There are so many rules and potential violations when it comes to hazardous waste protocol, and one place that many companies fail to comply is with their hazardous waste contingency plans. If you're not certain your contingency plan is up to standard or if you're not even sure if your company has one, read on!
Hazardous Waste Contingency Plan: What It Is and What Yours Needs to Include
Hazardous Waste Contingency Plan Definition
This plan is both a program developed within your business and a written document detailing the specifics of that program. It essentially discusses everything that must occur in the event of an accident involving the hazardous materials you generate. That accident can range from fires and explosions to the unexpected release of a hazardous material during transport.
It gives you and your employees direction regarding what should and shouldn't be done in this emergency situation. Its purpose is obviously the health and safety of everyone and everything at your facility and in the area directly affected by the hazardous waste–related emergency.
Who Needs to Develop a Contingency Plan?
Everyone who generates hazardous waste must have this program and written document in place. There are different requirements based on your generator status, but even small quantity generators still need a plan (albeit somewhat less exhaustive).
What Needs to Be in a Hazardous Waste Contingency Plan?
A contingency plan of this nature is going to vary slightly for every company. Depending on the type and amount of hazardous waste you produce, this will dictate the specifics of what exactly is included in your plan.
Whether you're a small quantity generator or a large quantity generator, adhere to the following guidelines:
- Assign one or more people to be the emergency coordinator. Include the contact information for this person (or people) within the plan.
- Include the location of both emergency equipment and emergency telephones.
- Ensure all employees know this plan exists and are familiar with the procedures. (Obviously, an emergency situation is never planned or expected and can arise at any moment. Therefore, all employees need to be prepared and equipped to respond quickly and accurately to minimize safety hazards.)
As a large quantity generator, you have some additional requirements that you must adhere to in order to be in compliance:
- The contact information for your emergency coordinator must be more thorough and explicitly stated. This includes name, address, and phone number for the person (home and office).
- The plan must be written onsite, and it must be reviewed and updated frequently.
Who Needs a Copy of This Plan?
No matter what size your company is or what generator status you fall under, if there's the potential for a dangerous event with your hazardous material, you should submit a copy of your plan to the local authorities. This includes the nearest fire station, police station, hospital, and emergency responders. Copies, of course, must also be kept at your facility.
If your plan calls for you to provide your own responders, copies must still be sent to the proper authorities. If something happened off site during hazardous waste transport, the local authorities would need to know the proper protocol for cleanup and whom to contact first.
How Can Hazardous Waste Management Companies Help?
When dealing with a hazardous waste accident or other unexpected event, it can quite honestly be a matter of life and death. This plan, therefore, is a vital piece of ensuring you do everything in your power to keep your employees and the surrounding people and environment safe.
If you're at all unsure of what needs to go in this plan, how to go about creating one, or if your current plan meets the regulatory requirements, reach out to your local waste management companies for guidance. An experienced waste management company should be able to provide templates or even just advice to get you on the right path.
For more information about contingency plans and what role they play in creating, storing, and transporting hazardous waste, please feel free to contact a representative of MCF Environmental Services, an Atlanta waste management company.