment but will be well worth the cost if an accident occurs.  Training employees on safety procedures and equipment upgrades and maintenance are other investments that could prevent accidents from happening in the first place.

If a business takes these steps and disaster still strikes, a comprehensive contingency plan can be the last line of defense.  These plans outline response actions and partners that can be called on to help when an accident is unfolding.  When a chemical spill occurs, a business needs a response contractor who can provide immediate, cost effective containment and cleanup services.  Protect Environmental has performed emergency cleanups for hundreds of clients and our teams regularly prevent further damage and allowed normal operations to restart sooner.

Managing risks can be tough so contact our office and let us help you find solutions tailored to your business.

Protect Environmental has Celebrated its 20 Year Anniversary

 

Protect has now been providing unequaled emergency response and environmental services for over twenty years.  We have conducted thousands of spill cleanups involving hazardous materials, fuels, chemicals, bio-hazardous wastes, regulated materials, and the notorious Ebola outbreak in Dallas, Texas.

Over these past two decades we have developed procedures and protocols that protect lives and save our clients thousands of dollars.  Protect is the most qualified response company in the North Texas region because we consistently train our personnel under all applicable 40 CFR regulations, OSHA safety guidelines, and conduct tabletop exercises and drills to keep our response team sharp and focused.  Protect also has the tools, experience, equipment, manpower, and expertise to provide immediate cost efficient assistance in emergencies.

We staff a 24 hour call center with experienced personnel who instantly identify your needs and type of emergency which allows us to dispatch just what is needed to economically provide just the right amount of services.  No “overkill” or “under-prepared” response that adds hours to your cleanup costs.  We have invested in the exact equipment that’s needed in the field along with the communications gear and software that effect a fast, professional and no-nonsense service.

Protect, after completing your field operations, provides the research to locate the best disposal services option and quickly dispose of the wastes.  All required regulatory reports are drafted by our administration which includes comprehensive and complete information needed by both the state and local agencies.  We also go further and provides assistance to our client in dealing with the insurance claim procedures.

It’s simple, twenty years, thousands of spills, thousands of clients, rated number one by virtually all regional government agencies means something.

For more information on Protect’s ability to provide you excellent, economical service send us an email or give us a call at 817-589-9005.

We want to thank our clients, associates, subcontractors, agencies, and vendors for us become the top flight organization we strive to be.

Thank you.

Petroleum Spills Today

Crude oil, also known as petroleum, is one of the most utilized natural resources today.  Crude oil is naturally found in underground formations and is comprised of various hydrocarbons and organic molecules.  Once extracted, it is refined into many different products, including the diesel and gasoline that fuel over 250 million vehicles operating in the United States.  Many of the hydraulic and lubricating oils that allow machinery to run contain distillates of petroleum and plastic materials derived from petroleum can be found in almost every item manufactured today.  The logistics chain that distributes crude oil and its distillates spans the globe, meaning that nearly every part of the planet can be affected by a spill.

Some pockets of crude oil manage to seep to the Earth’s surface through naturally occurring cracks and fissures in the bedrock.  These natural oil seeps exist on land and on the ocean floor and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute estimates that half of the petroleum that enters the environment comes from these sources.  Since natural seeps occur very slowly they have very little impact on the environment around them.

When oil is spilled from vehicles, vessels or pipelines; however, a large amount is released at one time and it cannot dissipate or break down like it would from a slow seep.  Crude oil contains volatile compounds such as Benzene, Toluene and Xylene that cause health problems for organisms that inhale or ingest them.  The oil itself sticks to surfaces and coats plant and animal life, eventually suffocating them.  Large oil spills receive the most attention in the media but even smaller spills recurring repeatedly in an area can cause long term problems for wildlife.

Despite legal and technical advancements made since petroleum came into wide use in society, spills still occur every day.  The US Department of Energy estimates that over a million gallons of petroleum is spilled into US waterways every year from vessels and pipelines.  Additional petroleum products are spilled onto the land during vehicle wrecks, pipeline leaks, industrial accidents and intentional dumping.

The sheer volume of petrochemical spills around the country each year means that response teams must be vigilant and well prepared at all times.  Protect Environmental has responded to thousands of oil and fuel spills across the North Texas area and helped to prevent damage to sensitive natural areas.  Our HazMat teams have an impeccable safety record and have cleaned up spills of oil and other chemicals in rivers, lakes, roadways and warehouses.  If your company is looking for an emergency response contractor with the experience, equipment and dedication to contain a spill quickly and safely call our offices today.

