Thursday, April 28, 2016

EPA Fines Kawasaki Rail Car for Improper Storage and Handling of Hazardous Waste

(New York, N.Y. – April 28, 2016) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached a legal settlement with Kawasaki Rail Car, Inc. (“Kawasaki”) of Yonkers, New York, resolving its alleged violation of federal hazardous waste law. EPA inspections revealed the company had generated hazardous wastes and had stored these wastes without a permit. As part of the agreement, Kawasaki will come into compliance with all federal hazardous waste laws and pay a $71,120 penalty.

“Companies that generate hazardous waste must store and dispose of them properly or obtain the proper permit to ensure these wastes are properly stored,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “When not properly handled, hazardous wastes can pose a danger to employees and those living in the surrounding community.”

An EPA inspection of Kawasaki’s facility at 29 Wells Avenue in Yonkers revealed several dozen containers containing waste paints and solvents, discarded gasoline and unlabeled containers of hazardous wastes. A number of containers of hazardous waste were corroded and leaking.

Federal hazardous waste laws require that hazardous chemicals be stored, handled and disposed of properly to safeguard public health and the environment. Facilities must also have properly trained staff, since improperly stored hazardous waste can spill and pose a risk to people and the environment.

For more information, please see the original press release.

Learn how to proper transport hazardous materials:

Monday, April 25, 2016

Upcoming Scrum and Agile Conference

We are happy to announce a partnership with International Institute for Learning, Inc., to host an upcoming virtual conference for project managers: Agile and Scrum: Driving Success Through Innovation. This event will be held on June 2, 2016, will bring together the world’s foremost thought leaders and influencers in Agile and Scrum - people who have not only developed, but also have successfully applied Agile Project Management and Scrum methods to strategic initiatives, including scaling Agile in the enterprise.

This one-of-a-kind opportunity offers attendees the chance to receive up to 20 PDUs all for only $149.00! Register by June 2, 2016 to receive full access to online conference sessions including live webinar keynote speakers, video presentations, and more! On-demand content will also be available for 90 days (June 2 to August 31, 2016).

Who Should Attend?
This virtual conference will benefit all attendees, from experienced Agile Practitioners, Scrum Masters, Developers, and Coaches, to those just starting out, such as a BA new to a Scrum team, or the project manager assuming the role of Scrum Master. CIOs and business unit heads responsible for transforming their organizations from traditional techniques to Agile/Scrum will be rewarded by listening to those that have already conquered that challenge.

Our vision for “Agile and Scrum—Driving Success Through Innovation” is one that is all inclusive: affordable, accessible to a global audience, and with something for everyone—companies already practicing Agile, those that have just begun their journey, and others who are evaluating whether Agile/Scrum methods and practices are right for the kinds of projects—and culture—evident in their organization.

For more information, please visit our event page: Agile and Scrum: Driving Success Through Innovation - Virtual Conference.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Zack Academy Partners With Mitigation Training Academy To Offer IICRC Certification Courses in Brighton, Michigan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Fort Lauderdale, FL (April 20, 2016) - Zack Academy (www.ZackAcademy.com), a leading provider of career-oriented training and certification courses, announced today that it will include courses offered by Mitigation Training Academy in its catalog of class listings.

Based in Brighton, Michigan, Mitigation Training Academy offers IICRC Certification classes, such as Fire Damage (FSRT), Odor Control (OCT), and Water Damage Restoration (WRT). The Fire and Smoke Restoration Technician and the Odor Control Technician combo course covers the technical procedure for successfully completing the restoration of a fire and smoke damaged environment and teaches students how to address odors caused from a range of biological sources such as decomposition, urine contamination, and mold, combustion sources, and chemical sources such as fuel oil spills or volatile organic chemicals. The Water Damage Restoration course gives residential and commercial maintenance personnel the background to understand the procedures necessary to deal with water losses, sewer backflows, and contamination such as mold.

