EPA rules, risk exposure go hand in hand

Change is one of the few constants in your job. Now environmental risk management - managing exposures of incinerators, wastewater treatment facilities, and waste disposal - is added to your growing list of concerns.

A recently announced Environmental Protection Agency rule will require hospitals and other health care facilitaies to trim emissions from medical waste incinerators. Fines will be imposed for noncompliance. Hospitals face special disposal problems with infectious waste, radioactive materials, and underground storage tanks. Excessive incineration of plastic bags, petri dishes, and tubing causes the release of significant levels of dioxins and hydrocarbons.

The regulation aims to cut mercury emissions by 94% and dioxins by 95%; lead and carbon monoxide are expected to be reduced by 75% to 98%. You may want to look into an environmental insurance policy such as the Pollution and Remediation Legal Liability policy, which provides coverage against third-party claims of sudden and gradual pollution conditions and includes coverage for cleanup costs and legal defense.

Industry experts say the best approach is to assess risks on an ongoing basis and develop programs dealing with emissions monitoring and employee training. Maintaining a constant state of preparedness enables hospitals to deal with incidents quickly and cost-effectively. See www.escinc.com on the Internet for more details.