1-888-ASK-THEM

Prepare For The Residential Project Provincial Blitz (Sept. 1 to Nov. 30, 2017)

September 07, 2017
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Throughout the fall of 2017, the Ministry of Labour (MoL) will be conducting an inspection blitz on residential construction projects. Some of the areas the Ministry inspectors will specifically be targeting are outlined below.

Meeting regulatory requirements: control of exposure to biological or chemical agents

An employer has to take all reasonable measures to protect workers from exposure to a hazardous chemical or biological agent.  This includes designated substances such as asbestos, lead, silica etc. With hazardous substances, an assessment is required to determine if a health risk exists for workers and whether or not a control program is required. The assessment should include the following:

  • information regarding the use, handling, storage and disposal of the designated substance
  • actual and potential exposure of workers to the substance
  • methods and procedures required to control that exposure

CONTACT US FOR YOUR CONSULTATION

Noise exposure around power equipment and other occupational health issues

Noise is one of the most common occupational health hazards encountered in the workplace. In construction, there are many noisy tasks and power equipment is one of main sources. Every employer has a duty to protect workers and take all measures reasonably necessary in the circumstances to protect workers from exposure to hazardous sound levels. This includes:

  • Measuring noise levels
  • Using appropriate engineering controls and safe work practices
  • Providing correct hearing protection, training and instruction

LEARN MORE ABOUT NOISE ASSESSMENTS

Other issues covered in the blitz and how to prepare

Preparing for an MoL blitz should include a review of Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) sections and regulations that apply to your site and making sure your workers are currently meeting these requirements. It is also important to ensure that all worker documentation is present, updated and readily available for the Ministry Inspector. Inspectors can legally enter any project or workplace at any time without warrant or notice. Here are other items covered in this blitz:

  • scaffolding assembled, used and disassembled safely
  • safe stacking of roof shingles
  • safety precautions taken when trusses are installed
  • proper use of ladders
  • fall protection systems such as guardrails, appropriate fall protection protective equipment and adequate tie off points
  • ergonomic factors when moving heavy materials
  • heavy equipment operation, including line-of-sight hazards.
Get ready and most importantly, keep your workers safe!
CONTACT US : 1-888-ASK-THEM

Sources/useful links:
https://www.ontario.ca/document/construction-sector-plan-2017-2018/inspection-blitzes#residentialprojects
https://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/sawo/blitzes/
https://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/pubs/noise/index.php
https://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/pubs/asbestos/

Canadian CEO of the Month: Never Let a Friend Down

May 11, 2017
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This article was first published in Corporate Vision Magazine on www.corp-vis.com


John C. Fisher, B.A. (Specialized Honours), M.B.A. Candidate – President and CEO at T. Harris Environmental Management Inc. is delighted to have won the Canadian CEO of the Month award and is deeply humbled and grateful for even being considered for this prestigious award. We spoke to him to find out more about this and the work of his impressive corporation.


On winning the Canadian CEO of the Month award, it is even more satisfying to know that this recognition was a reflection of being nominated not by my own advocacy or the solicitation of my team, but from external sources. However, I accept this award on behalf of my team as without them I would not have enjoyed the success that I have. This award is truly a reflection of the great people I am surrounded by, and of their hard work and dedication to the success of our team.

I am very passionate, motivated, engaged and committed to be the best team leader that I can be. In addition, I am a very empathetic leader who has been found to be in the top 5% of Canadians when it comes to this trait. Furthermore, I am always looking to not only improve my abilities, but that of my team by building a collaborative environment in which all can reach their potential.

T. Harris Environmental Management Inc. (THEM) is a corporation consisting of a diverse group of industrial hygiene (CIH and ROH), scientific (P. Geo.), engineering (P. Eng.) and technical (CET, AMRT) professionals providing consulting services since 1979. Our staff is highly educated including multiple M.B.A. and Ph.D. team members.

As consultants, THEM primarily assists clients to maintain compliance with a myriad of environmental, occupational health and safety, and hazardous materials legislation including numerous Canadian Acts, Regulations and By-Laws.

As a corporation, we are currently members of the Toronto chapter of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), Toronto Construction Association (TCA), Environmental Abatement Council of Ontario (EACO), and our staff are members of their respective professional associations. Our clients include members of the organisations above, but we provide consulting services to a wide variety of educational, industrial, real estate, banking, commercial and government clients.

The firm’s strategy and key principles

The consulting business has evolved significantly since the 1970s and we strive to stay at the forefront. The fundamentals of our strategy are simple. THEM is committed to providing our clientele quality services at cost effective prices and in a time-efficient manner. Our motivated staff, supported by state-of-the-art technology, have the expertise to identify a problem and to implement an efficient solution based on our client’s needs.