“Lead by Master Water and Fire Damage Restorer, Chris Spensley, Mitigation Training Academy expands our midwestern IICRC classes into the centrally located Brighton, Michigan,” said Zachary Rose, Founder and CEO of Zack Academy. “We look forward to promoting Mitigation Training Academy’s classes and to continue expanding our nationwide IICRC class offerings.”

Chris Spensley, Founder of Mitigation Training Academy commented, “As a longstanding member of the cleaning and restoration business, my ultimate goal is to train and certify IICRC professionals so homeowners and business owners in the Brighton, Michigan area can feel confident and safe. Marketing our classes through Zack Academy offers us the opportunity to reach more students and promote cleaning and restoration safety in a larger area.”

About Zack Academy:

Zack Academy is a leading online marketplace for career-oriented training and certification courses, offering classes and seminars across the United States in areas including software and programming training; construction; contractor licensing and renewal; lead, asbestos and mold certification; LEED exam prep; stormwater and water management; solar training; cleaning/restoration/water damage; business practices; analytics; and more. Zack Academy provides a one-stop shop for career and certification training in partnership with hundreds of local training companies across the United States.
About Mitigation Training Academy:
The Mitigation Training Academy is a revolutionized technical trade school offering a wide variety of educational and consulting services including IICRC Certification for technicians, insurance claim consulting, and continuing education classes for industry partners.


Release Contact:Peter Sfraga
Marketing Manager
646-564-3792

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Zack Academy Partners With Aspire Educational Institute To Offer IICRC Courses in Arizona

New York, NY (April 14, 2016) - Zack Academy (www.ZackAcademy.com), a leading provider of career-oriented training and certification courses, announced today that it will include courses offered by Aspire Educational Institute in its catalog of class listings. Based in Kingman, Arizona, Aspire Educational Institute offers IICRC Certification classes, such as Carpet Cleaning Technician (CCT) and Water Damage Restoration Technician (WRT).

“Aspire Educational Institute adds even more classes to our ever growing list of IICRC-certified trainers. Aspire’s northern Arizona location also gives students in the areas of Las Vegas and southeastern California access to a top tier IICRC certification trainer,” said Zachary Rose, Founder and CEO of Zack Academy. “We are excited to begin promotion of Aspire Educational Institute’s classes.”

Chris Taylor, Founder of Aspire Educational Institute commented, “We have partnered with various organizations across the United States to deliver world class training in their locations, and this partnership with Zack Academy affords us the opportunity to reach even more students through its industry-leading online IICRC single source registration platform. I look forward to a long-lasting partnership!”

About Zack Academy:
Zack Academy is a leading online marketplace for career-oriented training and certification courses, offering classes and seminars across the United States in areas including software and programming training; construction; contractor licensing and renewal; lead, asbestos and mold certification; LEED exam prep; stormwater and water management; solar training; cleaning/restoration/water damage; business practices; analytics; and more. Zack Academy provides a one-stop shop for career and certification training in partnership with hundreds of local training companies across the United States.

About Aspire Educational Institute:
Founded in 2007 by Chris Taylor, Aspire Educational Institute is proud to offer classes with only the best instructors. Its instructors bring decades of experience and knowledge to you and your people in a professional environment conducive to learning. When a student leaves one of its classes they are armed with the knowledge and tools to provide the best possible quality and service a professional can deliver. It has classes for every area of business; from technician to management to business owner. It will also be offering business consultation and coaching services to ensure that you stay on the path to success.

Release Contact:
Peter Sfraga
Marketing Manager
646-564-3792

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Zack Academy Partners With Gas Training Academy To Offer Training Courses for Oil and Gas Professionals

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


New York, NY (April 13, 2016) - Zack Academy (www.ZackAcademy.com), a leading provider of career-oriented training and certification courses, announced today that it will include courses offered by Gas Training Academy in its catalog of class listings.

