The Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Program continues to promote and enhance environmental health and safety in the workplace. Environmental Specialist and Public Health Sanitarian Marina Brock continues to provide and encourage team-based approaches to integrating aspects of Toxic Use Reduction (TUR), proper hazardous material/waste management, pollution prevention (P2) and indoor air quality (IAQ) into comprehensive facility-specific EHS plans. By facility request and using a non-regulatory approach, each facility team initiates, participates and develops its own specific management plan, assuring an investment in its continuation.
Specific assistance offered includes: IAQ assessments, mechanical systems analysis, comprehensive EHS audits, development and implementation of employee training programs, preventative maintenance/hazardous material management/written work safety plans, standard operating procedures, guideline development and other user friendly tools. The Program addressed 35-50 calls per month regarding indoor air quality at residences and small businesses concerned about asbestos, mold, mildew and other airborne contaminants and conducted 43 onsite IAQ assessments at the request of the individual towns. The Program also facilitates and encourages continued awareness and promotion of improved EHS in the workplace. Results include significant risk reduction and loss prevention in the form of avoidance of environmental degradation, occupational illnesses/injuries and negligent liabilities. All of these efforts result in significant cost savings to the town in the form of reduced Workman’s Compensation claims and insurance premium costs. The Program underscores what can be accomplished when existing resources come together as a team towards a unified goal encouraging a safer, cleaner workplace.
In addition to its working relationship with numerous state and federal agencies, the Program has increased the dimension of its activities by forming service partnerships with local educational institutions to provide applied field assistance in the form of direct program service to facilities, operators and employees. A total of 16 students from Massachusetts Maritime and Cape Cod Community College have provided direct service assistance to fifteen municipal entities through applied internships, independent study programs and special projects in the areas of facility audits and the development of written safety and training programs. In addition, the Program also conducted 37 municipal departmental trainings and 43 facility health/safety audits in fiscal year 2010. The Program is developing an ongoing Safety in the Workplace Series designed specifically for the Department of Public Works employees and presented at the EPA National Symposium for IAQ in Washington.