Obviously, our blog focuses on issues that affect manufacturers.  Specifically, my posts deal with environmental or health and safety issues manufacturers face. Sometimes, though, it’s good to step back and remember that manufacturers are also companies that occupy buildings and have employees, and there are environmental or health and safety issues that just go along with occupying a building and having employees.  Here are just a few….

Winter and snow removal. Here in Connecticut, we’ve already had our first snow storm.  Are your employees responsible for cleaning snow from parking lots and driveways?  Or cleaning snow off of your (probably flat) roof?  If so, keep safety in mind when assigning those tasks.  Is the person on the roof provided with fall protection?  Is the person shoveling the sidewalk up to the task?  Here’s a link to OSHA’s page on hazards associated with snow removal on roofs.

Asbestos Containing Material (ACM).  Even if you don’t own the building you occupy, you have a responsibility to know if and where any ACM or “presumed” ACM is located, and to provide your employees information on hazards if they are likely to come into contact with it.  OSHA’s Asbestos Standard can be found here.  If you renovate your space, EPA air regulations require that you remove any ACM that could be disturbed before renovating.

Fire Brigades and Emergency Plans.  Did you establish a fire brigade? Is so, are its members properly trained and do they have the proper equipment? Do you have a written plan? Here are the regs. Even if you don’t have a brigade, you may be required to have an emergency action plan or a fire prevention plan.

Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Plans.  Do you store oil on your site?  Do you have tanks for emergency generators, fire pumps? What about oil-filled transformers? EPA regulations require that anyone who stores more than 1320 gallons of oil above ground (not counting containers less than 55 gallons) or 42,000 gallons of oil below ground, where there’s a chance that a spill could reach navigable water, must prepare a Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Plan.  These plans require training and education, and secondary containment for oil storage.

There are clearly other environmental or health and safety requirements that may apply to building occupants. It’s good to periodically evaluate those rules that may apply to you.