Total Wrecking Safety

INTRODUCTION

Industrial demolition plays a critical role in the upkeep and development of cities around the world. However, it’s also recognized as one of the most hazardous sectors to work in.

Asbestos abatement, waste removal, and hazardous material remediation — which are integral parts of industrial demolition — pose unique dangers that emphasize the critical need for safety measures for everyone involved.

Total Wrecking & Environmental, based in Buffalo, NY, believes that safety is non-negotiable and represents the gold standard of providing top tier demolition services while upholding the highest standards of safety.

SAFETY: OUR TOP PRIORITY

According to data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workplace injuries and fatalities in the construction and demolition industry have been steadily decreasing over the years, thanks to a heightened focus on safety measures and training programs. These statistics reflect the industry’s recognition of the importance of safety and the greater efforts made by companies like Total Wrecking to protect and promote the well-being of their workforce.

The nature of demolition work, including asbestos abatement, environmental remediation, and the demolition itself – demands a higher level of vigilance and precaution. We are proud of our impeccable safety record and our stringent adherence to industry standards.

How can we ensure that safety is priority in the workplace? Our abatement team is trained rigorously and certified to handle even the most challenging situations, ensuring that our employees, clients, and the environment are safeguarded throughout every project we face.

PROFESSIONALISM: A CORNERSTONE OF SUCCESS

According to industry reports, the success of demolition projects is often closely tied to the level of professionalism exhibited by the contractors involved.

A study by the National Demolition Association (NDA) found that projects executed with a strong emphasis on professionalism achieved better safety records and experienced fewer delays and cost overruns. This underscores the significance of professionalism in ensuring the smooth execution of even the most challenging projects, and highlights why should organizations prioritize what safety measures they will focus on, and how.

At Total Wrecking, safety goes hand in hand with professionalism. Our commitment to professionalism is reflected in every phase of our projects, from initial planning to final execution.

We understand that working on complex tasks such as industrial plant demolition or building demolition requires technical expertise and a disciplined approach to project management. Our team’s attention to detail, communication skills, and ability to collaborate seamlessly with clients and stakeholders exemplify the professionalism we uphold.

SETTING INDUSTRY STANDARDS

Total Wrecking’s commitment to safety and integrity has earned us a reputation as one of the most reliable and respected names in the demolition and abatement industry in the United States.

Our partnership with organizations like the National Environmental Safety Company Inc. and our affiliation with industry associations like the NDA and OSHA are a testament to our dedication to setting and upholding the highest industry standards. These collaborations ensure that our practices and services are aligned with the latest advancements in safety protocols and environmental responsibility.

With a nationwide presence that enables us to tackle projects of all sizes and complexities, our portfolio includes everything from commercial complete demolition to industrial plant decommissioning services, each executed with the same level of professionalism and safety consciousness that defines our company.

BUILDING A SAFER TOMORROW

How do you ensure safety management? By placing safety and professionalism at the forefront, and by adhering to strict safety protocols, providing comprehensive total safety training, and investing in the latest safety equipment — we contribute to the ongoing improvement of the construction and demolition sector, making it a safer and more efficient field for all.

If you need an industrial demolition company, look no further than Total Wrecking & Environmental. We have extensive experience with projects of all sizes, as demonstrated by our work at the Lakeland McIntosh Power Plant in Florida. Contact us today to get started on your next industrial demolition project.

Total Wrecking Blog 4

INTRODUCTION

As Frank & Sandy Bodami look back at the first ten years of Total Wrecking’s relatively short but stratospheric rise in the industrial demolition industry, it becomes clearer and clearer that it’s been as much a personal journey for him as a professional one. After all, Total Wrecking’s inception in 2013 was hardly the start of Frank’s demo career; he looks at it as the culmination of a lifetime of experiences.

“The bigger, the better” is the biggest industry misconception he’s sought to correct with Total Wrecking. Power plant and building owners tend to assume that larger companies are inherently more reliable, wrongly assuming Total Wrecking may not have the depth of experience required to handle the most complex projects in the nation. His company, however, flies in the face of that theory. Combining concierge-like customer service with a deep respect for family and community, Frank has proven that an industry with a reputation for bidding to the bottom is long overdue for disruption.