An initiative of Consol Energy, Gas Training Academy is based in Washington, Pennsylvania. Gas Training Academy owns a large training facility and offers courses such as Heartsaver CPR / AED and First Aid, Competent Rigger Level 1, Arc Flash NFPA 70E Training - Qualified Persons, and IADC Rig Pass - Safeland. This partnership expands on Zack Academy’s core areas of business and allows it to offer courses to oil and gas professionals.

“While we already offer many safety classes across various industries, partnering with a known oil and gas training facility in the heart of the Appalachian Basin is a great opportunity for Zack Academy. We are very excited to build our brands together with the Gas Training Academy,” said Zachary Rose, Founder and CEO of Zack Academy. 

Jamie Pierce, Talent Development Specialist at CONSOL Energy commented, “Oil and gas professionals from Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia regularly attend our courses, and this partnership with Zack Academy will help us expand our reach even further. We look forward to teaching more students how to work safely in the oil and gas sector.”

About Zack Academy:
Zack Academy is a leading online marketplace for career-oriented training and certification courses, offering classes and seminars across the United States in areas including software and programming training; construction; contractor licensing and renewal; lead, asbestos and mold certification; LEED exam prep; stormwater and water management; solar training; cleaning/restoration/water damage; business practices; analytics; and more. Zack Academy provides a one-stop shop for career and certification training in partnership with hundreds of local training companies across the United States.

About Gas Training Academy:
Gas Training Academy, an initiative of CONSOL Energy, is centrally located in the Appalachian Basin. It offers affordable rental space in its state-of-the-art training facility, specifically tailored to the gas industry. In addition to classroom and meeting room rentals, CONSOL offers compliance, safety, and technical training opportunities on site. It has developed this space to allow access to knowledge and skills from top gas industry leaders and training professionals.


Release Contact:
Peter Sfraga
Marketing Manager
646-564-3792

Monday, April 11, 2016

EPA Settles with Boise Ski Park Developer Over $10,000 Asbestos Violation

(Seattle – April 11, 2016) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that Gateway Parks LLC, a ski and snowboard park owner and developer based in Boise, Idaho, will pay a $10,000 penalty to settle a claim of a violation of federal asbestos regulations designed to protect public health.

EPA alleged that the company violated asbestos rules when it failed to notify the EPA before asbestos-containing buildings were demolished at the former Lazy J Tavern complex in Eagle, Idaho, northwest of Boise. Notification is required to give EPA inspectors an opportunity to check on buildings before demolition to make sure asbestos has been removed and to protect the public from exposure to harmful asbestos dust.

According to Director Ed Kowalski of EPA’s Pacific Northwest Office of Compliance and Enforcement, “EPA’s asbestos rules require building owners and contractors to notify the EPA in advance of demolition projects and to use certified professionals to remove asbestos before demolition. When you fail to follow those procedures, your job site can become contaminated and put public health at risk from asbestos exposure. In a misguided effort to save money, Gateway Parks cut corners and unfortunately turned a $14,000 demolition into a $75,000 mess. In the end, we know it’s far less expensive, and much safer, to do this work the right way the first time.”

In January 2014, Gateway Parks purchased the former Lazy J Tavern property on North Horseshoe Bend Road, to expand its operations next to an existing park in Eagle, Idaho. In May 2014, the company hired a consultant to inspect for asbestos in eight buildings on the site to prepare for demolition. The consultant found asbestos in six of the buildings and submitted a bid for asbestos abatement.

Gateway Parks rejected the bid and some of the buildings were later demolished without first notifying the EPA, as required by federal asbestos rules. Because asbestos materials were left in the buildings during demolition, the resulting debris piles were contaminated with an unknown amount of asbestos.
In response to a public complaint in December 2014, EPA investigated the site in coordination with state and local authorities. In April 2015, EPA ordered Gateway Parks to clean up asbestos-contaminated debris from buildings already demolished and to follow required safe work practices for all pending building demolitions.