GHS Hazard Pictograms

The Globally Harmonized System for Hazard Communication (GHS) is a set of standards for the labeling of chemical products and identifying the hazards associated with them.  GHS was adopted by the United Nations as a universal system to promote the safe transportation, use and storage of hazardous materials.  In 2009, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration proposed aligning the Hazard Communication Standard with GHS standards.

One of the key changes that came with the adoption of GHS was the introduction of the hazard pictograms.  These pictograms are used to symbolize the hazards associated with a particular product so that workers all over the world, no matter what language they speak, can understand the dangers of the materials they are handling.  There are nine GHS pictograms; each one and their meanings are listed below.

724px-GHS-pictogram-rondflam.svg

Oxidizer: Used for gases, liquids or solids that act as oxidizing agents and increase risk during a fire.

 

724px-GHS-pictogram-explos.svg

Explosives: Used for material that reacts violently and produces explosions. Includes conventional explosives, unstable and self-reacting substances and organic peroxides.

 

GHS-pictogram-skull.svg

Toxic: Used for substances that pose an acute toxicity through ingestion, inhalation or dermal contact. These materials pose the highest risk of death or severe injury through exposure.

 

724px-GHS-pictogram-bottle.svg

Compressed Gas: Used for gases compressed under high pressure in cylinders or can that pose a hazard of violent discharge or explosion. Compressed materials can also be flammable, corrosive, or toxic.

 

GHS-pictogram-silhouette.svg

Health Hazard: Materials that can cause chronic health conditions after exposure such as carcinogens, respiratory sensitizers and reproductive toxicants.

 

GHS-pictogram-acid.svg

Corrosive: Used for materials that corrode organic matter or steel. Can also be used for class 1.5 explosives and type G organic peroxides.

 

GHS-pictogram-pollu.svg

Environmental Hazard: Used for materials that pose acute or chronic hazards to aquatic organisms through intentional or accidental discharges into the environment.

 

724px-GHS-pictogram-exclam.svg

Harmful: Used for materials that pose hazards through exposure but are lower risk than Toxic or Health Hazard categories. Harmful materials can cause irritation in the respiratory tract, skin or eyes or are a skin sensitizer.

 

724px-GHS-pictogram-flamme.svg

Flammable: Used for flammable gases, liquids or solids. Also includes Type B-F organic peroxides and materials that are pyrophoric, self reactive or emit flammable gases on contact with water.

Emergency Planning for Small Businesses

Safety in the workplace is a top priority for most employers, especially for organizations that manufacture, transport, or store chemical products.  Large corporations typically have personnel whose jobs are dedicated to safety issues such as preparing for chemical spills and other accidents in the workplace.  Small employers; however, may not have the budget to hire a full time safety manager but they can still take steps to promote safety and mitigate property damage and injuries if a chemical spill occurs on their property.

  1. Choose a safety leader: Designating an employee to oversee safety and emergency issues will reduce confusion and cut response time when there is a spill.  This person doesn’t have to give up their other duties and handle safety alone; they can work with other employees to come up with emergency plans and procedures for when an emergency arises.
  1. Have the gear: Fire extinguishers are required to be present in every type of business but depending on the hazards present, additional resources could be a good investment. If your company stores chemical products or fuels, having spill containment material could reduce the cleanup costs after a spill by thousands of dollars.  The amount of material needed to contain a spill will depend on how much and what type of a chemicals are kept on site.
  1. Train your first responders: Paramedics, police and fire fighters are often referred to as first responders but during workplace accidents the first people on scene are the employees. Simply informing employees on the location of fire extinguishers and spill containment supplies isn’t enough.  Employees should be aware of how to use emergency equipment and how to recognize when a situation is too dangerous to handle themselves.
  1. Know who to call: Most people’s first thought during an emergency is to call 911 but in situations where chemicals are being release it may be necessary to notify a HazMat response team as well. Make sure that employees are aware of who to call after an accident and post emergency contact info to avoid confusion and response delays.
  1. Vet your response team carefully: Choosing an emergency contractor isn’t something to take lightly. Calling on a contractor who claims to do that kind of work isn’t enough. Most do not have the knowledge or equipment to handle a chemical spill at your workplace and could mean wasted time, lost money and possibly fines from regulatory agencies. Check their references and see who they have contracts with.

At Protect Environmental we take pride in helping our clients by doing the job right the first time.  We help them understand their legal obligations as the responsible party for chemical spills and we keep them in compliance with Federal and State regulations.  Many businesses have relied on Protect time and again for over two decades because we offer them a comprehensive customer service experience.  We invite you to contact our office and find out more about how Protect can help your company cope with chemical and bio-hazard emergencies.

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