In other workplace cultures, it’s perhaps become a minor cliche to look at your colleagues as family members, but that steadfast belief is what Frank largely credits with the company’s growth and success over the last decades, with only greater expansion and improvement on the horizon.

Total Wrecking’s unique culture and approach is too multifaceted to list out in a single sentence, but a few of the biggest touchpoints are an earnest spirit of collaboration, support, and ongoing education; the importance of transparency and open communication in avoiding conflicts and misunderstandings; employees given feedback and opportunities to improve their performance; and a unique understanding that his customers represent partnership that extend far beyond transactions.

ORIGINS AND FOUNDATION

It takes a team to build an entity as large as Total Wrecking. When word began spreading that Frank had a bold new vision for an industrial demolition company, several former colleagues reached out to express their belief in his leadership and a willingness to work without pay to help get the business off the ground.

Inspired by their faith and dedication, Bodami began the new venture from zero with no external funding. Fortunately Frank was later able to secure a line of credit from a bank and a bonding company, providing the necessary financial backing to not only get off the ground but to begin operations.

Frank’s vision was twofold: to create an environment where his team could flourish and pursue their passions, and to build a dynasty within the demolition industry known for its honest, high-quality work and a strict dedication to safety. This commitment to both people and performance has been a cornerstone of Total Wrecking & Environmental’s ethos and a huge contributor to its exponential growth and success over the past decade.

Armed with a robust business plan and deep industrial knowledge from his team, the company bid for small, industrial projects in Buffalo and secured $1.5 million in its first year. With that, they were officially off the ground.

ETHOS AND CULTURE: ACCESS, ACCOUNTABILITY, AND INTEGRITY

Inspired by the book “The Speed of Trust”, Frank cannot emphasize the importance of trust, honesty, and confident decision-making in his daily operations enough. Every decision is guided by a tripartite question – is it right for the client, is it right for the community, and is it right for the company?

These principles also extend to their relationships with partners in the development industry, where the ’30-Second Trust’ rule allows for fast, informed, and reliable decisions.

Operationally, Total Wrecking & Environmental has managed to distinguish itself through their dedication to value engineering, particularly in the environmental field. They work with clients to isolate different levels of contamination, minimize costs, and offer transparent, fair, and honest solutions. Frank understands first-hand what a massive differentiator that is in an industry known for companies who often exploit issues arising on projects. He once heard a competitor’s say that “there’s opportunity in chaos,” a concept that couldn’t be farther from the heart and soul of Total Wrecking’s culture.

Instead, Frank and his team of experts minimize clients’ problems, holding fast to their core values of transparency, honesty, and integrity. A happier client base has organically led to ongoing and repeat business.

Clients trust them, at least in large part, because of how clearly they convey a willingness to do the right thing and take the higher road that most demolition companies won’t. Every single job has hitches and unforeseen issues, but how they manage these situations is precisely what sets them apart. Exceptional problem management skills are crucial to the job.

Total Wrecking’s core pillars of safety and integrity originate from top management and permeate throughout the entire organization. These values are constant and everyday, not opportunistic, or dependent on circumstances.

THE TOTAL FAMILY

Frank’s wife Sandy, or as we like to call her, the “real boss, introduced a fourth pillar that’s embedded in Total Wrecking & Environmental’s philosophy: family. Despite the size of the company, now with 120 employees and counting, everyone is considered part of the ‘Total family.’ This workplace idea is often preached but rarely practiced, but under the Bodamis’ leadership, it’s a palpable commitment.

This family approach extends beyond rhetoric. Total Wrecking provides sincere care for its employees in tangible ways, like financially supporting staff through extended illnesses and organizing events like safety summits. Frank believes employees who are fully valued and supported will reciprocate with loyalty and hard work, essential ingredients for any company’s success.

All employees, regardless of their role or position, can reach out to the top management, including Frank, directly. Although there is an established chain of command, this open-door policy allows everyone to be heard and offers employees a sense of security knowing that they can bring any concerns directly to Frank if they feel something is going wrong.

MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENTS

The very first project for Frank Bodami and Total Wrecking & Environmental was at the Riviera Theatre in Buffalo, NY, which signified their initial foothold in the industry and established a lasting relationship with the theatre’s director. This inaugural project was a small-scale industrial demolition project that marked Total Wrecking’s first earnings, a humble but earnest starting point for Frank’s ambitious start-up.

Another notable project was the Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) job in Florida, a monumental 8-figure job in the late 2010’s that remains their largest to date. Given the scale and complexity of the project, this gargantuan undertaking provided them with significant notoriety and helped solidify their position in the industry.

Beyond their professional achievements, however, Frank and his team take even more pride in their community outreach and philanthropic endeavors. Witnessing the heartfelt and emotional response of a recipient of their U.S. veteran fundraising efforts deeply moved Frank and encouraged him to make greater efforts to give back more and more.

On a more personal level, Frank was also deeply humbled to receive a ‘rank coin’ from the head of Western New York Heroes. This exclusive token is traditionally reserved for military personnel, but the head of the organization felt compelled to acknowledge the exemplary support that Total Wrecking & Environmental has provided to the military community.

NAVIGATING CHALLENGES

No worthwhile journey is ever without its hurdles.

One of the main challenges for Total Wrecking & Environmental from the outset has been proving their capabilities in an industry dominated by larger companies.

Despite the high volumes of his larger competitors, Frank understands that this doesn’t necessarily translate to quality service or accessibility, a lesson he’s tried hard to preach for the last 10 years. Frank worked hard to demonstrate that although Total Wrecking was relatively new, their deeply experienced team had been working in the industry for 40 + years. They weren’t just the same team with a new name; they were better, smarter, unburdened by the problems of their past partnership, and ready to tackle the future.

Total Wrecking & Environmental is fully committed to placing their best teams on all projects, ensuring top quality and comprehensive safety on every job. Frank’s bid strategy is also far more selective than most of his competitors – he only bid on jobs he is confident they can manage safely and effectively, a stark deviation from other companies that often overextend their resources and open the door to accidents and injuries.

Hiring and retaining the right personnel was another initial challenge, like most companies both inside and outside of the demolition space. Over time, as their people-centric approach became a more widely known cornerstone of their brand, this obstacle also slowly faded. That said, despite having a loyal core group from the outset, sourcing the best talent remains an ongoing issue in an industry with a massive workforce labor issue, particularly in recent years.

LESSONS LEARNED

One of the more unique approaches that Frank has introduced is the “lessons learned” methodology. Here, the Total Wrecking team documents any and every mistake or problem, analyzes what went wrong, and pinpoints precisely how to prevent it in the future. Taking this a step further, Frank’s larger goal is to create a platform to share these findings industry-wide to improve safety and efficiency efforts industry-wide. A safe space where companies can share their lessons without revealing sensitive information could significantly help train younger professionals while preventing injuries.

This “lessons learned” concept is even more relevant given the ongoing workforce issue throughout every corner of construction. Documenting and sharing these lessons can help train future professionals and safeguard knowledge continuity along the way.

By sharing these lessons, businesses are not just fostering a more informed workforce but also potentially saving lives by preventing accidents or fatalities.

Despite the potential benefits, Frank understands the industry’s general reluctance to share such information due to fears about reputation or legal concerns. Nevertheless, he advocates for a culture of openness, hoping to change this mindset for the betterment of the industry as a whole. At trade shows and beyond, Frank is committed to leading conversations about this topic with demolition peers to encourage a more open and collaborative culture for all.

THE TOTAL FUTURE

To stay at the top of the demolition game, Total Wrecking & Environmental continually upgrades equipment and explores innovative jobsite tools to ensure they’re working at peak operational efficiency. Frank and team actively collaborate with vendors to develop wholly unique attachments for machinery and enable seamless tool transitions to improve safety and productivity. Just this year they invested in a new fleet of CAT excavators and equipment, in addition to regularly attending trade shows to learn about and incorporate cutting-edge demolition techniques.

Participation in trade shows and conventions, in fact, is one of Frank’s biggest keys to maintaining active engagement in a people-centric industry. Among many other benefits, attendance provides opportunities to share ideas with peers and learn from them, which in turn contributes to healthier operational developments and thought leadership throughout the industry.

