The proper disposal of hazardous waste is an important task not just because it is mandated by law. It also protects the environment and minimizes risk to construction crew members.
What is Considered Hazardous Waste?
Hazardous waste is a substance that poses a threat to public health or the environment. Many different types of hazardous materials may be found in construction and industrial environments, including these examples:
- Thermostats containing mercury
- Lead paint or pipes
- Fluorescent lamps
- PCB caulking/ballasts
- Pressure gauges
- Displacement or plunger relays
- Mercury or lead-based batteries
- Aerosol cans
- Nitric acid
- Sulfur dioxide
4 Tips for Proper Disposal
1) Education and Training
Education and training is essential to waste management and proper disposal. Employees need to know how to handle and store hazardous materials. For their protection, the entire crew should also undergo emergency response training.
2) Storage Procedures
Storage containers should be constructed of material that is weather and corrosion resistant. They should be placed in a clearly identified area that is not accessible to unauthorized workers.
3) Labeling and Marking
Labels are diamond-shaped tags that are affixed to storage containers. They are used to identify the hazards found within a container.
Labels must be printed on or placed on any of a container’s surfaces, except for the bottom. All labels must be located on the same surface of a container and near the markings.
Hazardous Waste Markings
A marking on a hazardous materials package contains information about the dangers posed by the hazardous material.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, markings must be:
- Written in English
- Printed on or affixed to the package’s surface
- Displayed on a contrasting color background
- Not covered up by other labels or attachments
There are different ways and places to dispose of hazardous materials and chemicals depending on their type. All wastes must be disposed of within 90 days. If there is a leak or a spill, it must be cleaned up prior to the next time it rains.