Our key principle as initially articulated by our founder was and is ‘we always treat our clients as friends, because you never let a friend down’.

Professional services

Our management team is hands-on and dedicated solely to providing professional services in a time efficient, cost effective and regulatory compliant manner to all of our clients. Each project manager has the capability and authority to handle any project specifics that may arise and would be considered to be the main contact for their particular geographic area. As such, they have the authority to resolve any local issues without contacting head office, but at the same time, keeping the primary project manager informed of all developments. Ultimately, each Regional Manager or Head Office Project Manager is accountable to me, the Principal, President and CEO of the firm, and I have the final word on resolving any potential conflict that cannot be resolved locally or to the satisfaction of our client.

Maintaining motivation and positivity to remain successful

It is the belief that on a person for person basis that I have the best team possible to execute and fulfill our mission for what we want to achieve both individually and collectively. I am very fortunate in that I truly love what I do and the people I work with. Furthermore, being a ‘glass half full’ individual fosters a general positivity and the feeling that with any challenge there is a solution that will lead to further engagement and motivation of not only me, but the team to reach for greater success by utilising what former CEO and Chairman of General Electric (GE) and Business Guru – Jack Welch refers to as having ‘every brain in the game’.

Challenges successful CEO’s encounter

For me, this is difficult because I have some physical disabilities that are visually noticeable. As we are a service based company, our strength is our people and I emphasise to my team that first impressions are critical in establishing credibility when dealing with new project teams. Like all individuals – my appearance and voice have a big influence on the first impression I give when meeting new clients – and has led some to question my abilities or how I attained my position as CEO.

As such, personnel issues have been at the forefront of most of the challenges that I have faced.  Finding, and working with team members that are accepting of others, able to recognise the strengths in their teammates and cognizant of their roles has allowed me to become resilient and build a stronger team as well.

The state of your industry currently

Our industry has matured and come a long way since T. Harris Environmental Management Inc. opened its doors as the first consultancy in Canada to be formed specifically to deal with asbestos in 1979. As such, the industry has become commoditised due to the number of companies that profess to be Environmental/OH & S consultants. This has led to a ‘race to the bottom’ for some, with respect to fees, and has made it challenging for us to solely advocate for the value proposition that we strive to maintain and advocate for, which is harder to articulate to our clients who are most concerned with merely the price.

In addition, the state of the economy is always a factor and the mantra of major clients is to only accept the lowest cost provider, which has led to a further precipice in the quality of the various companies in terms of personnel and their training and that are considered part of our industry.

The role of technology in the industry

One of our goals is to be endlessly innovative and promote a culture that fosters not only the development of ideas, but also their implementation. As we are a scientifically entrenched firm, technology plays an integral role in allowing us to become more efficient in the delivery of our services. The sophistication of the sampling equipment and software models that we employ also allows us to differentiate ourselves from our competition. At the same time, we are committed to formulating practical and cost-effective solutions for our clients.

Before we purchase any equipment or software, it is vigorously reviewed from the perspective of what efficiencies it will bring in providing services to our clients and how it will aid in fulfilling our mandate as outlined in our mission, vison and value statements. In conjunction with this, it is established within our firm that all investments must achieve our target Return on Investment (ROI) to be considered feasible.

In addition, we are committed and engaged in facilitating the latest/state of the art training and development courses for all of our employees.

What industry trends CEO’s follow to ensure success

Through our associations, we receive annual reports which outline the trends in the market sector in which we compete.  We can then use this information to benchmark ourselves against others in our industry to verify if the changes or methods we are implementing in the delivery of our service offerings is providing the results we want to ensure our success.  In addition, by being active members in various industry associations and advocacy groups we can view the trends that are developing through those groups.

Over the next five years, it is my belief that there will be some consolidation in our industry and as governments become more concerned about the environment and occupational health and safety, regulatory requirements will become more onerous and provide an impetus to allow growth as compliance will become mandatory and enforced.

Future aspirations, plans and projects

I look to motivate my team to fulfil our mission, vision and value statements, but specifically with respect to our mission statement, ‘to become the preeminent niche environmental and occupational health and safety consulting firm in Ontario and Quebec’.

To be a little coy, I am looking to expand our mission statement to areas outside of Ontario and Quebec. But more importantly, to further diversify our service offerings to allow us to achieve our status as providing exceptional services in a niche environment.

Closing thoughts

I want to take this opportunity to thank all of our clients, my team members and vendors for their great support over the past 37 years for our firm in general, and 28 years for me, specifically. I have been truly fortunate to have been associated and worked with so many wonderful people. I look forward to maintaining old friendships and creating new ones.

