EFS looking to fill open positions

were_hiringDriven by bold vision and a strong entrepreneurial spirit, EFS has evolved into a diverse environmental contracting firm focusing on soil and ground water remediation, subsurface sampling, monitoring well installation, and industrial services. Do you have what it takes to join our team? Click here to see our available opportunities.

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Using safe chemicals in the workplace

Chemicals_in_flasksWorkers suffer more than 190,000 illnesses and 50,000 deaths annually related to chemical exposures, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Analyzing chemicals present in the workplace, using appropriate precautions and transitioning to safer alternatives can aid in preventing chemical-related injuries.

OSHA suggests six steps to transitioning to safer chemicals. They are: engage, inventory and prioritize, identify, access and compare, select, test and evaluate. To access the OSHA chemical transitioning toolkit, click here.

Workers can further protect themselves from chemical exposure by understanding and analyzing the chemicals present in facilities, and by following all appropriate safety procedures.

OSHA amends Dipping and Coating Operations

news-636978_960_720The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently amended OH Part 526 Dipping and Coating Operations, effective March 15, 2016. OH Part 526 provides guidelines for Michigan employers and employees on dipping and coating procedures.

To see the amendments to OH Part 526 Dipping and Coating Operations, click here.

Do you know the six common workplace hazards?

characters-696949_960_720Workplace hazards fall into six different categories, according to OSHA. They are: safety, biological, physical, ergonomic, chemical and work organization hazards. Employers and employees can protect themselves by recognizing all six.

Safety

Safety hazards are the most common, and can occur in any type of workplace. They include many common hazards that can cause injury, illness or death, such as spills on floors, unguarded machinery, electrical hazards and working from heights, among others. Safety hazards are easily avoided with environmental awareness and safety mindfulness.

Physical

Physical hazards are elements within the environment that can physically harm the body without touching it, including radiation, exposure to sunlight, temperature extremes and loud noise. Though often invisible, employers and employees should be aware of physical hazards, and take the necessary steps to prevent them. This includes wearing appropriate clothing, sun screen and ear plugs.

Chemical

Chemical hazards are present whenever a worker is exposed to chemicals in any form, including solids, liquids and gases. Be aware of all liquid solutions, vapors and fumes, gases, flammable materials and pesticides in the workplace, and make sure hazards are labeled appropriately.

Biological

Biological hazards are present whenever workers interact with people, animals and plants. These type of hazards include exposure to blood or other bodily fluids, bacteria, insect bites and animal droppings.

Ergonomic

Ergonomic hazards are associated with work conditions. They occur when the type of work, posture and working conditions put strain on the body, and include improperly adjusted work stations, frequent lifting, repetitive movement and vibration.

Work Organization

Work organization hazards are associated with workplace issues such as workload, lack of respect and other stressors. They include workload demands, workplace violence, sexual harassment, social support and flexibility. Work organization hazards can be avoided through strong communication between supervisors and employees, and maintaining mutual respect among coworkers. They can often be resolved through the human resources department.

Understanding and recognizing the six types of common workplace safety hazards can keep you, and your coworkers, safe.

EPA releases new landfill emission standards

landfill-879437_960_720New rules for solid waste landfills are expected to reduce methane emissions by 334,000 tons a year beginning in 2025- the equivalent of reducing 8.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, according to a recent press release from the EPA.

Municipal solid waste landfills are the second-largest industrial source of methane emissions in the United States, according to the EPA, and accounted for 20 percent of methane emissions in 2014. To reduce this number, certain landfills will soon be required to install and operate a gas collection control system within 30 months after gas emissions reach 34 metric tons of non-methane organic compounds or more per year. The previous threshold was 50 metric tons per year.

The new rules will apply only to landfills constructed, modified or reconstructed after July 17, 2014, with a capacity of 2.5 million metric tons and 2.5 million cubic meters of waste or more.

To learn more about EFS’ landfill services, click here.

Corrosive well water prevalent in half of U.S. states

wellHalf of U.S. states have a high prevalence of well water that’s corrosive enough to leach lead from pipes, according to a report published Wednesday by the Associated Press. The findings come from a new study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey that included an analysis of more than 20,000 wells nationwide, and found that 25 states have groundwater with a “…high prevalence of being potentially corrosive.”

Consuming corrosive water can cause health-related problems when it reacts with pipes containing lead or copper; metals from plumbing materials can mix with the water. Signs of metal in drinking water include bluish-green stains in sinks, metallic taste and small leaks in plumbing fixtures, according to the study.

The study found the highest prevalence of corrosive water primarily in the Eastern and Southeastern U.S. states, including Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island and South Carolina, as well as the District of Columbia.

It is important for well owners to maintain and monitor the water quality of wells to ensure the safety of their drinking water. Click here to learn about EFS’ well monitoring and installation services.

Summer Safety Tips

summerThe summer season brings cookouts, pool parties and other celebrations, as well as a new set of safety hazards. This year, keep these safety tips in mind as you enjoy the season on the job and at home.

Heat

Temperatures rise in the summer months. Being exposed to warm weather can cause health issues, such as dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. To avoid these, drink plenty of water throughout the day, and take frequent breaks in shaded areas to cool off. Try to complete outdoor work during cool hours, such as in the early morning or at night. Signs of heat exhaustion include dizziness, headache, fatigue, confusion, pale skin and rapid heartbeat. If you, or someone near you, exhibits the symptoms of heat exhaustion, it is important to find a cool, shaded area, drink fluids and cool off with fans or water.

Sunburn

Whether it’s a cookout at home, or a day at the beach, it’s important to protect yourself from the sun’s rays. Always wear sunscreen while enjoying the outdoors. Exposure to UVB and UVA rays can increase the risk of burns and skin cancer. Sunburns can be treated by applying a cool compress to the area, and rubbing creams such as aloe, menthol and camphor to the burn.  It is recommended to wear a minimum of SPF 30 daily when exposed to the sun and reapply as directed on the bottle.  Skin cancer is the most common cancer found in young adults and is highly preventable with the proper use of sunscreen and clothing.

Stings and bites

Along with high temperatures, summer also brings bees and other stinging insects. Bee stings are merely annoying and painful to most, but can be life-threatening for some. If you get stung, first remove the stinger if it remains in your skin. Wash the area with soap and water, and apply ice or a cool compress to reduce swelling. If the area itches, you can apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion. Avoiding heavy perfumes, wearing insect repellent and guarding food and drinks can help you avoid stings.

Mowing

Mowing: it’s the summer chore most of us have to do. To avoid lawn mower-related injuries, be sure to practice safe handling. Follow these tips:

  • Pick up all sticks, stones and other objects from the lawn before mowing
  • Wear fitting clothes and sturdy shoes (no sandals or sneakers)
  • Mow advancing forward
  • Turn the mower off every time you leave it
  • Keep all people and pets away from the mower
  • Do not allow extra riders on riding lawn mowers
  • Do not use riding mowers on slopes

Remember to practice safety mindfulness to enjoy a summer free of seasonal injuries and illnesses on the job and at home.