CONCLUSION

When Frank & Sandy Bodami reflect on the last 10 years, the ongoing themes of his vision are the importance of controlled growth, fostering an immutable safety culture, and remaining dedicated to constant training. He aspires for his team to reach a level of proficiency where safety becomes second nature, where diligence and protection always take precedence over the pursuit of perfection.

It’s exactly why the company remains actively engaged in employee training, including OSHA 10 and construction courses, a commitment lacking in many other companies. Training seminars extend beyond baseline requirements and go the extra mile to include CPR, leadership, and active shooter training to ensure employee safety even outside of work.

He believes in educating clients about their capabilities and affirming that they are the best demolition and environmental company in the country, plain and simple. The growth of Total Wrecking and Environmental has been historically tied to its commitment to safety and the unique ability to attract the best and brightest minds in the industry, an approach Frank only plans on further fostering.

Aiming to stay at the cutting edge, the company has proactively invested in new technology, prioritized safety education, and maintained a strong presence in trade shows and industry associations. The deeply-embedded “lessons learned” approach he created to avoid repeating past mistakes and improve operations is a practice he hopes to spread around the nation. Central to the company is a dedication to integrity and collaboration, where employees, clients, and even competitors are viewed as partners.

That’s why ten years from now, while maintaining a thriving, safety-obsessed, forward-thinking company culture and close-knit relationships, Frank and team anticipate Total Wrecking and Environmental being covering an even larger (and more successful) footprint than ever.

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INTRODUCTION

Some industrial demolition contractors, and construction companies in general, use safety as a selling point rather than a fundamental workplace practice. Agencies like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or “OSHA,” however, are one of the few groups that not only define universal and industry-specific safety standards but also conduct workplace inspections and publish public reports to hold businesses accountable.

But how do these safety procedures affect industrial demolition contractors on both day-to-day and long-term levels? And what relevance do their inspections or recorded incidents have over the viability of a business?

Take a deep dive into our comprehensive OSHA overview to learn the importance of the agency’s work within the industrial demolition contractors community and how crucial they are in determining a business’s level of safety. 

WHAT DOES “OSHA” MEAN?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, known more commonly as “OSHA,” is a regulatory agency within the United States Department of Labor. Their primary job is to ensure that employers are providing safe and healthy working conditions for their employees, along with any relevant training, outreach, education, or assistance that enables them to work safely and comfortably.

OSHA was established in 1970 under the Nixon administration and originally had federal visitorial powers to perform random workplace inspections. Today, their universally upheld guidelines and workplace examinations continue to show quantifiable reductions in overall injury rates without any adverse effects on employment, sales, credit ratings, or business viability.

GREAT. BUT WHAT DOES OSHA ACTUALLY DO?

The easiest way to concisely outline OSHA’s role is to look at all of the rights and responsibilities that are detailed in the OSHA Act Law.

At the highest level, the OSHA Act Law summarizes an employer’s responsibility to provide a safe workplace that poses no serious hazards and adheres to all of OSHA’s Safety and Health standards. This also means employers have a legal obligation to eliminate or reduce hazards by making adjustments to the working conditions before relying on personal protective equipment to mitigate risks.

In the context of industrial demolition, this means that contractors are required to use safer chemicals whenever possible, enclose processes that may produce errant fumes, and/or use ventilation systems to clean the air. These are just some examples of how employers can (and should!) be taking effective steps towards eliminating or reducing overall risk to employees.

Diving into the more granular specifics, the Act Law stipulates that Employers have the responsibility to:

• Inform workers about any and all potential hazards
• Provide safety training in relevant areas and in all necessary languages
• Record all work-related injuries and illnesses
• Perform regular health and safety tests within work environments (ex. air quality)
• Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for free to all employees
• Provide medical tests (when required by OSHA standards) for free to all employees
• Publically post OSHA Job Safety & Health poster that describes rights and responsibilities
• Post all OSHA citations, including annual summaries of injury and illness data, in a public place visible to all employees
• Notify OSHA within eight hours of a workplace fatality, or within 24 hours of all work-related inpatient hospitalizations

In addition to the employer’s responsibilities, the Act Law also details how Workers have the right to:

• Working conditions that pose no risk of serious harm
• File confidential complaints to OSHA to have their workplace inspected
• Receive information and training about hazards, harm prevention methods, and OSHA standards relevant to their workplace
• Receive records of work-related injuries and illnesses, workplace medical records, and workplace testing and monitoring
• Participate in OSHA inspections and speak privately with OSHA inspectors
• File a complaint if they face discrimination for requesting an inspection
• File a complaint if punished for “whistleblowing”

ARE THERE ANY “RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES” UNIQUE TO INDUSTRIAL DEMOLITION CONTRACTORS?