It is our dedicated personnel that have enabled us and me to maintain our commitment to our clients and suppliers. Obviously, my team is our most valued asset and I am proud of the commitment that they make to me and to our clients.

I believe that we are still at the forefront of most environmental and occupational health and safety issues in Canada. We celebrate our successes, which I believe is attributable to the strong set of principles and values that I have and this company has embodied for all these years.

This article was first published in Corporate Vision Magazine on www.corp-vis.com


About Us:

T. Harris Environmental Management Inc. (THEM) is a leading Canadian environmental consulting firm in the fields of environmental services, hazardous materials management, industrial hygiene, and occupational health and safety. Our professional staff serve a wide range of clientele including commercial, government, industrial institutional, and residential. We are passionate about health & safety and committed to excellence.

Start your journey to better EHS – request a free consultation!

For more than 35 years, we continue to provide high quality services, taking pride in building long-term relationships with our clients. We are dedicated to understanding your concerns and meeting your needs by delivering efficient, cost-effective solutions.

Mission: To be the preeminent niche environmental and occupational health and safety consulting firm in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta.

Vision: To enhance our position as a premier niche environmental consulting company based on knowledge, innovation, technology, and be at the forefront of emerging EHS concerns and regulatory changes. We will achieve this by further developing our expertise, fostering growth of our team, synergistic relationships, excellence in performance, and strengthening client relationships.

Value Statement: We are committed to understanding client concerns and meeting our client’s needs by formulating practical, efficient, and cost-effective solutions.

Tips to address floods and water damage

May 08, 2017
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When this severe flooding happens, it can be a costly experience both emotionally and financially. While it is tempting to wait and see what happens or to try to fix the situation on your own, it is critical to get a professional to address floods and water damage right away.

Looking for a restoration professional? Request a free consultation!

Tips for mitigating against further damage:

The longer you wait – the more damaged your property can become! Moisture only needs a few hours to cause critical damage to materials in a home or workplace. When any type of water loss or damage occurs, the amount of time a material stays wet is the most crucial factor in determining the damage sustained, and whether or not the material can be restored.

Responding quickly decreases the likelihood of substantial mould growth, which can further damage building materials and cause potentially severe health effects to building occupants.

Don’t try to handle it yourself. Floods and sewage backups may carry with them a lot of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Any type of contact with these microorganisms can be dangerous, especially to at risk building occupants such as seniors and children. Professional restoration companies possess the proper safety equipment for these situations, are trained to protect themselves and building occupants from these hazards.

Choosing a qualified water damage professional:

In addition to contacting your insurance company, the first call made in a water loss situation should be to a qualified water damage restoration service. Finding a company that can respond quickly, provide a full range of services, and is available 24/7 is the first crucial step in response to any water damage or flood situation.

Choose certified water damage restoration professionals. IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification) certification assures a company possesses the most up to date training, and is equipped with the knowledge and skills to effectively handle your specific situation. The IICRC maintains a Certified Firm registrant-only database, making it easy to find a professional in your neighbourhood.

Restoration technicians have an extensive selection of technology at their disposal. Water damage professionals are equipped with vacuums and pumping systems, dehumidifiers, air movers and moisture metres to assess and effectively dry building components, and chemicals required to destroy mould and fungi growth.

What can an EHS professional do:

In situations with extensive mould growth, or that involve other severe public health concerns, such as buildings with high risk occupants, an Environmental, Health and Safety professional should be used to assist in evaluating damage and determining cleaning/drying procedures. This will help you in outlining a specific scope of work for the restoration contractor and ensure you are doing more than you really need to.

EHS professionals can also provide post-remediation testing and analysis ensure the effectiveness of remediation and restoration activities. This gives you both records of completed work, as well as the peace of mind that your home or building was restored quickly and safely.

About Us:

T. Harris Environmental Management Inc. (THEM) is a leading Canadian environmental consulting firm in the fields of environmental services, hazardous materials management, industrial hygiene, and occupational health and safety. Our professional staff serve a wide range of clientele including commercial, government, industrial institutional, and residential. We are passionate about health & safety and committed to excellence.

Start your journey to better EHS – request a free consultation!

For more than 35 years, we continue to provide high quality services, taking pride in building long-term relationships with our clients. We are dedicated to understanding your concerns and meeting your needs by delivering efficient, cost-effective solutions.

Mission: To be the preeminent niche environmental and occupational health and safety consulting firm in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta.

