Construction and Environmental Risk Management

Site management includes proper storage of fuels and other potentially toxic supplies. Fuel tanks require secondary containment for rupture control and a safe low-traffic location. Other potential toxins need proper containment and inventory control.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will remind you of these requirements if you fail to comply.

Environmental awareness is critical to avoiding problems:

* Roofing. When roofs leak, mold grows in the affected area frequently because wet, dark, cooler areas promote mold growth. When performing repairs, always check for mold. Take pictures of any suspicious growth and show the owner. Contractors are often blamed for mold after the repair when common sense might suggest the mold occurred during the leak. But the time for remediation is before new materials are installed. Check for mold. Any large black or white stain should be sampled and tested by trained mold inspectors. Don't take a chance with mold.

* Equipment. When diesel equipment is used around an area which has or had heating oil storage tanks, any leak can be attributed to the contractor. Check the soil in the area where work is to be performed. Does it smell like heating oil? Does it look stained? Is there any evidence of overfilling the tank? Get samples and send them to a laboratory for testing before the project starts.

* Avoid toxic products. The green product industry has blossomed over the past few years. The products have nearly the same efficacy of traditional formulations, and have the benefit of not creating long-term problems for the owner.

Think environment before a job starts. What is already there which needs documentation as an existing condition?

These conditions may be an opportunity to increase the contract, but they will certainly be a point of contention if not documented properly.

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Further Reading
Pollution and environmental exposure risks on site and during transfer and disposal, such as toxic mold, the disposal of contaminated soil, and broken pipelines releasing toxic materials, are major construction concerns. When such incidents happen, a...
The latest trend in environmental risk management is vapor intrusion, usually referencing toxic fumes from historical external spills penetrating the building envelope creating unhealthy air conditions. Unfortunately, the canaries in the office co...
Accidents involving vehicles or mobile equipment (excavators, dumpers, etc.) on building sites kill more than a dozen workers a year and injure hundreds more. To help make sure that your workers and outsiders can move around your job sites safely,an...
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Why should every start-up company consider environmental liability coverage? The harmless products and processes of the past have emerged as dangerous long-term pathogens of the present many times - lead-based paint, asbestos, even cigarettes....