Pamela Elkow

I’m a partner in Robinson+Cole’s Environmental and Utilities Practice Group. I’ve been practicing law with a focus on environmental and health and safety issues for over 20 years. I work with a wide variety of clients, ranging from Fortune 50 companies and large institutions such as universities, to small, closely-held businesses and municipalities. Here’s the link to my full and official bio.

Many of my clients are manufacturers with ongoing environmental, health and safety issues associated with their business operations. I advise them on day-to-day compliance and permitting issues, work with them to compile or review health and safety manuals, and defend them against enforcement actions resulting from allegations of violations of environmental or occupational health and safety regulations. I see myself as part of the client team – my task is not just to raise issues and liabilities, but to work with the client to come up with cost-effective, practical solutions to those issues, and to minimize liabilities. To do that, I need to know the business – what do they make and how do they make it? I’m comfortable talking to management, or the folks on the floor. Getting to know the business and how the client does what they do – that’s what drives me to work with manufacturers. I’m never happier than when learning how something works, how something is made, or just something new.

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TSCA Reform and Its Implications for Manufacturers

Even if you’re well-versed in environmental statutes, one you might not spend a lot of time thinking about is the Toxic Substances Control Act, or TSCA.  That’s because, with a few notable exceptions (PCBs being a good example), TSCA currently focuses on regulating new chemicals as they are introduced into commerce, or on significant new uses … Continue Reading

When Bad Things Happen at Good Facilities (Hazardous Air Pollutant Edition)

(Many thanks to my colleague and source of all info air related, Brian Freeman, who wrote today’s post.) Malfunctions happen, even at a well-managed facility.  When they happen, they can cause a facility to deviate from emission limits or other standards regarding (among other things) hazardous air pollutants.  Furthermore, through several court rulings and EPA … Continue Reading

Five 2015 Environmental, Health and Safety Issues Manufacturers Need to Keep An Eye on

Matt set a pretty high bar last week, summarizing his thoughts for what could be a tumultuous 2015 on the labor and employment front.  Now, it’s my turn to provide some thoughts for 2015 the EHS front.  I’m not sure I’d call all of these predictions, since we know that they’re out there – more … Continue Reading

Manufacturers Are Building Occupants, too – EHS Issues Related to Building Occupancy

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 … Continue Reading Economy, Energy, Environment – Another Resource for Manufacturers

“To compete in today’s global marketplace, manufacturers need to be smart, innovative, and sustainable.” That’s the first thing you read on the federal government’s E3 webpage – E3 stands for “Economy – Energy – Environment.” Manufacturers are an adaptable bunch, or they don’t stay in business for very long. Today, with materials of all sorts … Continue Reading

“We Need to Talk” – OSHA is Looking to Start a Dialogue on Chemical Management and Permissible Exposure Limits

Everyone knows that the permissible exposure limits or PELs set forth in various OSHA standards are pretty old (most have not been updated since 1971), and that we’ve learned a lot about chemical exposure and human health in the years since those PELs were originally published.  OSHA knows it, too.  Furthermore, of the thousands of … Continue Reading

OSHA Updates Reporting and Recordkeeping Rule – New Rules Take Effect January 1, 2015

OSHA just announced updates to its reporting and recordkeeping requirements for injuries and illnesses, found at 29 CFR 1904. The updates include changes to who is required to comply with the recordkeeping rules, and expands the work-related injuries that must be reported. Recordkeeping The list of industries exempt from routine recordkeeping (think OSHA 300 log) has … Continue Reading

In Case You Missed It, You Need To Protect Your Temps, Too

We occasionally write what we refer to among ourselves as a “360” post, as in 360 degrees, or looking at an issue from all sides. I’ll write about EHS, Nicole about labor or employment issues, and Jeff will focus on other potential liability, all associated with a single factual scenario.  The way the law and … Continue Reading

Time for a Safety “Check-up?” – A Quick Overview of OSHA’s Consultation Services

A lesser known resource for smaller businesses that want to understand their potential safety and health hazards is the OSHA consultation service.  Separate and distinct from OSHA’s inspection efforts, which can result in citations and proposed penalties, OSHA’s consultation service is intended to help a business identify potential hazards.  Manufacturers have taken advantage of this … Continue Reading

Have You Considered Alternative and Renewable Energies?

