Keeping up with government and provincial regulations is challenging for many businesses. It takes just one complaint from a neighbor or disgruntled former employee to bring the regulators in and your license could be questioned. You have a legal and environmental responsibility to look after your hazardous waste products to the highest possible standards.
Here are 5 hazardous waste management errors that you cannot afford to make, they may be obvious but double check with your internal procedures on a regular basis to ensure they don’t ever happen.
Simply hiring a new employee who isn’t properly trained, or having an onsite accident, or distraction can upset your environmental protocols when it comes to dealing with hazardous waste.
Error #1 – Do Not Dump Hazardous Waste Anywhere
Illegal dumping of hazardous and toxic waste materials is strictly prohibited and rightly so.
However, it is one of the most common violations and the easiest for regulators to investigate and no business should be immune from prosecution.
These toxic chemicals can be traced to back to the point of origin and ultimately to your business.
There have been several cases reported on where illegal dumping into the sewer system has led to big fines and even just last year big box retailers like Lowes and Wal-Mart paid multi-million-dollar fines for this violation.
Don’t be stupid and dump your hazardous waste down the drain or in a landfill; you will be caught and you will be fined.
Error #2 – Don’t Forget To Properly Label All Hazardous Waste Containers
Employees are busy doing their jobs, and sometimes it’s easy to overlook proper labelling. Big mistake! Never allow your employees to shortcut the process by failing to mark containers as being hazardous.
Always follow industry best practices and assign one person in charge of putting the label on the toxic waste drum or hazardous waste container before any waste is put into it.
In many cases using compliant labels is required. Be sure to order the right ones from your supplier, and make sure that there are always labels on hand.
Error #3 – Keep The Lid On And The Hazardous Waste Container Closed At All Times
Yes this is a mistake and it is so easy for busy employees to overlook.
The term “closed” means leak proof and vapor tight.
By leaving the lid off of your hazardous waste containers you are reducing the volume of waste by way of evaporation.
Hazardous waste container lids should be always closed which means leak proof and vapor tight. Make sure that you put up reminder notices in accumulation areas and conduct regular briefing for your employees to make sure they are aware of this important environmental requirement. This is critical if you have a high personnel turnover rate at your facility.
Error #4 – Keep Your Hazardous Waste Contingency Plan Contact Information Always Up-To-Date
Again this is an easy one to overlook and we see it too often.
Every company that generates hazardous waste is required to have an emergency contingency plan. A written Hazardous Waste Contingency Plan is a program designed to minimize hazards to human health and the environment from fires, explosions or an unplanned sudden release of a hazardous waste.
This program is developed by each facility owner or operator and establishes actions that must be immediately implemented during an emergency situation. Each plan lays out an organized, planned and coordinated response to an emergency.
One of the key requirements of the plan is the emergency contact information including name address and phone number of emergency contacts from your company.
If your company has high turnover, or has recently undergone lay-offs, this requirement is easy to miss and can lead to headaches and fines. Make sure that you review your contingency plan on a regular basis.
Error # 5 – Having Too Much Hazardous Waste Onsite
This is another easy one to miss for busy employees. You should check the waste volume you have onsite on a regular basis.
Make sure you use an Ontario hazardous waste disposal company like Maratek Environmental to remove and dispose of your hazardous waste materials. You don’t need to keep much waste at your location, and it lowers your risks, while our job is to safely remove and dispose of it for you.
These are but a few of the hazardous waste errors that can lead to fines and environmental agency prosecution. It’s crucial that you stay up-to-date on the latest regulations and regularly review your procedures.
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Maratek corporate offices are located in Bolton, Ontario; about 15 minutes north of Toronto.
Maratek Environmental Inc.
60 Healey Road
Toll Free: 1.800.667.6272