The company hired an asbestos abatement contractor and the site was cleaned up by May 2015. Approximately 27 truckloads containing a total of 945 cubic yards of debris mixed with asbestos-containing materials were hauled to a permitted landfill where it was safely disposed. The cleanup and disposal of the asbestos-contaminated debris cost Gateway Parks more than $65,000, in addition to the federal penalty.

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that naturally occurs in rock and soil. It was historically used in building materials and in construction for fireproofing and insulation. If inhaled, microscopic asbestos particles can lodge deep in the lungs, increasing risks of developing lung disease or cancer.

Asbestos fibers may be released into the air when asbestos-containing materials are disturbed or during demolition work and building or home maintenance, repair or remodeling.

To protect public health, federal rules require that only trained and certified asbestos abatement professionals should handle, remove and safely dispose of asbestos containing materials in licensed landfills or other approved disposal facilities.


Stay compliant and avoid fines! Make sure your employees are asbestos abatement certified:

Friday, April 8, 2016

OSHA Cites Residential Contractor; Proposes $140K in Fines

OSHA observed Jasper Contractors Inc. workers performing roofing activities without fall protection in Jacksonville, Florida. OSHA cited Jasper Contractors for two willful violations, which is "a violation in which the employer either knowingly failed to comply with a legal requirement (purposeful disregard) or acted with plain indifference to employee safety." Since 2007, Jasper Contractors has been cited 34 times across 19 OSHA inspections.

"Jasper Contractors shows a deliberate lack of concern for the safety of its employees by refusing to comply with fall protection and other OSHA standards," said Brian Sturtecky, OSHA's area director in Jacksonville. "Falls are a leading cause of death in the construction industry, and OSHA is committed to doing what it can to ensure all workers are protected."

For its negligence, OSHA has proposed $140,000 in fines.

For more information, see OSHA's News Release.

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Make sure you are in compliance with the new OSHA standards! Avoid fines and protect your employees with OSHA Forklift Training:

Fall Protection - Competent Person

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Job Openings: 5 Environmental Lead Inspection Coordinators in Maine!

Opening Date: April 8, 2016
Contact: L. Hadyniak
Closing Date: April 22, 2016
Telephone: (207) 287-1887
Location: Augusta, Maine

Code: 9253
Range: 23 (Prof & Tech B.U.)
Salary: $36,940.80 - $50,003.20/yr
Value of State-paid Health & Dental Insurance: $370.98 biweekly.
Value of State's share of employee's retirement: 15.30% of pay.

Agency Information
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) provides supportive, preventive, protective, public health and intervention services that protect the public health and assist our customers in meeting their needs; and assists families in providing for the developmental, health and safety needs of their children. The mission for the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC), within which this position is located, is to develop and deliver services to preserve, protect, and promote the health and well-being of the citizens of Maine. The Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program administers and enforces the Lead Poisoning Control Act's goal to eradicate childhood lead poisoning in Maine.

Job Duties
The Maine CDC's Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program is recruiting to fill five (5) Environmental Specialist III limited period vacancies. In this position you will support the expected increase in environmental lead inspections resulting from the new statutory definition of a lead-poisoned child. You will act as a departmental expert on housing-related matters associated with lead poisoning. When either a case of childhood lead poisoning or lead-based substances is found in a dwelling, you will order a lead hazard inspection of all dwelling units by a contractor, review the contractor's inspection report, determine if an order to abate is required, and if necessary issue an order to abate the identified lead hazards.

You will also: 
  • Work with landlords to ensure a unit gets abated; 
  • Determine if interim lead hazard controls are sufficient to protect the lead-poisoned child; 
  • Provide technical expertise during legal proceedings with the AG's office; 
  • Assess administrative fines; 
  • Assist landlords and families with interpreting their home lead dust testing results; and 
  • Evaluate home environments to assess and mitigate risks. 
Requirements
A six (6) year combination of education and/or experience in environmental, biological, physical science or engineering which includes two (2) years of environmental experience. Qualifying education must include at least 15 credit hours of science or engineering coursework from an accredited educational institution.

