Environmental Health and Safety
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The primary goal of the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Program is to work collaboratively to promote and enhance environmental, health and safety compliance in the workplace and beyond. This program seeks to push the envelope of more traditional approaches to focus on holistic prevention of the many problems associated with a lack of EHS compliance awareness within our community. Senior Environmental Specialist and Public Health Sanitarian Marina Brock provides site based assistance to municipal and private businesses as well as residents of Cape Cod, addressing comprehensive aspects of environmental protection through state and federal environmental code compliance, the Occupational Health and Safety (OSH) Act, National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) and integrated facility specific approaches to EHS operations.
The Program’s primary focus is hazardous material and waste management. Applicable agency standards, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), local departments, OSHA and NFPA are integrated to eliminate redundant compliance activities. By evaluating all EHS issues, it is possible to streamline and reduce the overall compliance burden on facilities, thereby preserving available resources. The goal is safe hazardous material management, incorporating all areas of storage, use and disposal. Staying in line with this prevention focus, the Program encourages the reduction of hazards and risks through the use of non-hazardous or lesser hazard material, re-use or recycling of materials/wastes and lastly, appropriate disposal if no other options exist. Our Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) programs work through all of these applications to assure worker and environmental health and safety. In FY2014, 85% of staff efforts were allocated to job and work sites in the form of 135 audits/site visits/trainings for over 900 workers and residents while addressing EHS issues in every town across Barnstable County.
The EHS Program works to facilitate and encourage continued awareness and promotion of improved EHS at the workplace. Program results include significant risk reduction and loss prevention in the form of accident and disability avoidance (occupational illnesses/injuries and negligence liabilities) and prevention of environmental degradation through all media (air, water and land). All of these efforts have resulted in significant cost savings whether in the form of reduced Workman’s Compensation claims and insurance premium costs, or cleaner drinking and surface waters, land and air. Further, the Department is currently fostering a partnership with regional public works authorities, Massachusetts Maritime Academy and Municipal Insurers groups to develop a regional OSHA training center for conferring basic OSHA certifications to regional Department of Public Works (DPW) workers (as well as student cadets), therefore adding further protection against work related injuries and disability claims.
Most of the several hundred annual residential calls received by EHS cover the spectrum of IAQ including mold, hazardous material, asbestos, radon, lead paint, insects, allergies and various environmental illnesses. Additionally, the Program can provide real time assessment, identification, analysis and resource assistance for lead paint, asbestos, mold and numerous other household hazardous material issues.
Finally, the EHS Program has a working relationship with numerous state and federal agencies. Increasing the dimensions of Program activities by forming service partnerships with local educational institutions has proved effective, providing applied field assistance in the form of direct program service to facilities, operators and employees. To date, a total of 74 students from Massachusetts Maritime and Cape Cod Community College have provided direct service assistance to 45 municipal and private entities through applied EHS internships, independent study programs and special projects in the areas of facility audits and the development of written safety and training programs.