Yes! The rights of employees and responsibilities of employers listed above are applicable to any and every work place across the United States, but there are supplemental stipulations unique to specific industries that cover more granular and unique circumstances.

Because industrial demolition falls within the larger “Construction” umbrella, the OSHA outline for Construction, General Industry, Maritime, and Agricultural Standards was specifically created for the construction industry to protect workers from a wide range of serious hazards.

Some of the most pertinent standards listed in the Construction Industry outline include:

• Fall-protection measures such as safety lines, safety harnesses, and guard rails
• Prevention of trenching cave-ins
• Prevention of exposure to deadly diseases
• Prevention of exposure to harmful chemicals
• Additional safety measures for workers in confined spaces
• Additional safety precautions for dangerous machinery
• Providing respirators or other safety equipment
• Providing additional training for certain dangerous jobs

HOW ARE ALL OF THESE RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES ENFORCED?

It’s OSHA’s sole responsibility to regulate and enforce their own standards. With a staff of around 2,400 inspectors nationwide, including state partners, this is a relatively small team charged with the responsibility of keeping around 8 million workplaces and 130 million employees safe.

Inspections are performed by trained compliance officers, either on-site or over the phone, and without any advance notice to the employer. These random inspections are scheduled based on their level of perceived danger and prioritized based on the below categories:

• Imminent Danger
• Catastrophes (Fatalities or Hospitalizations)
• Worker Complaints/Referrals
• Targeted Inspections (Hazards/High Injury Rates)
• Follow-Up Inspections

In an average year, OSHA conducts roughly 83,000 workplace inspections where they identify and assess violations and issue fines of up to $13,000 per offense. That may seem like a drop in the bucket compared to how many workplaces exist, but the proof is very much in the pudding. These efforts have had a positive workforce-wide effect since their inception, resulting in an overall reduction in workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities.

Tracking and investigating workplace injuries, and making those records both available and accessible to the public, plays a massive role in preventing future injuries and illnesses. In fact, OSHA’s record keeping regulation require employers in high-hazard industries, like industrial demolition, to prepare and maintain all records of workplace injuries. This information is the bedrock of employees’, OSHA’s, and the employer’s understanding of how safe their workplace is. Access to these records, and a fundamental understanding of their importance, is crucial to understanding the safety of a work environment and implementing protections, procedures, and regulations in place that reduce, or ideally eliminate, the risk of future hazards.

WHAT IS AN EXPERIENCE MODIFICATION RATE (EMR)?

An Experience Modification Rate, or EMR, is an insurance company metric that quantifies the likelihood that a business will incur worker’s comp claims. In simpler terms, it’s a comparison of a business’ injury rate versus other businesses within its industry.

The average EMR within any industry, including industrial demolition contractors, is a 1.0, where contractors with lower injury rates fall below 1.0 and those with higher injury rates will rise above a 1.0. To calculate an EMR, the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) divides a company’s payroll classification by 100, and then divides that figure by a “class rate” that reflects the business’s potential risk factor.

OSHA violations, or “recordables,” have a direct impact on an industrial demolition contractor’s EMR rating. Much like any traffic violation will have an affect on your car insurance premium, each workplace incident has a direct impact on your EMR, no matter how small. If an incident is reported by OSHA, your EMR will absolutely be affected.

As will the viability of your business. After all, no one wants to work with an unsafe industrial demolition contractor with a history of reported incidents, which is exactly what any contractor with a high EMR will project. Not only will their insurance rates skyrocket, if they’re still able to be insured at all, but potential clients will almost certainly want to work with a safer and more trustworthy contractor.

CONCLUSION

WHAT DO PUBLIC OSHA RECORDS SAY ABOUT TOTAL WRECKING & ENVIRONMENTAL?