Vision: To enhance our position as a premier niche environmental consulting company based on knowledge, innovation, technology, and be at the forefront of emerging EHS concerns and regulatory changes. We will achieve this by further developing our expertise, fostering growth of our team, synergistic relationships, excellence in performance, and strengthening client relationships.

Value Statement: We are committed to understanding client concerns and meeting our client’s needs by formulating practical, efficient, and cost-effective solutions.

CELEBRATING OUR EXPANSION

April 05, 2017
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With growing demand for environmental consulting services in Western Canada, it is with great pleasure that John C. Fisher, President & CEO of T. Harris Environmental Management Inc. (THEM), is excited to announce the addition of a new location in Edmonton, AB. As of April 3, 2017, this new location will not only complement, but add to the core competencies of our existing strongholds in Ontario and Quebec. The addition of our Edmonton team greatly enhances our capabilities in supporting clients with multiple locations across Canada.

Furthermore, we introduce you to Garry Adams, B.Sc., P.Ag. our Manager-Environmental Services who will be running our office in Edmonton and not only looks forward to introducing himself to you, but the advantages that working with THEM can bring in resolving your environmental and occupational health and safety concerns.

This expansion is another step towards providing the Alberta market with high quality services, which our long-standing clients have become accustomed to. Since late 1979, THEM has literally built a diverse client base that not only includes some of the biggest players in the oil and gas industry, but many of Canada’s leaders in the industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) community. The strong reputation of our firm is based on the success of our clients, and our ability to provide practical, effective, and timely solutions to what are considered very complex problems. We are proud of the fact that 37 years later our unwavering commitment to these principles and values is instilled in each of our team members.

At THEM we like to treat all as friends. This philosophy is based on the principle that you never let a friend down. This growth will further enhance THEM’s pursuit of fulfilling our mission to be the preeminent niche environmental and occupational health and safety consulting firm in every market that we serve.

For those of you who are not familiar with THEM, our diverse and multidisciplinary organization consists of a team of well qualified individuals including Professional Engineers, Geoscientist and Agrologists, Certified Industrial and Registered Occupational Hygienists, Environmental Scientists, Engineering Technicians and Technologists, Geologists and Laboratory Technicians. Working with a motivated staff and supported by state-of-the-art technology, we utilize these resources to provide effective solutions as dictated by individual projects. We have the staff and expertise to economically and quickly handle a complete range of environmental and construction materials services, regardless of project size or complexity.

It has been a pleasure serving our clients in Ontario and Quebec for the last 37 years and we look forward to providing Western Canada in general, and Alberta in particular with superior EHS consulting services for many years to come.

Our new office is officially open to serve you. Contact us today:

T. Harris Environmental Management – Edmonton, AB

Address: 10665 Jasper Ave, 14th floor, Edmonton, AB, T5J 3S9
Telephone: (587) 338-5737 Fax: 1-888-679-8436
E-mail: info@tharris.ca

Our Newsletter

February 23, 2017
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NEW REGULATIONS

New water testing regulations for child care facilities
As of July 1, 2017, the updated drinking water regulations will come into effect. It applies to schools and child care centres. To learn more, read our summary.
The switch to EASR
A new online registration process for facilities with air emissions is in effect as of January 31, 2017. Some businesses are now required to obtain an Environmental Activity and Sector Registration (EASR). See if you qualify.
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HOT TOPICS FROM OUR BLOG

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What’s lurking around your building? 
Winter is forcing animals to look for food and shelter – and some find both on your property. Raccoons may look furry and cute, but they are no joke when you are forced to share living space with them. Learn about the dangers they carry and the remedies that keep them away.
FEATURED SERVICES

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
In the winter, people spend most of their time in enclosed spaces. Find out what great indoor air quality really means with these 10 facts.
Training and Lunch & Learns
We understand the difficulty of staying current with industry standards and regulation. Our experts will help you understand regulations and standards, identify hazards, assess solutions and implement control  measures. We offer in-depth courses or quick learning sessions.
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ABOUT US

T. Harris Environmental Management
T. Harris Environmental Management Inc. (THEM) is a leading Canadian environmental consulting firm in the fields of environmental services, hazardous materials management, industrial hygiene, and occupational health and safety. Our professional staff serve a wide range of clientele including commercial, government, industrial institutional, and residential. We are passionate about health & safety and committed to excellence. 
For more than 35 years, we continue to provide high quality services, taking pride in building long-term relationships with our clients. We are dedicated to understanding your concerns and meeting your needs by delivering efficient, cost-effective solutions.
Mission: To be the preeminent niche environmental and occupational health and safety consulting firm in Ontario and Quebec.
Vision: To enhance our position as a premier niche environmental consulting company based on knowledge, innovation, technology, and be at the forefront of emerging EHS concerns and regulatory changes. We will achieve this by further developing our expertise, fostering growth of our team, synergistic relationships, excellence in performance, and strengthening client relationships.
Value Statement: We are committed to understanding client concerns and meeting our client’s needs by formulating practical, efficient, and cost-effective solutions.