Manufacturing is an energy-intensive enterprise. Moreover, in the Northeast, energy and electricity are expensive.  We are finding that more and more of our manufacturing clients are taking charge (pun intended) of their energy costs by looking at what used to be called “alternative energy.” Perhaps it’s installing solar on a large, flat roof, to produce … Continue Reading

How Good Are Your Green Claims?

Do you make a “green” product?  Do you make any claims about the recyclability, renewable energy used, sustainability or other “green-ness” of your product?  If so, you may want to double check those claims. The Federal Trade Commission first issued its “Green Guides” several years ago, and issued revised Green Guides in October 2012.  The … Continue Reading

Temporary Workers: Properly Sharing Control Is Key To The Relationship

  Manufacturers are increasingly using temporary employees (“temps”) to supplement the work force.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the temporary workforce has increased exponentially.  Manufacturers  previously used temps as a stopgap for labor, but are now routinely using temps to supplement the workforce.  Our 360 post this week touches on the issues associated … Continue Reading

Happy Earth Day! Let’s talk about Sustainable Manufacturing

It’s Earth Day, April 22, 2014, and I’m an environmental attorney.  So I felt compelled to make sure that my post this week focused on the environment and the efforts of the manufacturing community in improving our environment.   The (relatively) easy part is done – companies comply with the various air, water and waste laws … Continue Reading

California’s Draft Initial List of “Priority Products” under Its Safer Consumer Products Program

On March 13, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) announced the initial draft list of “priority products” under the state’s Safer Consumer Products program.  Once the list is finalized, the program will requires companies to determine if there are less toxic alternatives to the chemicals in these consumer products. The three “priority products” … Continue Reading

Responsible Care Qualifies for Liability Protection (Again) under the SAFETY Act

The chemical industry’s Responsible Care Security Code has qualified for five years of continued protection under the SAFETY Act, run by the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”).  Responsible Care was first recognized by DHS in 2009 as a Qualified Anti-Terrorism Technology under the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies (“SAFETY”) Act of 2002 and was … Continue Reading

Are you a “polluter”? 2012 Toxic Release Data Available; Decreases in Releases

Many manufacturers are subject to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxic Release Inventory or TRI reporting.   If you have more than 10 employees, and manufacture, process or otherwise use more than 10,000 pounds of a “toxic chemical,” chances are you are required to file each July either a Form R, listing those “toxic chemicals” or … Continue Reading

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection – Esty back to Yale, Klee named Commissioner

Last week, Daniel Esty, Commissioner Connecticut of Energy and Environmental Protection announced his resignation to return to Yale University School of forestry, from which he had taken a 3 year leave of absence to join the Malloy administration. Governor Malloy quickly named Robert Klee, Esty’s Chief of Staff, as the new Commissioner.  From the Governor’s … Continue Reading

Year-End Legal Reminders For Manufacturers/Distributors

As we approach the end of 2013, here is a list of legal reminders that we often think about with respect to our manufacturing/distributing clients: Pam (OSHA/Environmental): Resiliency – This will be one of the new watch words in 2014.  It means being prepared for the unexpected, like unusual weather events.  Is your business prepared?  … Continue Reading

New Proposed Recordkeeping Regs from OSHA, and a Friendly Reminder on the ADA

Two short posts today – new proposed regs, and a reminder Pam: OSHA is proposing significant changes to the recordkeeping associated with injuries and illnesses.  OSHA is proposing a rule that will require electronic reporting on a much more frequent basis.  First, OSHA is proposing that workplaces more than 250 employees who are already required … Continue Reading