Total Wrecking & Environmental is extremely proud of its flawless safety record and industry-low EMR rating. We are one of the very few companies in the entire industrial demolition business who can confidently say that we have not had any permanent recordables in our company history.

The more we shared this fact with potential clients, however, the more we were met with a “yeah, right” indifference, as if it was a tired line used by every nationwide demolition contractor they’d spoken with. So rather than continue to “tell” our customers, we looked for an opportunity to “show” them and let the publicly available data do the talking for us.

Click here to see all public recordables for Industrial Demolition Contractors across the country. Simply search the company whose history you’d like to see and the search tool will do the rest for you.

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INTRODUCTION

Environmental remediation is an intrinsic element of the industrial demolition process, as well as a bucket term for the remediated work we conduct as part of a demolition, But what exactly is it?

Simply put, environmental remediation is the removal of regulated, hazardous or potentially hazardous, and contaminating substances from a job site in a manner which minimizes the amount of hazardous and regulated waste produced, while protecting our workers, the public, and the environment from the risks posed from these substances.

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), enacted in 1976, is the principal federal law in the United States governing the disposal of solid waste and hazardous waste. RCRA regulates hazardous waste as an expansive number of listed wastes, hazardous and toxic wastes, and wastes that exhibit characteristics of hazardous waste. Hazardous waste may not be diluted or mixed with other waste in order to ensure the resulting waste is non-hazardous. RCRA regulations require all waste that is derived from hazardous waste, and all waste that contains hazardous waste, to be disposed of as hazardous waste as well.

Aside from the potentially devastating health and environmental impacts, the implications for failing to remove all regulated and hazardous waste prior to demolition for separate disposal could potentially cause all of the demolition debris to be managed and disposed of as regulated or hazardous waste.

WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON ENVIRONMENTAL REMEDIATION SUBSTANCES?

The most common of these substances is what is known as “Universal Waste”, a fitting term adopted by the regulations because of the nearly universal presence of these items in almost all facilities. Universal waste is in fact hazardous waste that is permitted to be managed differently from other hazardous wastes, and includes items like fluorescent light bulbs, ballasts, mercury switches, smoke detectors, and lead batteries which are virtually everywhere. Universal wastes are managed differently from other hazardous wastes because much of the hazardous substances contained in these items can be captured through a recycling process or eliminated through incineration.

Asbestos was used in the manufacturing of a wide variety of building materials from 1858 until 1970 when the Clean Air Act allowed the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate asbestos as a hazardous air pollutant. Many people assume that asbestos is banned in the United States, but it is still legally used in some manufactured products to this day. Given the widespread use of asbestos for nearly two centuries, all structures must undergo a thorough asbestos inspection before they can be demolished. Federal standards require, at a minimum, the removal of regulated asbestos-containing materials prior to any demolition or renovation. More stringent rules exist under many state regulations for the removal of asbestos, and vary from state to state.

Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) are commonly found in many electrical components in the form of dielectric fluids such as light ballasts, capacitors, and transformers. PCBs were also commonly used as an additive in window and expansion joints and weatherproofing caulks/sealants and can sometimes be found in paints or other industrial coatings. PCBs were used in manufacturing from 1929 until they were banned in 1979, and any facility constructed between those years will be of the highest concern for the presence of PCBs, although many items are automatically considered to be PCB-containing unless labeled or proven otherwise, regardless of when it was constructed or manufactured. PCB containing materials are considered hazardous waste at PCB concentrations as low as 50 parts per million.

Lead paint is another common substance requiring remediation prior to demolition, particularly if the paint is loose or peeling. Lead paint is potentially hazardous waste depending on the lead concentration and the ability of the lead to leach into soils and waters. At a minimum, loose and peeling lead paint should be removed and disposed of according to its lead concentration to prevent contamination of other demolition debris and leaching into soils in the demolition area.

WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON ENVIRONMENTAL REMEDIATION QUESTIONS?

Typically, facility owners are very aware of the types of hazardous and regulated materials on their site, as well as historical details such as how they’ve been used, how long they’ve been present, why they’re there, etc. In some cases, however, a facility has been closed for a number of years and records may have been lost or destroyed.

