Businesses that generate hazardous chemical wastes as part of their day to day operations are typically up to date on the requirements put forth by the EPA and the TCEQ. Large and small quantity generators track waste shipments and report their waste activities to the state, but generators who don’t produce hazardous waste on a regular basis aren’t required to follow the same guidelines. The EPA created the category of ‘conditionally exempt small quantity generators’ for organizations that periodically find themselves needing to dispose of hazardous waste because of special projects or other sporadic events.
These generators are allowed more flexibility when it comes to storing and disposing of wastes, but that doesn’t mean that hazardous wastes should be stashed away and forgotten. Any material stored on site that can adversely the health of the employees or the environment poses a potential risk for the business that has possession of it. Companies that store large amounts of hazardous products on site with the intention of using them are also at risk. Allowing chemical products to pile up, whether they are wastes or not, increases the chance of having a spill that can lead to employee injuries, government fines and lawsuits.
The best way to avoid spills of hazardous chemicals is to avoid having them around in the first place. If necessity dictates that your employees use a hazardous chemical as part of your business, you can reduce your liability by following some simple tips:
- Train employees on the proper handling and use of the materials:
The likelihood of costly spills or accidents is greatly reduced. Mishandling of some materials can result in severe injury or death.
- Make sure products are stored according the manufacturers recommendations: When materials are stored in conditions that destabilize the product, hazardous chemical reactions can occur. Bulging drums, toxic gases and fires are just a few of dangerous consequences.
- Don’t buy large amounts of the material unless you plan to use it within a few months: Each organization has to weight the costs and benefits of buying products in bulk. Carefully consider the cost savings of buying and storing products versus the cost of dealing with an accidental spill.
- Dispose of outdated or excess materials as soon as possible: Some companies will accumulate waste materials for years before trying to dispose of them. As time goes on, the cost of disposal services rises and rusted or damaged containers can make it more expensive. Staying on top of disposal on a regular basis can prevent budget-busting problems down the line.
- Contact an emergency responder before an emergency: A quick and efficient cleanup after a spill is crucial to getting back to normal operations. The contractor must be reliable, knowledgeable and have the right equipment for the job. Rather than frantically searching for a responder as an accident is unfolding, take the time to find the right one before disaster strikes. Protect Environmental has dedicated the past twenty-one years to emergency hazardous materials cleanup and special waste disposal, so we have a proven track record when it comes to helping our clients cope with spills. We invite you to contact our office and build a relationship before you ever need us for an emergency.
Keeping hazardous material safety and disposal near the top of the priority list leads to long term benefits for small businesses. With these tips in mind, managers and safety officers can help protect their assets, their employees and the future of their companies.