 

 

 

Tips From Our Consultants: Raccoon Contamination

February 15, 2017
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Winter is forcing animals to look for food and shelter – and some find both on your property. Do you know what’s lurking in your back yard? Raccoons may look furry and cute, but they are no joke when you are forced to share living space with them. Read on to learn about the dangers raccoons carry and find out tips from our consultants about the remedies that keep raccoons away.

Contact us for a free consultation


Why is raccoon contamination an issue?

Raccoons are habitual creatures and tend to defecate repeatedly in the same spot, known as a latrine. According to the US Center for Disease Control (CDC)[1], common locations where raccoon latrines may be found are the base and forks of trees, raised horizontal surfaces (e.g., fallen logs, stumps, woodpiles or large rocks), decks or patios, attics and garages. These areas may pose a hazard to human health because raccoons are carriers of a parasite called Baylisascaris procyonis, also known as raccoon roundworm, which are excreted in their fecal matter. This parasite is not harmful to raccoons, but may be hazardous or even fatal to humans. The incubation period for eggs to become infectious is approximately 2-4 weeks, so rapid removal and disinfection of the affected areas is will lessen the risk for exposure and infection. The primary route of infection in humans is via ingestion. The risk of infection in humans is generally very low, but young children or developmentally-disabled persons are at greater risk of ingesting affected materials.

How to prevent raccoons from using a latrine site

The Toronto Wildlife Centre[2] has some helpful tips to deter these furry bandits from using a specific latrine site:

♦ If the latrine is on a deck or patio, simply move or add some furniture or furnishings (e.g., planters). Remember – they are creatures of habit, so they don’t do well with change and will likely find another spot.

♦ Lay down a double layer of plastic sheeting over the latrine site. Raccoons have sensitive paws, and generally do not like the sensation of walking over the double layer of plastic. They will likely move on within a couple of weeks.

♦ For latrine sites on lawns and gardens, soak the area with water so that it becomes wet and muddy. Also, a motion activated sprinkler in the vicinity will assist in deterring raccoons from using the site.

How to remediate raccoon contamination

At this time, there are no legally enforceable standards that specifically deals with microbiological standards or procedures for removing raccoon feces. However, the Occupational Health and Safety Act general duty clause applies to all work environments. It is prudent to use strict health and safety precautions and engineering controls for the remediation of raccoon contaminated areas in order to contain contaminants. Such recommended safety precautions are similar to those used for in mould remediation, and should be provided by a qualified environmental consultant.

Contact us for assessment services & detailed abatement recommendations for raccoon-contaminated areas.

Although it is recommended that raccoon contaminated areas be abated by a professional environmental contractor, if you happen to inadvertently have contact with raccoon feces, remember to wash skin well with soap and warm water and launder clothes with hot water and detergent immediately after contact occurs. The CDC and Toronto Wildlife centre also provide suggestion on best practices for cleaning procedures.


Sources:

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/baylisascaris/resources/raccoonlatrines.pdf

[2] https://www.torontowildlifecentre.com/wildlife-emergency-rescue-hotline/conflicts-with-wildlife/common-raccoon-problems/raccoons-feces-on-your-property/


ABOUT T. HARRIS ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT

Harris Environmental Management Inc. (THEM)is a leading Canadian environmental consulting firm in the fields of environmental services, hazardous materials management, industrial hygiene, and occupational health and safety. Our professional staff serve a wide range of clientele including commercial, government, industrial institutional, and residential. We are passionate about health & safety and committed to excellence. For more than 35 years, we continue to provide high quality services, taking pride in building long-term relationships with our clients. We are dedicated to understanding your concerns and meeting your needs by delivering efficient, cost-effective solutions.

Mission: To be the preeminent niche environmental and occupational health and safety consulting firm in Ontario and Quebec.

Vision: To enhance our position as a premier niche environmental consulting company based on knowledge, innovation, technology, and be at the forefront of emerging EHS concerns and regulatory changes. We will achieve this by further developing our expertise, fostering growth of our team, synergistic relationships, excellence in performance, and strengthening client relationships.

Value Statement: We are committed to understanding client concerns and meeting our client’s needs by formulating practical, efficient, and cost-effective solutions.

