Understanding EPA and OSHA hazardous waste disposal requirements

Firms must understand and comply with EPA and OSHA hazardous waste management requirements to avoid costly fines.

Manufacturers across myriad sectors generate massive amounts of hazardous waste. American firms created as much as 28 million tons of this substance. between 2001 and 2011, according to data from the Environmental Protection Agency. Consequently, oversight organizations such as the EPA and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration require manufacturing companies to develop hazardous waste disposal programs to protect both community members and workers. Firms must understand and comply with this mandate to avoid costly fines. What does this involve? 

Requirements under the EPA
The EPA defines hazardous waste as industrial residue or material whose chemical properties make it harmful to humans. The agency regulates how these substances are handled via the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Atomic Energy Act. EPA compliance requires the implementation of multiple internal workflows, starting with a hazardous waste identification process. This four-step procedure requires personnel to evaluate possible hazardous waste and determine if it falls under the jurisdiction of the RCRA. For instance, one determining factor is physical state – the legislation only applies to solid waste.

"Manufacturers created as much as 28 million tons of hazardous waste between 2001 and 2011."

Manufacturers producing or using substances that fall in line with EPA standards must dispose of them through a cradle-to-grave hazardous waste management program. This means firms must track and ensure the safety of hazardous waste from the time it materializes to when it disposed, recycled or treated.

Requirements under OSHA
While the EPA seeks to protect bystanders from the dangers of hazardous industrial waste, OSHA aims to safeguard employees. However, like its counterpart, OSHA also uses the RCRA to buttress its regulations on the subject. Under the legislation, manufacturers are required to publicize all hazardous waste disposal programs and offer detailed training to workers involved in executing them, as well as individuals who provide ancillary support. Additionally, OSHA mandates that employers maintain emergency response resources in the event workers are exposed to harmful waste and need immediate medical attention.

Manufacturers must keep these requirements in mind as they navigate the marketplace; one misstep could result in a major fine. Here at eRPortal Software, we aid firms in this effort, producing state-of-the-art materials management software that makes it easy to track and address hazardous waste. Connect with us today to learn more about this product, as well as other solutions in our portfolio.  

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