Preferred candidates will have:
  • Knowledge of childhood lead poisoning, especially sources of lead exposure; 
  • Knowledge of, or experience doing, housing inspections or assessments; 
  • Knowledge of the low-income housing infrastructure within the state of Maine; 
  • Experience working with community partners; 
  • Experience working with landlords and tenants; 
  • Experience with regulatory enforcement; and 
  • Excellent presentation and public speaking skills.

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Associated General Contractors of America: Construction Firms Add 37,000 Jobs in March and Over 300,000 for the Past Year

Construction Jobs Growing at Twice the Rate of Total Nonfarm Jobs as Sector’s Unemployment Rate Hits 10-Year March Low; Several Spending Segments Jump 20 Percent for the Year Despite Dip in Monthly Total

Construction employment rose sharply in March by 37,000 for the month and 301,000 for the year, while construction spending in February logged a solid year-over-year increase despite a dip compared with January, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials said the new jobs and spending indicate that the industry is steadily expanding to meet growing demand. 

“These two reports confirm that demand for construction is robust and well-balanced among residential, private nonresidential and public segments,” said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. “Compared with the same month a year ago, the industry is adding workers at more than double the rate of the overall economy, and construction spending continues to rise at a double-digit pace.” 

Construction employment totaled 6,672,000 in March, the most since December 2008, and is up by 301,000 jobs compared to a year ago, a 4.7 percent increase. That rate of increase was more than double the 2.0 percent rise in total nonfarm payroll employment since March 2015. Residential construction—comprising residential building and specialty trade contractors—increased by 13,400 jobs in March and by 166,000, or 6.8 percent, compared to a year ago. Nonresidential construction—building, specialty trades, and heavy and civil engineering construction firms—added 23,900 jobs for the month and 134,800 jobs compared to March 2015, a 3.4 percent increase. 

Meanwhile, the number of unemployed jobseekers in March who last worked in construction totaled 768,000, the lowest March total since 2001. The unemployment rate for such workers was 8.7 percent, a 10-year low for March. 

Construction spending in February totaled $1.144 trillion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, 0.5 percent below the upwardly revised January total but 10.3 percent higher than in February 2015, Simonson said. Private residential spending rose 0.9 percent for the month and 10.7 percent compared to February 2015. Spending on multifamily residential construction increased 0.9 percent for the month and 24.1 percent year-over-year, while single-family spending climbed 1.2 percent from January and 10.6 percent compared to February 2015. 

Private nonresidential construction spending slipped 1.3 percent for the month but gained 10.6 percent from a year earlier. Simonson observed that nearly every segment increased from 12 months before, with gains of more than 30 percent each for private office and lodging construction and more than 20 percent for amusement and recreation and private educational construction. 

Public construction spending declined 1.7 percent from a month before but rose 9.2 percent from 12 months earlier. Spending on highway and street construction—the biggest public segment—slipped 2.1 percent for the month, following an exceptionally large increase in January, but was up 24.5 percent compared to February 2015. 

“Construction firms are finding a way to add staff to keep pace with growing demand for their services,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “But the pool of available experienced labor is small and getting smaller, which is why we will continue to push for measures to expand recruiting and training opportunities for future workers.” 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

New York Department of Labor Mold Program Updates - March 31, 2016

Do you work with mold in New York? Checkout the Mold Program updates below:

A. MOLD REMEDIATION WORK STANDARDS
DOL has updated the mold website with answers to some frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding mold remediation work standards. The FAQs are pasted below for your convenience and can be found at this link: https://labor.ny.gov/workerprotection/safetyhealth/mold/frequently-asked-questions-minimum-work-standards.shtm.