 

Tips From Our Consultants: 10 Things You Want to Know About Indoor Air Quality

February 14, 2017
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Do you know how indoor air quality may affect your productivity? Or, the easy steps you can take to improve the air you breathe?  If you are not sure – you are not alone! According to some studies, building owners, designers and managers are often unaware of the costs and benefits of indoor air quality improvement. Our experts have conducted thousands of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Assessments in public, commercial, institutional and residential buildings.

Contact us to start your journey to evaluate your IAQ!

Here are some tips from THEM to give you an idea how indoor air quality can impact your tenants or your workplace:

♦Maintaining great indoor air quality benefits the employer: it has proven to increase productivity and reduce absences at work.

♦ Great indoor air quality helps attract better tenants, since it is a key component of a healthy indoor environment.

♦ Indoor air quality (IAQ) problems in buildings is directly linked to Sick Building Syndrome and Building Related Illness.

♦ Poor indoor air quality can make tenants feel ill. Sick Building Syndrome symptoms usually persist inside an airtight building with indoor air quality problems. Complaints of eye and upper respiratory tract irritation, difficulty concentrating, headaches, malaise and / or feeling of bad air quality are just some of the possible Sick Building Syndrome

♦ For good air quality, carefully choose the materials you use inside your building. Sick Building Syndrome is thought to be caused by the buildup of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from chemical products, building materials, personal care products usage, and/or carbon dioxide.

♦ Check your indoor air quality if you are making your building more energy-efficient. The usual cause of Sick Building Syndrome is often related to limited natural fresh air infiltration in the more airtight energy-efficient buildings and/or inadequate temperature and relative humidity control. It is typically associated with the inadequate fresh air supply for the number of persons and types of activities in the space.

♦ Indoor air quality tests can help detect the sources of Building Related Illness. Symptoms of a Building Related Illness are usually linked to a specific source in the environment such as carbon monoxide poisoning from a malfunctioning combustion appliance, allergic reactions to mould growing in the space or Legionnaires Disease from contaminated water features in a building, etc.

Contact us to start your journey to evaluate your IAQ!

♦ Watch out for the placement of building air intake vents. Objectionable odours are the leading cause of IAQ complaints. They can be related to the intake vents being too close to dumpsters, loading docks, kitchen exhausts, plumbing vents or local ventilation exhausts.

♦ There is a comprehensive guide on how to manage IAQ challenges in your environment. “ASHRAE Standard 62.1- 2016 – Ventilation for acceptable air quality” is a great place to look for guidelines. It is considered a ‘best management practice’. Proactively assessing indoor air quality in your work environment is one of the distinctive actions of a diligent employer!

♦ Indoor air can be 2 to 5 times (and even up to 100 times) more polluted than the worst outdoor air. Most people recognize the health concerns of outdoor air pollution, so how come we don’t consider and address the effects of exposure to poor indoor air quality?

The impact of the built environment on health of occupants is a growing concern. It has become a key part of sustainability, tenants are increasingly aware of the indoor environmental quality and demand healthy buildings, and top talents look at office environments when evaluating job offers. Our assessment reports will inform you of problem areas and propose a cost-effective, logical course of action to improve conditions.

Start your journey to better EHS – request a free consultation!

 


ABOUT T. HARRIS ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT

Harris Environmental Management Inc. (THEM) is a leading Canadian environmental consulting firm in the fields of environmental services, hazardous materials management, industrial hygiene, and occupational health and safety. Our professional staff serve a wide range of clientele including commercial, government, industrial institutional, and residential. We are passionate about health & safety and committed to excellence. For more than 35 years, we continue to provide high quality services, taking pride in building long-term relationships with our clients. We are dedicated to understanding your concerns and meeting your needs by delivering efficient, cost-effective solutions.

Mission: To be the preeminent niche environmental and occupational health and safety consulting firm in Ontario and Quebec.

Vision: To enhance our position as a premier niche environmental consulting company based on knowledge, innovation, technology, and be at the forefront of emerging EHS concerns and regulatory changes. We will achieve this by further developing our expertise, fostering growth of our team, synergistic relationships, excellence in performance, and strengthening client relationships.

Value Statement: We are committed to understanding client concerns and meeting our client’s needs by formulating practical, efficient, and cost-effective solutions.

 

Summary of changes to water sampling regulations for schools, private schools and child care centres.

February 10, 2017
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NOTE: This is a summary of Ontario Regulation 243/07 with integrated revisions effective as of July 1, 2017. On July 1, 2017, the title to the Regulation is revoked and the following substituted: (See: O. Reg. 459/16, s. 1)

Application:

This regulation applies to schools, private schools and child care centres. (Child care centres are any premises operated by a person licenced under the Child Care and Early Years Act to operate a child care centre at the premises).  The samples must be taken from drinking water fountains and taps that are used for preparation of food or drink or for drinking purposes for consumption by children under the age of 18 (the fixtures).

