Sign Manufacturing: How To NOT Handle Hazardous Materials
Hazardous materials are at the center of many compliance laws and regulations when it comes to disposing of them. Mishandling hazardous materials can result in a lawsuit against a business which can yield heavy fines and quite damaging PR.
In the realm of roadside sign manufacturing, the most common hazardous material in play is called Xylene.
Xylene is a solvent used in the printing industry as a thinner for paints, inks, and adhesives. Once it is spent, it needs to be disposed of responsibly. Trying to dispose of hazardous materials in a non-compliant way will land any business in legal trouble.
After [the sign manufacturing company] accumulated more than sixty 55-gallon drums of spent Xylene solvent on the property, its employees attempted to dispose of the hazardous waste by pouring drums of it into large pile of sawdust and mixing it with pitchforks. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation conducted an inspection, discovered the illegal activities and as a result required that the hazardous waste be disposed of properly. Additionally, special agents of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Criminal Investigation Division executed a federal search warrant at the facility in April 2008 and obtained samples which confirmed that hazardous wastes were being illegally stored on site.
“Companies that handle hazardous waste must follow the proper procedures in order to appropriately dispose of the materials. Dumping Xylene, a dangerous chemical, on a pile of sawdust and then mixing it with pitchforks was completely unacceptable,” said Assistant Attorney General Moreno. “We will continue to prosecute companies and individuals that choose to ignore the law and put human health and the environment at risk.”
The company was sentenced to pay a criminal fine of $80,000 and $179,174 in penalties to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
The proper handling of hazardous materials is important to keep in check. Being audited and held liable for endangering the environment and the health of workers and local residents can leave a company with hefty fines, and eventually a slew of lawsuits. Adhering to environmental compliance regulations is the best route for companies to take for the preservation of its employees’ health and safety, and also its public image.
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