The most common question owners have concerns how to identify unknown regulated and hazardous materials that may present, and how to mitigate risk of additional hazardous and regulated materials being discovered after the fact.

In all cases, an owner should hire an experienced Environmental Consulting Firm to perform a thorough inspection of the facility for hazardous and regulated materials. Hazardous waste regulations require storage and disposal recordkeeping, and facility owners should do their due diligence within their organization and its records in order to assist the consulting firm in identifying known hazardous and regulated materials. Any information you can provide the consultant will help mitigate costs. Once known materials are documented, a thorough inspection should follow to identify that which may have been unknown or overlooked.

A quality inspection will manage owner risk, better inform those bidding your project, and provide the owner with a better “apples to apples” comparison of project bids across the board. The thoroughness of the inspection and hazardous/regulated materials identification process will significantly reduce the risk of unanticipated project costs, unexpected comingling of wastes, and most importantly mitigate the chances for an accidental environmental release.

BUT HOW ARE WE, THE INDUSTRIAL DEMOLITION CONTRACTORS, GOING TO HANDLE THESE HAZARDOUS WASTE ISSUES, COMPLY WITH REGULATIONS, AND PROTECT THE WORKERS AND THE ENVIRONMENT?

This is probably the single most important question an owner needs to consider when selecting a contractor. The wide array of potential short-term and long-term liabilities is a far greater consideration than cost or time because a thoughtful, strategic process performed by an experienced team will minimize time and cost to the extent necessary for proper, complete, and compliant removal.

Total Wrecking begins its process by having our environmental experts perform a painstakingly thorough review of all sampling and analysis gathered during inspection, along with all other environmental information and site conditions contained within the project documents. This review allows us to plan for known environmental hazards and strategize about how we will manage, remove, and dispose of them, as well as identify any additional sampling and analysis that must be performed once the work begins.

Our environmental experts then collaborate with the entire team of national demolition and environmental remediation professionals to develop a comprehensive plan for remediation and demolition. This team of collaborators typically consists of the original Project Estimator, a Managing Member, Senior Project Manager, Project Manager, General Superintendent, Superintendent, Corporate Safety Director and on-site safety personnel.

Through this collaborative process, we develop a multi-faceted work plan that takes into account each of the tasks we are going to perform, specific to the hazards and conditions at the project site. We will also determine how we will perform each task within Federal, State, and local regulatory agency requirements; packaging, storage, transportation and disposal requirements; and any project specific requirements of the owner. Value engineering opportunities often present themselves during this collaborative planning phase, and we are able to fully vet and present any cost savings opportunities to the owner.

WHAT ARE THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF EACH PROJECT MANAGEMENT EXPERT?

The Project Manager will compile and assemble all of the information gained collaboratively and present it back to the team in the form of a formal work plan. Each team member will then review the proposed plan through their own “set of eyes:”

• The Managing Member will have a focus on owner, community risks, and communications, as well as the financial aspects of the project.
• The Senior Project Manager and Project Manager will collectively ensure that all regulatory notification and permitting requirements are accounted for and all           project specific requirements are communicated. They’ll also organize the logical progression of the work into a Critical Path Method (CPM) project schedule to         ensure the most time-effective plan possible without jeopardizing the safety of any task or person.
• The General Superintendent and Site Superintendent will apply their decades of field experience to the entire sequence of remediation and demolition activities,       each focussing on the planned means and methods of carrying out the work.
• The Safety Director will focus on OSHA, EPA, and environmental regulations, and run through a wide array of safety-oriented checking, including industrial                 hygiene policies, employee training, blood and respiratory medical monitoring, exposure monitoring while work is performed, Community Air Monitoring Program     (CAMP), the highest standards of personal protective equipment, and iron-clad community protections.
• The Site Safety Personnel will be geared toward site-specific safety hazards and conditions analysis, ensuring that we have developed Job Safety Analysis (JSAs)     for each task that will be performed and an understanding of how those tasks will affect other work taking place during the same timeframes.

HOW IS HAZARDOUS WASTE MATERIAL REMOVED WITHOUT CREATING MORE HAZARDS?

