Small Businesses and Disposal of Hazardous Waste


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While working under the United States Environmental Protection Agency and ensuring that all guidelines are in adherence, the small business owner is able to ensure that hazardous waste and other protocols do not incur violations. To accomplish this, the owner and management must ensure these harmful chemicals and substances transfer to disposal units properly.

The EPA has certain regulations that regard hazardous waste, and it is important to ensure that it is dealt with properly and appropriately. Without various safety measures, those transferring it to the correct barrels marked with hazardous waste decals could come to harm. This is one of the primary concerns in moving and ridding the company of these chemicals and substances. It is crucial to prevent injury and the death of employees and associates. By properly regulating the contaminants, it is possible to remain within the strict adherence the EPA explains and keep the materials form hurting anyone in the building.

Hazardous Waste Explained

When a company manufactures products, there are often certain chemicals or other materials necessary for item creation. Unless the equipment design is green in nature, there are various wastes created as a byproduct. These are frequently not harmful. However, some waste material is considered hazardous based on what it does and how it affects others. For consideration as hazardous, it must match one of 400 listed materials by the EPA and have one of four characteristics. These include materials that catch fire, that eat through matter, those that react to other substances such as dynamite and toxic items.

Types of Hazardous Waste Explained

The four classifications determine how the waste disposal occurs, and this is important to the small business owner. For regular solid waste, it is not as important to take safety precautions through hazmat suits, large rubber gloves or safety containers in the usual circumstances. However, ignitable materials must not come into contact with anything that could catch fire. These must remain separate and in containers that are not flammable. While corrosive substance may have contact with other resources, they cannot transfer to a container that the liquid would eat through. It is also crucial that individuals removing the substance from the company wears appropriate safety attire.

Reactive materials need placement away from the other liquid or solid that would cause the noxious fumes or physical reaction. Employees that remove these materials also much protect themselves from harm. Toxic wastes could injure a worker if placed on the skin or ingested in some form. Any lack of security or safety protocols in disposal is when litigation occurs. The business owner must ensure all Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA guidelines do not lead to violations from nonadherence. For any complications in these matters, it is important to hire a lawyer to prevent or mitigate damage with litigation and employee injury.

Disposal Processes

While smaller businesses usually perform the same disposal processes, the extent and contacts are often different. A corporation that produces items through a manufacturing plant or engages in chemical or substance testing and procedures may remove hazardous waste manually and haul it to the appropriate dumping spot. However, smaller companies that face these same situations may need to contact a local agency for waste removal. If the correct containers are not on hand at the site, the removal team or offices may travel to the location with these vessels. The specific waste usually needs specifications when contacting the local or regional offices so that the best fit occurs. Then, the employees may ship the containers elsewhere.

Based on quantity, state and federal regulations and similar processes, the time allocated to retain the waste may vary. For smaller amounts, the company may keep the hazardous waste for up to 180 days before it needs transport for treatment or storage. The type of waste may also affect the procedure. If no agents are available with the company to transport the waste, the EPA may provide an extension before any violations occur. For these situations, it is important to label, store and communicate the issue to the correct authorities.

Legal Help in Hazardous Waste Removal

Violations for hazardous waste could incur penalties that cost the company. It is important to contact the EPA for any updated rules and regulations. To prevent possible legal complications, hiring a lawyer is the best option. The legal representative may ensure all the updated standards are available. Details about what to do next may provide the company a means to avoid penalties.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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