The United States has a complex system of environmental, health and safety laws (“EHS Laws”). The federal laws administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) provide the regulatory framework for most matters. Each state and local government may adopt its own legal requirements as well. The federal laws usually provide the minimum standards, while state or local laws may add extra or special requirements.
The failure to address requirements of EHS Laws may result in significant delays, fines, liabilities, remedial costs, unfavorable news stories and criminal sanctions.
This article provides a checklist of 39 specific questions for a manager to answer in order to assess when further action or inquiry may be required by EHS Laws. Each question is followed by the name of a relevant federal statute and a summary of relevant requirements. The questions and summaries have been arranged by the following areas:
A. Regulated Products and Industries;
B. Site Selection and Development;
C. Hazardous Material Management;
D. Occupational Safety and Health;
E. Air Pollutant Emissions;
F. Water Pollutant Discharges;
G. Solid and Hazardous Waste Disposal; and
H. Community Planning and Protection.
These categories provide a starting point for organizing a systematic management program for almost any organization, project, facility or site.
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