Contact us for a free consultation

Timing:

Annual testing for lead in drinking water must be conducted between May 1 and October 31. For child care centres and schools offering instruction to students up to, and including, grade 3, at least 1/3 of all fixtures must be sampled in 2017, at least another 1/3 of all fixtures must be sampled in 2018, and all fixtures must be sampled by January 1, 2020.  For schools offering instruction in grade 4 or higher only, every fixture not yet sampled must be sampled by January 1, 2022.  Fixtures that have been previously sampled (after June 7, 2007) are considered to have been sampled for the purposes of this requirement.


Sampling table

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Exceedances:

Lab must report any exceedances to the School and other stakeholders, as outlined in the regulation, within 24 hours and the school must report to Medical Officer of Health, MOECC Spills Action Centre and the Ministry of Education within 24 hours.

If an exceedance is reported, do the following:

  • Immediately render the fixture where the exceedance was reported inaccessible for use by children under the age of 18 (i.e. stop using the water supply fixture!)

Tip: Implementing a policy to use bottled water only until the exceedance is eliminated is considered a best practice.

  • Take remedial actions required. This includes (but may not be limited to) the following:
    • Periodic flushing of the system
    • Installation of filtration system(s)
    • Re-testing to confirm 2nd litre meets required lead levels

Routine Flushing Requirements (mitigation of lead exposure risks to students):

Water must be flushed at all school, private school or child care centre at least weekly by running the last tap on each water line run for 5 minutes and then run each tap or fountain for at least 10 seconds before weekly occupancy begins.  A record of the flushing must be made.

Water must be flushed daily if at least one of the following is true:

  • Plumbing in any part of the building is pre-1990 installation
  • Any of “second litre” samples within the last 24 months failed for lead content
  • No samples have been collected within the last 24 months

Exceptions and alternate arrangements:

This regulation does not apply to non-powered system if notices warning that water is not safe to drink are posted.

Director may order alternate arrangements.  On or before the second anniversary of the given direction mentioned, the Director shall review the direction and its implementation. Notification must be given to the Director indicating the laboratory that will analyse the samples before testing is done.

Samples may be taken only once in every third calendar year if all of the following is true:

  • For the last 24 months, none of the samples in the building exceeded regulatory lead limits for water
  • Every fixture has been sampled since June 7, 2007
  • A notice has been submitted to the Director

These exceptions generally apply to all new schools or child care centres.

Need more information? Contact us!

Source: Law Document English View. (2015, April 13). Retrieved February 28, 2017, from https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/070243

 


ABOUT T. HARRIS ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT

Harris Environmental Management Inc. (THEM)is a leading Canadian environmental consulting firm in the fields of environmental services, hazardous materials management, industrial hygiene, and occupational health and safety. Our professional staff serve a wide range of clientele including commercial, government, industrial institutional, and residential. We are passionate about health & safety and committed to excellence. For more than 35 years, we continue to provide high quality services, taking pride in building long-term relationships with our clients. We are dedicated to understanding your concerns and meeting your needs by delivering efficient, cost-effective solutions.

Mission: To be the preeminent niche environmental and occupational health and safety consulting firm in Ontario and Quebec.

Vision: To enhance our position as a premier niche environmental consulting company based on knowledge, innovation, technology, and be at the forefront of emerging EHS concerns and regulatory changes. We will achieve this by further developing our expertise, fostering growth of our team, synergistic relationships, excellence in performance, and strengthening client relationships.

Value Statement: We are committed to understanding client concerns and meeting our client’s needs by formulating practical, efficient, and cost-effective solutions.

How to Detect Non-Tuberculosis Mycobacterial Contamination that is Putting Open-Heart Surgery Patients at Risk?

November 08, 2016
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It is the question many healthcare professionals are – or should – be concerned with in the light of recent events. To protect their cardiac patients, it is essential for healthcare practitioners to evaluate their heater / cooler units for NTM (non-tuberculosis mycobacterial) contamination.

heart health pictureThere is a growing number of reported cases concerning NTM infection in the operating rooms:

  • Health Canada identified NTM Bacterial infection concern in 12 models of heater/cooler units.
  • Quebec doctors have already reported at least two cases of NTM infection.
  • CDC estimates that in hospitals where at least one infection has been identified, the risk of a patient getting an infection from the bacteria was between about 1 in 100 and 1 in 1,000.