In short: an incredibly thoughtful, detailed, battle-tested work plan. A plan that not only ensures that existing hazardous waste won’t be spread but that that waste won’t create new hazards like vapor or particulate emissions while the work is actually being performed. So much of what we do is about working smarter, and there’s no one-size-fits-all environmental remediation approach that suits every job site.

For the safety of everyone involved, it’s absolutely crucial to employ a task-specific work plan that identifies the means and methods that will be utilized to safely and thoroughly complete the work. These work plans, again for the safety of the entire team and community, should be heavily scrutinized and challenged. Total Wrecking’s internal process ensures that we are working smarter through every single task performed.

If there’s a spill or contaminated plot of soil, for example, that needs to be remediated, the work plan should include accommodation for where the soil will be placed when it is removed in order to prevent cross contamination of otherwise clean surfaces. In some circumstances, placing the material in a covered secondary containment with permed edges may be appropriate, while in others it may make more sense to pre-sample and characterize the waste and load directly into the transport truck for immediate disposal. In either case, the Operator should understand the exact limits of excavation, and what happens with the soil before they dig their first bucket.

Even basic, administrative tasks like ensuring disposal materials are properly characterized and manifested prior to removal so that they’re disposed of quickly and safely can be the difference between a bulletproof job site and a hazardous material risk circumstance.

ARE THE METHODS BEING USED GOING TO COMPLETELY REMEDIATE THE MATERIAL?

Yes, and that’s exactly why we’re the trusted, certified professionals! We limit every work site as strictly as possible to ensure other contractors present on the site aren’t accidentally exposed. Touching back on our “work smarter” approach, we also employ a number of controls wherever possible to have a greater command of any potential site variables, like wind direction. There’s also an extremely important distinction between jobs conducted mechanically or by-hand, an especially important differentiator when it comes to asbestos. Category 1 asbestos, for example, poses very little risk of releasing asbestos, but could become a regulated, cradle-to-grave liability if improperly sanded, ground, cut, or graded.

WHAT SORT OF RECORD KEEPING WILL BE PROVIDED FOR THE WORK PERFORMED?

Critical to the accountability of any contractor is meticulous and detailed record-keeping. It’s the only way to prove that hazards have been completely remediated, or to specify what elements, if anything, haven’t been completely removed. There are a suite of standardized documents included in our comprehensive environmental remediation services, such as a waste manifest detailing who handled which specific hazardous material and where it went, all in the interest of creating a chain of custody detailing everyone who handled it.

Separately, we include a detailed record of the history of every waste element we’ve handled, outlining the specific GPS coordinates, soil depths, and samples that substantiate the cleanliness of the soil or material left behind. To go one layer deeper, we also maintain records of certifications for anyone who handled hazardous materials or were potentially exposed to them to mitigate any future liability.

This is all on top of industry standard documents like the regulatory records of hazardous waste generation, asbestos waste shipment records, exposure records, and other documentations required for specific waste types, and specific out-of-service dates for anything that’s stored and requires ongoing inspections. The cherry on top of site accountability is the collection of daily logs outlining the activity of each and every work day, from the weather and work performed, to potential challenges, objectives, and safety protocols.

WHERE IS THE WASTE GOING AND WHO IS ACCOUNTABLE?

One of the most important aspects of hazardous waste removal to understand is that these elements are nearly always cradle-to-grave, regardless of where they’re being moved to. That’s what makes carefully choosing the right landfill such a critical part of the process, because you maintain liability for the waste even after it’s removed and disposed of.

A key component in maintaining this accountability is a hazardous waste manifest, a chain of custody document that specifies precisely where a waste is moved, when, by whom, and how. The designated “generator of the waste,” truck drivers, and the destination facility managers will all have to sign this.

It’s important to carefully maintain these records not just because you need to literally know where your liabilities lie, but because they are part of maintaining your careful risk files should any questions be raised in the future.

CONCLUSION

Environmental remediation goes hand-in-hand with industrial demolition, which is why it’s such a crucial component for plant owners, managers, and engineers to understand about the complex demolition process.

We’ve outlined the most common and recurring questions on the topic above, but if you have any further questions or are ready to get your industrial demolition project started, contact us using the form below and we’ll be in touch very soon.