Health

September 10, 2013

Medical Center Facility Renovation and Expansion

Single prime design delivery system for the renovation and expansion of a public medical center facility. Due to multiple conflicts between the structural, MEP and architectural drawings, and the submission of several hundred requests for information (“RFIs”) by the contractor, the project was delayed more than one year and experienced substantial budgetary overruns. Owner claim against the design team exceeded the available design professional insurance.

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August 30, 2013

OSHA Proposes Silica Dust Limits

Source: http://www.insurancejournal.com, August 26, 2013
By: Sam Hananel

Federal regulators are proposing a long-awaited rule that would dramatically limit workplace exposure to silica dust.

Officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration say the new limits would save nearly 700 lives each year and prevent thousands of illnesses, including cancer and lung disease.

The rule would cut in half the amount of silica exposure currently allowed for general industry and maritime workers. It would cut it by 80 percent in the construction industry. The dust is often found at construction sites, glass manufacturing plants and hydraulic fracturing operations.

Workplace safety groups have urged OSHA for years to set new exposure limits, saying they would protect lives. Industry groups contend that lower limits are not necessary and will be too difficult and costly to measure for thousands of businesses.

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June 4, 2013

Mines polluting WV waterways

Read here about mining sites in West Virginia that environmental activists say are polluting waterways.

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May 30, 2013

Meth Lab

Source: Great American Environmental Division, May 2013

During the process of divesting an apartment property, the due diligence investigation revealed a tenant who had been arrested on illegal gun sale charges and suspected methamphetamine manufacture and sale. Despite the fact that the unit had been repainted several times, environmental testing confirmed that it was tainted with methamphetamine residue, which permeates wallboard, wood, carpeting, and flooring, and remains of concern to human health for years.

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February 19, 2013

Toxic pollution leads to hefty fine in CA

Read here about a $1.6 million settlement that has been reached with multiple companies as a result of toxic pollution.

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December 14, 2012

Resurgent mold litigation in Sandy’s wake

Source: http://www.lexology.com, December 1, 2012
By: William A. Ruskin, Epstein Becker Green

There is a significant risk that there will be a resurgence of mold claims and mold litigation in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Sandy left behind thousands of homes and offices in New York and New Jersey with flood-soaked flooring and sheet rock and water-damaged carpeting and personal belongings, which are all potential sources of mold if not removed and replaced. In addition to potential mold exposure to property owners and lessees, there is the potential occupational risk to the thousands of workers in the construction trades who are working to repair damaged homes and offices.

The most likely source of mold-related claims, however, will arise over disagreement concerning the scope of work of remediation contractors, construction companies and others involved in returning storm-ravaged communities to some semblance of normality. The contractor who replaces ruined sheet rock walls or wooden flooring, for example, may not be thinking about the water-soaked floor joists that may be a breeding ground for mold. The contractor who rebuilds an HVAC system may not feel responsible for sources of mold that may be spreading via that system.

Although certain affected surfaces may appear to recovered after being submerged under storm water for days, those surfaces may in fact be a breeding ground for mold. As much as possible, a building contractor should clarify with the client in writing what responsibility, if any, the building contractor has for addressing mold conditions, particularly those conditions that may be adjacent to area of new construction.

On November 30, 2012, WNYC broadcast a highly informative program on the Leonard Lopate Show titled, “Mold: Please Explain“, which can be downloaded from WNYC’s website. The guests on the program were Monona Rossol, an expert in environmental health and industrial hygeine, and Chin Yang, a microbiologist with Prestige EnviroMicrobiology. Ms. Rossol and Mr. Chin discussed what mold is, where it comes from, how it grows, what it can do to your home and health, and how to get rid of it. The listener Q&A following the initial presentation made clear that there are widespread misperceptions about mold and how to address it.…

October 25, 2012

C8 Exposure Leads to Lawsuits in WV

Read here about 3 lawsuits filed in West Virginia over C8 exposure.

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June 12, 2012

Drug Lab & Crime Scene Cleanups

Source: Rockhill Environmental Newsletter, June 2012

Drug lab and crime scene cleanups pose some potentially significant remediation challenges and pollution exposures, even for experienced remediation contractors. Remediation projects in places such as methamphetamine (“Meth”) laboratories found in residential dwellings and at recent crime scenes require adherence to certain EPA, state, and local cleanup requirements.

Having a Rockhill Contractor’s Pollution Liability (CPL) Policy is an effective tool in protecting a contractor’s exposure in performing these cleanup operations from third party pollution claims.

When a drug is so highly addictive, like Meth, it creates a higher demand. Combined with the fact that methamphetamine manufacturing instructions are readily available via the Internet to anyone who might be interested in starting up their own lab, the perfect environment is set for makeshift labs to pop up in any neighborhood. Meth labs can be found in houses, apartments, hotel rooms, sheds and even in motor vehicles. In fact, most of us have read somewhere or watched news reels about clandestine lab explosions in residential neighborhoods.

Aside from the obvious danger of unintended explosions, Meth production contaminates dwelling surfaces, furnishings, and ventilation systems with hazardous chemicals. These residual toxins can be hazardous to the health of people exposed to those labs (e.g. neighbors) and the discarded materials.

It is recommended for safety reasons, that a contaminated area be cleaned and remediated by an experienced and qualified environmental company trained in hazardous removal and cleanup. There are also state cleanup standards that qualified contractors must maintain in order to allow re-occupancy.…

May 8, 2012

Toxic site is target

Source: The Boston Globe, May 6, 2012
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

Tannery near condo complex

For the next eight weeks, workers from the US Environmental Protection Agency will truck away mounds of arsenic-filled soil from a 28-unit residential complex where a tannery stood for 81 years.

The arsenic was discovered in the last year when the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection conducted testing on the grounds of the former Creese & Cook Tannery at 55 Clinton Ave. The 12-acre property is just across the Crane River from the condo complex, and is considered a potential site to receive federal cleanup funds. After high levels of arsenic, chromium, and dioxin were found on the vacant property, the state learned that the nearby Crane River East Condominiums – thought to be the sales office of the tannery and redeveloped for residential in 1987 – actually served as the original manufacturing site of the tannery from 1903-1913.

According to the EPA, arsenic levels registered 30 times the legal limit in some parts of the condo complex and triggered the cleanup. Ted Bazenas, who is helping to coordinate the cleanup of the residential area – a swath of about 600 square yards behind a lot of six town houses – said arsenic stays in soil and cannot become airborne. “The hazard is from consumption, from actually the ingestion of the soil,” he said, adding that children would be more susceptible than adults to arsenic if they put their hands in their mouths after playing in soil.…

April 4, 2012

HVAC Contractor – Mold

Source: Rockhill Environmental/NECC Newsletter

A mechanical contractor installed an HVAC system in an assisted living facility for seniors. The system was constructed improperly, which caused mold growth in a portion of the residences. The facility was forced to relocate several patients during the repair of the system, and the renovation of the moldy building materials. A claim for clean-up costs and property damage was filed.…