The Key: Evaluate Water and Air in Contact with the Heater/Cooler Units

NTM is caused by Mycobacterium chimaera – a slow growing NTM that is a member of the Mycobacterium avium complex, which is widespread in nature and can be found in soil and water, including drinking water sources. The contamination can spread through water and air. Heater-cooler devices include water tanks that provide temperature-controlled water to external heat exchangers or warming/cooling blankets through closed circuits.

Harris Environmental Management can help you establish safe operating procedures.

Our team of professionals is experienced in evaluating water and air for NTM microbial contamination and has created the sampling protocol used in some Ontario Hospitals. Our senior staff are experts in the field of microbiology and have specialized in issues concerning NTM.

Contact us for a free consultation to get a custom solution!

About T. Harris Environmental Management Inc.

We are a leading Canadian environmental consulting firm in the fields of environmental services, hazardous materials management, industrial hygiene, and occupational health and safety. Our professional staff serve a wide range of clientele including commercial, government, industrial institutional, and residential. We are passionate about health and safety and committed to excellence. For more than 35 years, we continue to provide high quality services, taking pride in building long-term relationships with our clients. We are dedicated to understanding your concerns and meeting your needs by delivering efficient, cost-effective solutions.

 

Regulatory Update: ON Drinking Water Quality, Chemical Handling Blitz Preparation and more

September 23, 2016
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  1. drinking water glassOntario Drinking Water Quality Standards Update:  

The Minister’s Advisory Council on Drinking Water Quality and Testing Standards (the Advisory Council) is recommending changes to Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standards. It is seeking stakeholder input via a 45 day public review and comment period starting August 23, 2016.

The recommended changes are as follows:

  • Adopt three new Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standards based on new federal guidelines:
    • 06 mg/L for Toluene;
    • 14 mg/L for Ethylbenzene; and
    • 09 mg/L for Total Xylenes.
  • Revise two existing standards:
    • Revise Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standard of 0.01 mg/L to 0.05 mg/L for Selenium; and
    • Revise Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standard of 0.03 mg/L to a more stringent value of 0.01 mg/L for Tetrachloroethylene.
  • Remove the current Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standard of 10 mg/L for Nitrate + Nitrite as this parameter is redundant since individual standards of 10 mg/L for nitrate and 1 mg/L for nitrite are maintained.

The Advisory Council also made recommendations to adopt Health Canada’s aesthetic objectives for the following substances, effective January 1, 2017:

  • A new Aesthetic Objective of 0.015 mg/L is proposed for methyl t-butyl ether (MTBE); and
  • Revise the Aesthetic Objectives for ethylbenzene and xylenes to 0.0016 mg/L, and 0.02 mg/L, respectively.

Learn more and submit your input here.

Is the quality of your drinking water acceptable to these proposed standards? Ask us how you can ensure the quality of your water, contact us at 1-888-ASK-THEM or at info@tharris.ca.

  1. Ontario Blitz: Chemical Handling

Ontario is continuing its efforts to reduce workplace injuries. From September 19 to October 31, Ministry of Labour (MOL) Inspectors to check that employers have taken proper steps to protect workers handling chemicals.

Prepare for the blitz using this checklist:

  1. chemicals

    Know what you have:

  • Have an up-to-date list of all chemicals, their quantities and their properties.
  • Determine the type of risks your chemicals pose and the risk-specific handling requirements.
  • Check if personal protective equipment is required and that it is correct.
  • Have documentation to support your established system. Ex: inventory list, handling procedures, training records, material safety data sheets and safety data sheets
  1. Make sure the system works:
  • Make sure chemicals are stored in a way that minimizes the above risks.
  • Check the functionality of equipment and engineering controls, and make sure that they are sufficient.
  1. Train your people:
  • Make sure your personnel is fully trained. They should know the hazards, following the proper procedures, understand the MSDSs or SDSs and recognize the hazard symbols on labels.
  • Make sure personnel is aware which PPE they need, that they have it and know how to use it correctly.
  • Have a plan for emergency response and make sure it is sufficient.  Employees should have the knowledge and equipment to act quickly if they come in contact with hazardous chemicals.
  1. Be proactive
  • Have a system to review incidents, make changes and encourage input from employees
  • Look for additional ways to minimize handling and implement them where possible.
  • Check that the correct attachment for drum lifting is utilized

Ask us how you can avoid the risk of mishandling chemicals, contact us at 1-888-ASK-THEM or at info@tharris.ca.

Noise Regulations Come into Effecthearing protection

The Noise Regulation came into effect on July 1, 2016. It will help protect Ontario workers from hearing loss. Currently it is a leading cause of occupational disease.  See the details here.

Ask us how employers and supervisors are responsible for noise exposure. Contact us today at 1-888-ASK-THEM or at info@tharris.ca

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