DOL has been notified that some licensed remediation contractors have been providing homeowners with a “fill-in the-blank” form to complete their own mold assessment; this practice is not allowed (see item 2 below).

  1. Can a licensed mold remediator perform work on a project for a client without an assessment from a licensed mold assessor?

  2. No. Labor Law Article 32 Section 946 (1) provides that a licensed mold remediator cannot perform work on a project without an assessment performed by a licensed assessor. Before beginning site preparation work, the law requires that a licensed remediator:
    • obtain a copy of the licensed mold assessor's mold remediation plan from the client;
    • prepare a mold remediation work plan ("work plan") that fulfills all of the requirements of the licensed assessor's mold remediation plan; and
    • provide a copy of the newly prepared "work plan" to the client.

  3. Can a licensed mold remediator also perform the assessment on the same project?

  4. No. Labor Law Section 936 (2), states that no licensee shall perform both mold assessment and mold remediation on the same project. If the licensed mold remediator on a project engages in assessment conduct that would otherwise be performed by a licensed mold assessor on that project, the licensed mold remediator has violated Section 936 of the Labor Law. This includes the practice of providing the client with a "fill-in-the-blank" assessment form.

  5. Can a licensed mold remediator perform work on a project without an assessment if the owner of the home or property provides a waiver?

  6. No. The Labor Law does not allow a licensed mold remediator to perform work on a project without an assessment from a licensed mold assessor. In addition, Labor Law Section 936 prohibits a licensee from performing both the mold assessment and the mold remediation on the same project.

B. UPDATED MOLD LICENSE APPLICATION FORMS
The Mold Assessor license application has been separated into two forms – one for an individual license and one for a company license.
Minor changes were made to the Mold Remediation Contractor and Mold Abatement Worker license applications as well. If your application has been submitted and/or approved using the previous mold licensing forms, you do not need to resubmit your application with the new forms.

Need to update your mold certification? Check out our mold inspector, assessor, remediator, and abatement courses!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Lead Paint Violations Significantly Higher in Low Income Areas

In a recent blog post we highlighted US Attorney Preet Bharara's probe into the possibility that the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) lied about its use of lead paint.

According to a new Huffington Post/WNYC article, which analyzed the number of lead paint violations in homes with young children, "more than 75 percent of all violations for lead paint conditions in units with children under the age of 6 are found in areas where the poverty rate exceeds the city's average of 21 percent."

The below graphic shows the areas in New York City with the largest number of lead violations and appears to be directly related to income. To find buildings near you simply follow the source link below.
Please see our EPA Lead Certification RRP Overview for more information on how to stay compliant and save lives!

EPA Lists Cities with the Most ENERGY STAR Certified Buildings

Where does your city rank?

2016 RankMetro area & link to list of certified buildingsBuilding countTotal floor area (million sq ft)Cost savings (million $)Equivalent homes' electricity use for 1 year
1Washington, DC686154$17991,000
2Los Angeles527115$17746,000
3San Francisco35585$15539,000
4Atlanta31171$6052,000
5New York303144$18668,000
6Chicago281133$101115,000
7Dallas-Fort Worth24967$4643,000
8Houston23191$7467,000
9Denver21547$5258,000
10Phoenix19029$3224,000
11Boston15750$7524,000
12Philadelphia15640$3324,000
13Minneapolis-St. Paul13141$5647,000
14Seattle12228$2516,000
15San Diego12018$716,900
16Riverside11811$173,800
17San Jose11413$226,800
18Miami10422$2218,000
19Sacramento10313$216,800
20Portland7410$8.105,000
21Charlotte7113$108,500
22Honolulu, Hawaii699.6$237,800
23Virginia Beach635.9$3.702,800
24Indianapolis577.9$5.805,200
25Austin5510$118,400
25Louisville555.8$43,700

See the EPA / ENERGY STAR list for more information.

Don't forget to check out our extensive LEED Exam Prep and LEED Continuing Education course list!